Each neighborhood is different when it comes to the number of trick or treaters and how much candy they need to buy for the holiday. Some very religious areas are less likely to have large numbers of trick-or-treaters, and other communities have parties and trunk or treat rather than door-to-door trick or treating. So, how do I know how many bags of candy to buy for this festive sugar-laden holiday? The short answer is that there’s no definitive answer that covers everyone. 

How Many Children Are in Your Neighborhood? 

You might not see as many trick-or-treaters if you live in an area with few children or few houses/ apartments. Any who live in the area will often go to a more populated area for their candy. However, if you live in a suburban subdivision, it’s more likely that you will see droves of them. 

What Else Is Happening? 

If your town is holding a large Halloween bash or local churches are teaming up for an alternative to neighborhood trick-or-treating, you may see fewer visitors on Halloween. Since Halloween 2021 falls on a Sunday, some towns urge neighborhoods to schedule events on Saturday instead so that children do not stay out late on a school night. This is quite a controversial practice and often results in visitors two nights in a row. 

What Are You Giving Out? 

If you are handing out full-size candy bars, you will spend far more money than if you are giving out miniatures or fun-size candies. Remember that individual Jolly Ranchers, Reese’s Cups Miniatures, and Hershey Kisses should probably be given in larger quantities than fun-size, but not by the handful. 

Isn’t There a Formula? 

Apartment Therapy swears that they have the ideal formula. They acknowledge that the formula is not perfect, but it is pretty close. Let’s take a look at what that formula looks like. 


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This formula looks great, but what if you don’t know how many kids are in the neighborhood or you buy different types of candy? Some candy is also unclear as to servings per bag. About 30 could be 28 to 32. Since they acknowledge that the formula is incomplete, that may not be such a problem. However, when you get into the next section, it’s not much clearer. Who chooses and decides on the quality of decorations. Someone who LOVES Halloween may think the neighborhood decorations need work. Someone else might decide they look nice. Quality is subjective. The same problem happens with the weather. Some people like it cold, but others like it warm. In an unseasonably warm or cool year, people could have vastly different assessments here. 

Let’s Test the Formula Using Some Imaginary Numbers

Let’s say there are 30 kids in the neighborhood and the bags you want to buy have 25 servings each. 30/25= 1.2 Then, let’s assume the decorations are deemed a 4 and the weather a 2. This gives us 1.2×6 or 7.2. Divide that by 2 and get 3.6 or 4 bags of candy to distribute to the neighborhood. 

Now, let’s assume there are 150 children in a large neighborhood from toddler through middle school. Using the same size bags on similar nights with similar decorations, this gives us 18 bags of candy. That could be an accurate count. It could also be too high or low depending on the area events. 

COVID and Other Public Health and Safety Concerns

For two Halloweens now, COVID has wreaked havoc with trick-or-treat plans. You must consider these things, which probably didn’t factor into the Apartment Therapy website’s formula. First, what are your current town restrictions and recommendations? These restrictions can also impact whether or not trick-or-treating is even permitted in the traditional sense. Some areas are doing no-contact or drive-through versions. Others may choose to leave the candy on the porch and let children decide for themselves. While that is not the worst idea, it can mean that you need to purchase a little more. Children will often take more than you would give them.

The CDC also has recommendations depending on whether you live in a red, green, or yellow zone. You should do what makes you feel the safest and most secure. If you are uncomfortable with the current COVID numbers, you might choose to forego candy this year regardless of your zone color. Turn your light out and watch scary movies instead. However, if you want to participate, wear your mask and consider gloves for handing out candy. 

Final Thoughts

There is no single way to determine how many bags of candy you need to purchase for Halloween. Public safety should be an obvious concern. Your personal health and safety are the highest concern. You might want to use a formula like the one from Apartment Therapy, but remember, it’s not an exact science. You may have more than you need or less. Happy Haunting. 

[1] https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-much-halloween-candy-should-i-buy-237187