By Renee Lorenz Special to Published Oct 06, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Forget Christmas – for me, Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year. I'm more than happy to embrace any excuse to get the party started early, and it just so happens that this season already has a brand new spooky spectacle in the works.

Gravity Marketing, Pritzlaff Redevelopment and other businesses have joined with Local First Milwaukee (formerly Our Milwaukee) to put on the first Operation Pumpkin MKE – a public art event that will fill the Pritzlaff Building's windows with the ghoulish glow of over 450 jack o'lanterns.

To help get their pumpkins in a row, Operation Pumpkin is appealing to fellow Milwaukeeans willing to carve their guts out for the cause at an official carving party Oct. 19. For $20, participants will receive their own pumpkin to carve and add to the display, plus be treated to an evening of food, music and prizes from 5 to 9 p.m. Fees will cover supplies for the display, and all extra money will be donated to Local First Milwaukee.

An official unveiling of the fruits of the carving party's labor will take place Saturday, Oct. 22 at 6:15 p.m. at the corner of St. Paul and Plankinton Avenues. The pumpkins will continue to light up the Pritzlaff Building – and send chills down the spines of passersby – through Nov. 1.

Renee Lorenz Special to

Contrary to her natural state of being, Renee Lorenz is a total optimist when it comes to Milwaukee. Since beginning her career with, her occasional forays into the awesomeness that is the Brew City have turned into an overwhelming desire to discover anything and everything that's new, fun or just ... "different."

Expect her random musings to cover both the new and "new-to-her" aspects of Miltown goings-on, in addition to periodically straying completely off-topic, which usually manifests itself in the form of an obscure movie reference.