This year, South Milwaukee will officially celebrate Halloween on Halloween night.
The city’s trick-or-treat times will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31, after the City Council voted to enact the new hours at its meeting Tuesday night.
The vote marks a change from the relatively recent tradition of holding trick-or-treating on the Sunday afternoon before Halloween — hours that were initially proposed, and voted down, Tuesday.
Here’s why I supported the move to Halloween evening trick-or-treating:
- It’s more special this way – more in the “Halloween spirit.” I’ll admit it’s difficult to quantify this, but I think evening trick-or-treating is simply how it’s meant be. In fact, it’s how it used to be in South Milwaukee. And I know my kids will appreciate it.
- I think it’s a good compromise time. The sun sets at 5:44 p.m. on October 31, with twilight lasting well beyond that, meaning that there will be some daylight for the first hour or so of trick-or-treating, with darkness for the second. Uncomfortable with nighttime trick-or-treating? Head out early.
- I’ve also seen nighttime trick-or-treating work in South Milwaukee. I’ve had the pleasure of attending the Blakewood neighborhood trick-or-treating with my kids the past few years, and I’ve been impressed with the event. And it is an event, as neighbors treat it like a big block party. I hope that feeling spreads across South Milwaukee … and that families actually walk with their kids on the candy route now that we’re doing this in the evening.
- Evening trick-or-treating has also worked in a number of other area communities. Last year, Oak Creek, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners and Whitefish Bay all held evening trick-or-treating, starting at 4 p.m. on October 30. Other communities – including a number in Waukesha County – hold trick-or-treating the night of Halloween. So we’re far from alone. (See the full list of 2011 area trick-or-treating times here.)
- The Packers. Yes, the Green Bay Packers play at noon on October 28. Now, this was not a significant reason for my vote, but it played a role. I’ve found that planning an event against a Packer game in this state is never a wise move.
Now, I know some will raise concerns with safety – although I feel strongly about the safety of our community and don’t see how that will change on October 31. I will have no problems walking the neighborhood with my kids that evening.
Others will raise concerns simply with the break from tradition – although I never believe that the city should keep doing something simply because it’s always been done a certain way. We should always look at issues in a new light when we can, and I’m glad we’re doing that here.
In other words, I’m willing to give this a try. And if it doesn’t work, I’ll be the first to advocate for a change back to Sunday afternoons.
I also know it’s up to the city to make sure residents know of the change, and we’ll do that, using the city website, this blog, SouthMilwaukee.org, through the schools, through the South Milwaukee Downtown Market and in other ways. I also ask you to tell your friends and neighbors.
I know my kids and I are looking forward to it – to a return to the roots of a fun Halloween tradition … actually celebrating the holiday on the day of the holiday.
Of course, I’d like to know what you think. Vote in my new poll, and post your comments below.