The 10 Types of Halloween Houses on Every Street

(Which to hit up, which to avoid, and which might just be yours.)

Children in Ghost Costumes Trick or Treat at Haunted House

So, Halloween’s on its way, the kids have been prepping this year’s “it” costumes for weeks, and you’ve got a hankering for some chocolatey nougat. It’s time to get this horror show on the road.

But before you grab those empty pillowcases and hit up the closest cul-de-sac, it’s important to get a solid plan of attack laid out. And the first step is knowing which houses have the goods and which have the “no thank yous.”

1. The “Gone Juuuuust a Bit Overboard” House

You know those animatronic werewolves and skeletal dogs they’ve got over at Home Depot? Well this house has them all—like, seriously, every single one of them. With an annual decoration budget in the thousands, they pack that yard full of foam tombstones, faux spider webs, fog, spooky lights, and eerie recording of angry growls and witchy cackles. You know, to really make sure those kids don’t sleep tonight.

2. The “Sugar-Free” House

Now this place is a kid’s worst Halloween nightmare. No Snickers. No Sprees. Not even an Almond Joy. Because this is the house that passive-aggressively protests Halloween by not offering anything of any “value” to an 8-year-old. We’re talking organic gluten-free dried figs and little baggies of carrots. And you better hope you aren’t as unfortunate as many who live on the same block as a dentist. If you do, it’s floss and toothbrushes for you. Luckily it only takes one visit to a house like this to know never to go back.

3. The “Lights Off Even Though We’re Home” House

Everybody knows the golden rule of trick-or-treating: no light, nobody home. Well, some folks take that too far. Whether they’re just too antisocial, or maybe just too cheap, to give out candy to all the Spidermen and Disney princesses walking around the neighborhood. So what do they do? They abuse the golden rule, turn all the lights off, and read books by candlelight in the basement while waiting the night out. And they wonder why their trees are covered with TP when they wake up.

4. The “Full-Size Candy Bar” House

This house is like the holy grail of Halloween night. Most places hand out lil’ old fun-size Snickers or tiny pouches of Skittles, but this Halloween Hero gives out honest-to-God full-size Butterfingers and Hershey’s. This is a good opportunity to switch costumes and go back for seconds. 

5. The “Oh shoot, Halloween’s Tonight?” House

There’s always someone who somehow forgets that TONIGHT is Halloween night. Now depending on how sad your kids can act, this can actually turn into a blessing, since they may just hand out some super-of-the-moment gold, like candy from their own secret stash, or even money. Next year, you better remember, pal.

6. The ”What Are You Supposed To Be?” House

There's always some house where they just doesn’t understand a single costume. The candy-bearers come to the door and have absolutely no clue what anyone’s dressed up as. It’s like they’ve never seen Star Wars before, or any of the Toy Story movies. And sadly, nothing breaks a little kid’s heart like someone not knowing who they are, especially if Mom made it herself. So if this is you, maybe brush up on a bit of current pop culture, or just tell them they look scary, or beautiful—or both maybe.

7. The “Just Take One Bucket” House

In most cases, these are the lazies. The real party poopers. They leave a bucket on the step with a crudely written note that says “take one.” Like, come on, what kind of sick social experiment is this where they try to pull the honor code thing on a 6-year-old? This kind of mind trick is worth a minimum of 3-4 pieces of candy.

8. The “Amateur Haunted House” House

Though maybe not on every block, many neighborhoods have that one house where maybe the owner is a freelance special effects guru or some kind of movie set production whiz and they go all out. We’re talking backyard mazes with spooky surprises around every corner, a guy on stilts revving up a chainsaw as kids pass by—all of that. These houses often serve as an initiation for 10-year-old boys dared by friends to make it through the madness…alive.

9. The “Look, We Dressed Up Too” House

Halloween isn’t just for little kids, grown-up kids like to do it too. Houses like these are the ones where they come to the door all dressed up to scare, or delight, trick-or-treaters right back. Look, they just wanna have some fun, too, no harm in that.

10. The “Surprise Scarers” House

On Halloween, folks just love to give out free scares however they can. And this specific type of individual will spend a ton of time in their bushes, or behind the garage, waiting for that “just right” moment to jump out and frighten the living daylights out of the trick-or-treaters. Careful, though, that Ninja Turtle might be an actual ninja.

Good luck out there this year. And feel free to tell us all about the memorable and “skippable” houses in your neighborhood.

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