By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Apr 23, 2009 at 2:35 PM

Have you ever wondered why Halloween is the only day of the year when you just might catch Count Chocula chatting in a corner with the Brawny paper towels dude and think nothing of it?

The late-autumn holiday is great like that, and such tomfoolery should happen more often. At least, that's what the mystery man known only as House Cat thought when he invented Hallowang.

If you haven't already heard, Hallowang is a new Milwaukee holiday that happens every year on the last Saturday in April -- the crafty half-way point between any two given Halloweens.

It's brilliant, actually. While Christmas, sweet 16 birthdays and the perfectly glazed Easter ham create more work and stress than they're usually worth, Halloween is about as low-commitment as you can get on the holiday grid. You wear whatever you want, you have some drinks, you have some laughs and there's no gift-giving pressure.

"There's so much camaraderie in the air," says House Cat, reminiscing about past celebrations of his favorite holiday.

Why wouldn't we want more of that?

Hallowang's actually been around since 2006, slowly gaining momentum year after year. Last year's celebration gathered more than 60 'wangers to a slew of East Side establishments for costume contests and alcohol consumption.

This year's festivities go down in Walker's Point on Saturday, April 25 at Walker's Pint, Fat Daddy's and The Fifth Ward Pub.

Organizer House Cat has the whole night planned out. Shenanegans begin at Walker's Pint at 8 p.m. with team pitcher races. A 9:30 p.m. rock / paper / scissors showdown takes place at Fat Daddy's and the evening closes with a Frogger tournament at the Fifth Ward Pub & Grill at 10: 30 p.m.

Oh, and you might not want to miss out on the Walker's Pint zombie girl photo booth. Just sayin'.

The night-long costume contest (register at all three bars by midnight) promises prizes in various categories, including famous people, stereotypes & occupations, fictional characters, non-human, team and spectacular.

House Cat says he's been impressed with 'wangers' costume creativity in years past -- a walking La-Z-Boy chair, a human dartboard and character called "Rodeo Ross" have been huge hits with the judges.

So as superfluous American holidays clog up the calendar -- did you even notice that they had to lump Secretary's Day in with Earth Day this year? -- set your sights on the ones that really matter, like your birthday, Memorial Day weekend and Hallowang.

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”