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The Halloween That Almost Wasn't; Kids Remember Sandy

Not power outages, downed trees or strewn debris held back Halloween.

A downed tree didn't fell the Halloween for these trick or treaters. Credit: Chris Swain.
A downed tree didn't fell the Halloween for these trick or treaters. Credit: Chris Swain.
When Superstorm Sandy blew into town last year it almost blew out Halloween traditions. Area neighborhoods so devastated by the storm struggled to provide ways for kids to keep up their beloved rituals of dressing in costume and going door-to-door shouting "trick or treat".

Most residents were without power and kids were home from school while officials tried to clear roads and clean up schools to make them safe for students. Indoor events didn't provide much relief either. The high school canceled its annual "Trick or Treat Street" because the school was without power. Some parents, (gasp), suggested postponing Halloween. 

But, kids being kids, they persevered, unlike parents who grumbled and complained about cold showers and loss of power, it was the kids who found adventure in the debris and the free time. Downed trees, branches and even power lines that filled the streets were no match for them. There was candy, they would get it.

"I remember the houses were all pretty dark and there were no Halloween light decorations on. There were fallen trees and limbs everywhere," said Jack Dillion, a seventh-grader at Murphy Junior High School. " "But despite all this, Halloween wasn't ruined, it was still pretty fun."

The dark streets and wreckage seemed to provide a perfect backdrop for ghouls and goblins. 

"I didn't really feel like it was ruined because we weren't using power or anything like that," said Jack's brother Matthew Dillon, a fourth-grader at Nassakeag Elementary School. "It was still pretty fun when we went to each house. It was kind of cool seeing the damage. It felt like we were in a spooky movie."

For some kids, many of whom think Halloween should dictate a day off, the biggest thrill was that schools were closed.

"It was interesting and fun especially because there was no school during or after trick or treating," said Victoria Amato, 12, of Stony Brook. 

Parents chaperoned kids while sharing tips on filling stations that had gas. Kids shared tips on what house had the best candy. It was for many, a welcome diversion. 

"There was no way we weren't going out to trick or treat," said Mary Fagan, of Stony Brook. "I have three young boys, we were getting out of the house. You had to keep a sense of normalcy."

At the Holiday Inn in Stony Brook, Corrine Morton-Greiner and her two kids, themselves guests at the hotel displaced from their Commack home by Hurricane Sandy, helped plan a party for all the youngsters who were anxious to wear their costumes and go trick-or-treating, but who were instead stuck inside due to hazardous conditions in many neighborhoods.

"I just saw all the kids running around the hotel feeling a little antsy and out of sorts because of the weather," Morton-Greiner told Patch last October. "They were nervous and upset, and I realized their Halloween would be ruined. We realized something had to be done for the kids."

The hotel management opened up a conference room for the party, and Morton-Greiner along with son Ian and daughter Sara bought whatever supplies they could find from open stores. Ian led children's games such as Bingo and Candy Land, while Sara minded a craft table. More than a dozen children enjoyed the party.

And so for many, it would not be the year without a Halloween. Instead it may be the one to remember above all others. The one that will give them bragging rights.

Did you trick or treat last year? What do you remember about Halloween? Tell us in the comment section. 
Cindy Halpern October 29, 2013 at 08:31 AM
Even though there was a big tree in the street and we had no power, the kids arrived at our door anyhow. And I had the candy to give them. I bought it a few days before. Happy Halloween, kids!
LivingSmall October 29, 2013 at 11:19 AM
It was fun planning for both Halloween and Sandy in the days leading up to the big event, however not one costumed Trick-or-treated haunted our doorstep. The landscape proved too daunting.

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