A Kit Kat for the kids, a Jell-O shot for the grown-ups.

This distinctly Saturday night take on trick-or-treating is tradition in one Wauwatosa neighborhood, because Halloween is just more fun after dark.

The Saturday before Halloween (Oct. 26 this year), there’s a block party feel as kids gleefully canvass the tidy, closely packed homes of East Towne. Residents await trick-or-treaters with bowls of candy in driveways, firepits ablaze and music adding to the ambiance. Zombies sprout from lawns, spiders and specters dangle from trees.

Parents tow wagons with coolers of adult beverages, many of which are on offer at the parties along the streets, too. The past couple of years, a homebrewer has made the rounds offering pours of his creations. But David Paulsen, board president of the Tosa East Towne Neighborhood Association, notes it still has plenty of family feel, with everyone looking out for one another – especially the kids.

The neighborhood lies between 62nd and 73rd streets and Center Street and North Avenue, though the most festive atmosphere is between 69th Street and Lefeber Avenue.

The neighborhood association facilitates the event, holding a casual house-decorating contest and registering trick-or-treaters who pony up candy that’s redistributed to participating homes. (If you’re looking to become an honorary east Tosan for the night, outsiders are welcome; it’s good form to pitch in and register.) Registered kids get special bags and glow sticks to show their “neighborhood spirit,” Paulsen says.

“The personality is what the residents put into it,” he says. “I don’t think you can really plan that kind of thing.”

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