Well, it’s now a week after All Hallow’s Eve. If you’re like my family, most of the candy’s been eaten and you’re down to that last half-crushed chocolate bar or licorice stick, as well as seeing the discarded bits of costume still here and there—my daughter’s having a hard time giving up her night as a superhero.

Walking around while my girl went on her first trick-or-treat, I thought about the homes we were visiting. Several of them were brightly lit, so as to tell kids they were “home,” and some had their porch lights on but no lights on inside.

It might be disappointing to the kids that a lit-up porch is not a place to get candy, but it makes sense to me from an energy efficiency point of view. Now that we’re off Daylight Savings Time (finally!) and had our extra hour’s rest this past weekend, most of us are coming home in the dark. That means the front door or garage is probably not lighted when you get there.

What should you do? Look at getting your porch light on a timer. This will make sure that 1) your entry is lit up when you get home and 2) you won’t have to ask yourself “did I turn off the porch light?” when you’re ready to go to bed. The timer will do it for you—see our information on Timer Controls.

Timers are also a good idea if you’re planning to do any holiday lighting display around your home (darn it, I just spoiled a perfectly good idea for a future blog post… oh well). You can set the timer to light up your home—be it a full-blown Las Vegas display or a more modest string of lights around the front door—as it gets dark and then shut off at a reasonable time. (Your neighborhood may have some ideas about that, especially if you belong to an association.)

So think about timers for your front porch light and for your holiday display. By controlling the amount of time your lights are on, you’re controlling how much energy you use—and how much money you spend.

Want to learn more? Visit our section on Lighting Controls.

Drew Bittner is a former Presidential Management Intern (PMI) and the Web content manager for EERE's corporate Web pages.