Krista Fitzpatrick, 42, said she and her husband, Scott, also 42, had been spending the yearly night of transition with Lou Schmidt, 41, and his wife, Lorraine, 39, for several years. Both couples have three children - all boys.
"It's all the crazy boys," she said of being good friends with her neighbors from around the corner.
The Fitzpatrick and Schmidt clans are three-for-three in attending 6 p.m. fireworks shows, they said, and they spend the hours before and afterward together, enjoying Lou Schmidt's pulled-pork sandwiches and other foods that have become part of the ritual.
Both families joined more than 25,000 people at Penn's Landing, watching the pyrotechnics from a spot they claim each year on the Great Plaza. Hundreds of other families swirled on the ice at the Blue Cross RiverRink, took in the show from the Independence Seaport Museum, or strolled the deck of the Battleship New Jersey on the Camden side of the river. (Attendance figures were not available for the Camden crowd.)
Nor were families with children the only ones at the show.
"It also very much appeals to a whole lot of other people that you didn't necessarily think it would," Milkman said, citing people who go to church in the morning or feel safer not being on the road late at night. "We were really shocked at how many 50-, 60-year-olds were thrilled to now be able to come out on New Year's Eve where they had to stay close to home before."
Joining with the thousands, the two Montgomery County families bade farewell to 2012, which they said they had mixed feelings about but were generally OK with.
The biggest positive thing about 2012?
"It wasn't the end of the world," said William Schmidt, 13, who said he and his brothers, Matt, 11, and Peter, 7, had been concerned because of the apocalyptic 2009 film 2012. "I was kind of scared because the movie was so realistic."
There were many contenders for the worst parts of 2012, adults and children agreed, including divisive politics, endless fiscal cliff talks, and the shootings in Newtown, Conn.
But 10-year-old Scottie Fitzpatrick Jr. spoke for everyone, including his two brothers, Danny, 8, and Charlie, 6, when he bemoaned the state of Philadelphia sports.
"The Eagles were bad," he lamented. "And hockey was gone."
Quibbles aside, the families said, the year was a good one, with everyone in good health and able to spend the holidays together.
Not that 2013 couldn't be just a little bit better than the year before it.
"Hopefully 2013 is going to bring prosperity to the nation," Lou Schmidt said. "You have to be positive."
The kids resolved to study harder, listen better, and beat the parents at video games. The parents said they would relax more, enjoy additional family time, and get in shape.
Well, Scott Fitzpatrick said, maybe.
"Remember," he laughed after listing his resolutions, "they're made to be broken."
Contact Jonathan Lai at 856-779-3220, email@example.com, or on Twitter @elaijuh.