Six days after Hurricane Sandy pummeled the region with debilitating flood waters and destructive wind, there are signs that some communities are making attempts to return to normal, namely with Halloween celebrations.
Ordinarily, Halloween would have occurred Wednesday, two days after the hurricane made landfall. Gov. Chris Christie signed an executive order that day rescheduling Halloween for today amid safety concerns as crews worked across the state on clean up efforts.
Many municipalities will host trick-or-treating tonight from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., although some communities such as Ocean City have suffered too much damage to allow children to walk through neighborhoods. Pinelands Regional High School has also organized a modified trick-or-treating effort for those affected by the storm. Children will be able to trick-or-treat in the parking lots as volunteers hand out candy from the trunks of their cars.
Hamilton Township will offer trick-or-treating tonight, but also rescheduled its annual Halloween parade — a 58-year tradition — for Sunday. Hundreds of parents brought their children — some costumed and some bundled tightly in scarves and mittens — to see a cast of characters trot down Main Street. Children waved glowsticks and flashing light batons as costumed dance troops, marching bands, and floats designed by local businesses passed by.
Parents said their children had been disappointed by the cancellation, but they were happy that the community decided to only postpone the event rather than canceling it all together.
“(Hurricane Sandy) is all over the news. But for the kids, they’ve still got to have things like Halloween. They don’t understand why it would be any different,” said Gary Matthews, of Mays Landing, who brought his two young children to the parade. “It’s important for kids.”
Mainland communities were not hit nearly as hard by Sandy as the barrier islands. Although all closed schools and offices and dealt with travel bans in the wake of the hurricane, mainland towns required minimal cleanup. During the parade in Hamilton Township, there were minimal signs of Sandy’s presence last week. Mayor Roger Silva said the township saw no major damage.
A sign and cart stood in front of one home asking for donations for Sandy victims, and residue from tape that had been placed in “X” designs across the windows of businesses still remained.
Sandra Johnson, of Egg Harbor Township, brought her daughters, ages 5 and 7, to the parade.
“I didn’t want them to miss out on Halloween because of everything that’s going on,” Johnson said. “They still have to be kids.”
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