(Reuters) - Mega-storm Sandy played Wicked Witch on Wednesday, postponing Halloween for millions of disappointed East Coast children warned not to trick or treat amid dangling electrical wires and trees uprooted by the deadly weather.
Historic damage from Sandy upended the fun across the U.S. East Coast, rescheduling the traditional door-to-door candy gathering in some Connecticut towns to November 7, the day after Election Day.
By executive order, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie moved Halloween to Monday, citing safety concerns in his storm-ravaged state, where Sandy made landfall earlier this week and began its destructive march inland.
Millions of children looking forward to Halloween since last year’s celebration was canceled by a freak snowstorm were stunned by the news that the October 31 holiday was being delayed yet again.
“I’m upset. It’s just not the same as on Halloween,” said Piper Eccles, 12, of Maplewood, New Jersey, who spent $80 on her homemade costume to portray Effie Trinket, a character from the hit movie “The Hunger Games.”
Some parents in New York City’s suburbs fended off deep disappointment and endless whining by staging last-minute daytime gatherings in parking lots and parks where their costumed children could safely trick or treat on the actual holiday. At “Trunk or Treat” events promoted by friends through Facebook and other social media, costumed children gathered candy car to car, trunk to trunk.
“Instead of knocking on doors, my son would knock on the plastic ghost basket he was holding and say, ‘Trick or treat!’” Nancy Trager of Scarsdale, New York, said of her son Max, 8, who dressed as New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady.
A “Trunk or Treat” party scheduled for Max’s elementary school parking lot had to be moved to a nearby park because downed wires and trees blocked the route to school. A similar last-minute event at a shopping area parking lot in Livingston, New Jersey, drew about 50 families.
“It was fun because we were all going a little stir crazy,” said Adrienne Lewin, whose sons, ages 4 and 6, both dressed as pirates. Like millions of people left without power from the historic storm, friends turned to Lewin - who never lost electricity - to care for a pet fish as their home remained dark and became increasingly cold as temperatures began to dip, she said.
It wasn’t just children whose Halloween fun was ruined by Hurricane Sandy. For the first time in its 39-year history, New York City’s annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade - known for its outrageous, risqué and most definitely adult costumes - was called off with the possibility that it may be rescheduled next week.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg cited the loss of power in lower Manhattan and the need for police elsewhere in the storm-battered city.
(The story corrects paragraph 9 to show Lewin’s friends lost electricity, not her.)
Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh