Trick or Treating Shifts To Halloween In South Milwaukee

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,, 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.


Filed under Community

38 responses to “Trick or Treating Shifts To Halloween In South Milwaukee

  1. sm friend

    Great! We’re looking forward to it. My kids were excited to hear!

  2. TC

    As someone who moved to this neighborhood 5 yrs ago, and missed my old neighborhoods Halloween tradition of kids BEING kids, and being able to T n T on the actual day, with somewhat ‘spooky’ night hours, I think this is wonderful!

    Many cities across the USA celebrate differently, but I can tell you that in Seattle, there is no specified time. Its just always on Halloween, and if its a school day, than expect kids at your door shortly after school gets out and kids can run home (or begin on the way home!)

    Hopefully this too brings out more neighbors, and encourages others to get into decorating. Being a Halloween birthday baby, it’s no surprise this is MY favorite time of the year and our house is always decorated. I have noticed more and more neighbors at least putting up some decorations now, which is nice.

  3. Jennifer

    LOVE this!!!!

  4. smdre

    I totally support this change. It really does t feel like Halloween when TnT is on a Sunday afternoon even If it happens to be Oct 31. Nightfall is Halloween spooky and the times are definitely not to be concerning. It’s perfect!

  5. kmc

    I like this change for the same reasons that TC and smdre mentioned.

    What or who was the reason that got Council to discuss the Trick or Treat day and time and to consider changing them?

    • kmc: I’ve been trying to advocate for this since I’ve been on the council, and I usually vote “no” when the Sunday option comes up (and that’s been the end of it). On Tuesday, I made the case again for holding this on Halloween … and was somewhat surprised when the vote went 5-3 against the Sunday option. After that vote, I then motioned to move it to Halloween, and it passed 5-3. And a new tradition is born 🙂

  6. Lisa Pieper

    Actually Erik, this has been a debate since before you were on Council. It has been an annual argument with a normal split vote. It was so exciting last night to see that we were finally victorious!

  7. Lisa Pieper

    Oh, to answer kmc’s question, the Common Council has to vote every year to approve the day and time for Trick or Treat.

  8. Monica Walsh

    Boy…I’m so happy to see the common council has tackled such an important issue.

    • Melanie

      Monica, I can’t even tell you how much I agree with your statement!

      • Monica Walsh

        Melanie…please feel free to email me about issues you have with SM. There seems to be a lack of transparency within the Common Council that needs to change. We…as citizens…need to voice our concerns and makes sure those we elect are listening. My email is: Thanks.

        BTW…that goes for anyone else, also. We need to support each other and banned together if our elected officials aren’t listening to us.

  9. J

    This would have been great when I was a 80’s/90’s kid, but with todays day in age and what not, I hope there is no problems.

    I don’t know if the elderly are going to partake in handing out candy at night though, it just seems that it is an opportunity for someone to do something bad is there.
    Is the Police Chief having extra patrols out and are they gonna check up on the sex offenders to make sure they do comply?

    • J: I see your point on elderly residents. But if people don’t want to take part, all they need to do is leave their porch lights off. In fact, that message be on promotional materials we’re doing.

      As to extra patrols and dealing with sex offenders, that’s something we’ll need to talk to the police about. I’m interested to know what they do for a typical weekend day trick-or-treat. We’ll at least have to match that … and maybe consider some extra patrols for the one hour of darkness, at least.

  10. Shannon Sorenson

    Great idea!! Finally!!! If parents are concened about traffic or predators I feel it is up to the parent to keep an eye on their own kids and not leave it up to the police. Get out and enjoy the fun with your children. I’ve always left the state and went home for Halloween because its done at night and my kids enjoy it so much more!!

  11. Jennifer

    This is terrible. My daughter will be on a school camping trip that night. The entire 5th grade will not be able to go trick or treating.

  12. Nitkah

    Not looking forward to the kids being hyper and overexcited right before bedtime on a school night. I really don’t think this is the best idea. I think there are real issues the common council should be spending their time on!

  13. Halloween has been on the Sunday before, forever! To change it now is really a pain in the butt!! We plan our vacation around this weekend! Please keep it Sunday!! It has been this way as long as I can remember now!!

  14. Kristin

    This is a great idea, but I first heard of it today! I hope the word is spread so my kids aren’t disappointed when our neighbors (who are your neighbors too since we live down your street) don’t have candy. Is the “turn on your porch light” courtesy going to be in effect? This is a great way for kids to know what houses to go to.

    • Kristin: We’ll see how it goes. I’m excited for it — actually having Halloween on Halloween! We are promoting in a variety of ways, including signage and websites, and we did a handout to all elementary school kids and day cares last week. We have more PR planned. In that handout, we’re urging porch lights be turned on.

      • Monica Walsh

        Erik…Has any taxpayers’ dollars been spent on “promoting” having “Halloween on Halloween”?

  15. patrice

    I live in the blakewood neighborhood. I love our trick or treating. It is tons of fun. We hold it on a saturday night. Having kids, I think that a saturday night is more appropraite than some random day during the week. Like most people, I work during the day and by the time I pick my kids up and get home its already 5:30 and they are in bed by 8. Most people are barely getting home by the time this new trick or treating starts. Not to mention have the opportunity to feed their families dinner. The “block party feeling” that we have is because its on a saturday night. I think it would be much more fun and particiapation would increase if the city just held trick or treating on a saturday night.

  16. Sherri Wandler

    As someone who grew up in South Millwaukee and maintains strong family ties there, I am very disappointed to hear about this change. My family and I travel back to my childhood home every year to join my sister and her children for this wonderful South Millwauke tradition. Unfortunately, the new midweek date makes our trip impossible this year. We will be very sad and sorry to miss this wonderful time with our family.

  17. mark

    I guess my neighborhood will have 1 less house to go to for trick or treating this year. Do to church I will not be able to have my door is open to trick or treaters. Why couldn’t they have just left it on Sunday night?

  18. Amanda

    I think the time is great so I hope to keep it that way It doesn’t matter if its a Wednesday or a Sunday it would still be a school night. Just think then if it stays on the 31st then the day it lands on alternates. I think its a wonderful idea and I look the evening time trick or treating that way the lights and and decorations can really be appreciated. I too enjoy the Blakewood event every year with family that lives over there and the feel of the community is great! I think another rule that needs to be followed is PUT YOUR PORCH LIGHT ON IF YOU HAVE CANDY! 🙂 I hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween!

    • nitkah

      Agreed that even if it was on Sunday it’s a school night, BUT it would be during the afternoon-not at night right before bed time! Also inconvenient or impossible for working parents….

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    I was so excited when I saw this post at the Police Dept on 15th! Yea, trick or treat back on Halloween the way it always should be!! Thanks council:)

  21. sam

    I am very happy with the change. Trick or Treat should be on Halloween, that is what makes it special. I vote that everyone should be doing this.

  22. Scott Kraus

    This is such a great tradition and fun for South Milwaukee kids. It does make it special and in areas like Blakewood they really do it up right with celebrations in the driveways, etc. It’s a true sense of Community. My neighborhood is full of grumpy old codgers, but our porch light will be on and candy will be available to all who come!

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  26. Heidi

    I hate the 31st because it can and will fall on school nights. Shouldn’t school be more important? I think it should be the Saturday night closest to Halloween!

  27. Anita Rivera

    I think this is a Good Idea.!

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