Hurricane Sandy blew in two days before Halloween and with it, took many of our trees, along with power in the majority of our community. With numerous downed electrical lines, spooky dark streets and trees blocking roads, trick-or-treating would have been dangerous. The Village cancelled Halloween, promising to re-schedule it at a later date. We spent that night visiting with friends who lived way on the other side of town, and who miraculously had power, as did most of their neighbors. These residents ignored the town’s cancellation and decided to carry on as if a storm never decimated our community. So, my kids were able to trick-or-treat on a few select streets and came back with their usual bag of Snickers and Kit Kats. But still, Halloween felt different this year, mainly because I knew that on our side of town, the streets were dark and depressing, with nary a costume in sight. I knew that people on our street were huddling inside, using flashlights to see their food, and feeling the fall chill seep into their homes.
Our village kept its promise and Halloween was re-scheduled for this past Friday November 9th from 4-6pm. Even though some of our residents were still without power, including neighbors on our very own street, I was glad the town was moving forward with a Halloween Do-Over and doing something for our children who desperately needed to be back to their normal routines and rituals. However, I worried that distracted residents would not participate and hand out candy or that the kids were “over” Halloween and already thinking about their Christmas lists.
But then I snapped out of it. Who was I kidding?! This was a holiday all about candy! And sure enough, at 4:00pm on the dot, our doorbell started ringing. An adorable Elmo came to our door, probably his very first Halloween, and he had that starry-eyed look of wonder and joy as a smiling mom (me) offered him an assortment of candy. His mom said to me, “I’m so glad they are doing this.” Choking back the tears I said, “me too.”
I offered my boys the opportunity to trick-or-treat again, but they all declined, preferring to hand out the candy with me. They seemed to enjoy stationing themselves “behind the scenes” this time and being part of the community that wanted this to happen for the mini Elmos and tiny princesses. Some of the boys’ friends came to our door to trick-or-treat, but they still wanted to stay at home and be part of the greeting committee. I was proud of my youngest son who said, “No, I don’t want to trick-or-treat. I already got candy when we went last time. I don’t need to go again.” I thought that was just his ploy to stay inside and play Xbox, but he answered the door with me every time, eagerly offering our candy bowl with the scary rubber hand in the middle, which creaked, “Happy Halloween” every time someone reached in.
On “normal’ Halloweens, our neighborhood is packed with trick-or-treaters and I always need to buy an obscene amount of candy to make sure I don’t run out. For this year’s “do-over” I worried that we wouldn’t get our usual traffic and I’d be left eating Milky Ways for months. Once again, my worry was short-lived, as we had a steady flow of trick-or-treaters for the two-hour window. My only other concern was what to say to our little costumed visitors. At first I said, “Happy Halloween – Again!” Then, I realized it wasn’t “again.” This was it, their only Halloween this year. So then I came up with, “Happy Halloween #2,” but again that didn’t quite fit. I also tried, “Happy Halloween Do-Over” (my personal favorite), but that seemed to go right over their little masked heads. So I finally settled on the only phrase that could work on that brisk, November 9th evening: “Happy Halloween!”