— This weekend, Mother Nature showed she has the power to do something that no goblin or ghoul, no witches’ spell or hockey mask-wearing axe murderer can do — cancel Halloween.
Trick-or-treating and other Halloween activities have been postponed in communities from Maine to New Jersey after this weekend’s nor’easter created dangerous conditions. Mother Nature tricked those who didn’t think it snowed in October and treated them to a storm that left a mess of downed power lines, fallen trees and heavy snow across the Northeast. Twelve deaths were also reported as a result of the storm, which also caused more power outages than Hurricane Irene in some places.
States of emergency have been declared in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut and parts of New York, and many Northeast towns have postponed trick-or-treating to Thursday or Friday. In the case of Charlton, Mass., Halloween will be celebrated on Nov. 8, just 16 days before Thanksgiving.
Other Massachusetts towns like Auburn, Worcester and Leicester have also postponed Halloween, citing power outages, inaccessible and downed trees as hazards that could make trick-or-treating unsafe for families. Plainfield, Mass., was hit with 27 inches of snow, and Windsor piled up 26 inches.
“We need time to clean up and enjoy the trick or treating and all of the festivities knowing that we will be safe,” Worcester City Manager Michael V. O'Brien told the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. “We don't want families and children maneuvering around piles of snow and downed trees.”
In Summit, N.J., trick-or-treating has been postponed to Friday, thanks to power outages, live electrical wires and downed trees that have made it difficult and dangerous to maneuver around town. Summit mayor Jordon Glatt issued a statement asking residents to stay inside for their own safety. Temperatures are expected to be in the 60s this week to melt the snowfall and make it safer for trick-or-treaters by the end of the week.
The last time New Jersey recorded any snowfall in October was 1952, and it was less than an inch, according to the National Weather Service. Parts of the state were hit with more than a foot on Saturday, including 19 inches in West Milford. The storm resulted in 102 school districts either being closed on Monday or having delayed openings, so Halloween costumes across the state sat unworn.
"You had this storm, you had Hurricane Irene, you had the flooding last spring and you had the nasty storms last winter," Hamilton Township, N.J., resident Tom Jacobsen told the Associated Press. "I'm starting to think we really ticked off Mother Nature somehow because we've been getting spanked by her for about a year now."
More than three million homes lost power as a result of the rare and historic October snowstorm, which set records for snowfall in October in numerous areas. In Connecticut, 750,000 customers were still without power Monday, according to The Hartford Courant. In Brookfield, Conn., trick-or-treating has been postponed to Saturday, and Democratic State Representative Tim Larson has proposed legislation that would designate the final Saturday in October as the day to celebrate Halloween across Connecticut.
In Concord, N.H., the state’s capitol was walloped with 22.5 inches of snow, the third-biggest snowfall in the state’s history. Trick-or-treating was postponed until next weekend in several New Hampshire towns, including Manchester, which traditionally had its festivities on the Sunday night before the holiday but now will celebrate Halloween on Nov. 6.
Costumed youngsters as far north as Maine had to wait a little longer to put their costumes on because of the storm. A planned celebration and parade in South Berwick, Me., was moved from Sunday to Monday night because of the weather. The storm also hit communities to the west, as Halloween parades in the Pennsylvania communities of Allentown, Bethlehem and Hamburg were all postponed.