By Alissa Lawton Special to Published Nov 08, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Ever since I was a kid, Halloween has been one of my favorite holidays. There's the scary element, the fun of getting to dress in costume and, of course, tons of candy. But there definitely is an age limit on trick or treating so I've curbed my desire to walk through the neighborhood asking for free candy and moved on from Kit Kats and Snickers to the timeless pub crawl.

My boyfriend is known far and wide for organizing some epic pub crawls. The destinations are always a surprise, and each year and each crawl is different than the last. However, a few traditions have surfaced over the years. Initially when we enter these establishments, all in costume and, of course, a bit rowdy, the patrons look at us like they either want to run or they might break a bottle and defend themselves. We can be quite the sight and, all at once, I'm sure we're a tad overwhelming. However, usually within a few minutes it's clear we're a fairly harmless bunch just out for fun.

We started out at one of our regular hang outs, The Village Pub, 4488 N. Oakland Ave. in Shorewood. This place has been smoke-free since Shorewood's ban went into effect, long before the whole state did, they have great food (you can smell the Friday fish fry days later), and, most weekends, live music.

After one round and making sure all that had RSVP'ed were in attendance, we hopped on the big yellow school bus and took off toward our first stop on the South Side.

As the bus pulled into Mavericks at 2030 W. Howard Ave., shouts of approval for the location choice echoed throughout the bus. We typically hit this place up for Packers games due to the shenanigans that go on. Owners Todd and Carroll make sure this is a crowd participation event each Sunday. Touchdown green and gold Jell-o shots, a third quarter bladder buster, and Todd adds his own commentary throughout the entire game. You want a quiet room with a computer to agonize and analyze your fantasy team? This is not the place. The regulars have their spots at the bar and everyone else fills in around them.

Carroll happens to be a huge Halloween enthusiast so the entire place was decked out in creepy Halloween decorations. I made my way to the bar and ordered my usual. When the bartender turned to make my drink I realized he was Tom Cruise in "Risky Business" and was only wearing tighty whities and a dress shirt. Did not leave much to the imagination! Tons of good bar food arrived and within 20 minutes not much more than crumbs were left. If you have a chance to get down to Mavericks for a game or just a night out, try the pizza. This is not your run-of-the-mill frozen bar pizza; it's big, fresh and loaded with toppings.

Todd called out the winners of the costume contest and, just like that, it was time to move on to the next stop. Back on the bus!

The Ugly Mug at 604 S. 64th St. served as the karaoke stop, there needs to be one on each crawl. I don't sing unless I'm in the shower or alone in my car, so I leave the entertainment up to those with more talent or more courage. Plus I tend to wind up as the photographer for these events, so I'm usually shuffling around making sure I get the pictures we'll be laughing at the next morning at brunch.

We thought about adding a third stop but once you get started on karaoke, it's hard to stop. When slightly more coherent singers not associated with our group decided they'd had enough of listening to us, it was once again time to hop on the yellow bus and head 'home' to The Village Pub for a night cap. A fun and exhausting night, but well worth it and safe, thanks to the big yellow school bus, a lot of cabs and no one leaving the party alone.

Some of the best costumes this year were:

  • Double Rainbow Guy and his two rainbows.
  • The woman that was attacked by her friends Chimp. By far the creepiest, most creative and random costume choice.
  • Surprisingly enough we only had one Jersey Shore cast member, Snooki, and she looked amazing.
  • Season One and Season Two Kenny Powers from Eastbound and Down.
  • Grilled Cheese (one half of the couple was a grill and the other was cheese.)
Alissa Lawton Special to

Alissa grew up on the near west side of Madison and had childhood dreams of being a veterinarian. Instead she moved to Milwaukee to attend college and attained a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from UW-Milwaukee. Previously an advertising copywriter and a marketing specialist, Alissa always preferred the writing aspect of her career.

An animal lover, a shoe lover and a white wine lover, she now resides on the much beloved East Side of Milwaukee in what she describes as an ancient apartment building full of character, but lacking sufficient electrical outlets and the convenience of an elevator.

To some she comes across as a shy wall flower, to those that know her much better she is a social butterfly, usually overdressed and wearing inappropriately uncomfortable shoes for nearly every occasion. Either way you choose to see her, Alissa has a strong desire to bring awareness to the social issues in our city while maintaining a sense of humor about herself and surroundings.