Children hit the streets Monday night in search of candy, a week after most towns postponed their Halloween celebrations due to Hurricane Sandy.

Towns across the region held trick-or-treat nights, while some of the harder-hit areas — including Brigantine and Ventnor — held “trunk-or-treat” activities in which children collected candy from one centralized location.

“Our grandchild was very excited for it,” said Carolyn Sperling, who handed out candy from her daughter’s Linwood home Monday night while her 5-year-old grandson Aaron was out. “He would’ve been very disappointed without it.”

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And the delay hadn’t dampened any enthusiasm. Sperling, 50, of Galloway Township, said more than 30 kids had arrived in the first 15 minutes.

“It’s good we didn’t miss it,” said one of them, 11-year-old Dominique Harvey, who was with her 2-year-old brother Corey Laramore.

“She’s really excited for it,” said their mother, Jennifer Harvey, of Egg Harbor Township. “He’s just learning about it, so he was really excited, too.”

Sandy forced communities across South Jersey to rearrange their Halloween plans.

Egg Harbor Township Mayor James “Sonny” McCullough said he coordinated with officials from several neighboring towns to reschedule their events.

“A lot of Northfield kids come into EHT and EHT kids go into Northfield,” he said. “You don’t want to have one on Sunday and one on Monday.”

While EHT and other mainland communities had initially rescheduled Halloween for Saturday, those plans changed when Gov. Chris Christie issued an executive order moving the holiday to Monday.

Of the four towns, only Somers Point stuck with Saturday.

“If the Somers Point kids are smart, they’ll come over to EHT and get double the candy,” McCullough said.

Ventnor police Capt. Doug Biagi said it was safer to have trick-or-treaters descend upon one place — the Ventnor Educational Community Complex parking lot — rather than braving the dangerous streets.

“There’s a lot of debris and ... a lot of people are storing (rubble) on the sidewalks,” he said. “We don’t want to take the chance of kids tripping and falling.”

“At least this allows the kids to get a feel for Halloween,” he added.

Ann Vitanza took her children, Sofia, 4, and Michael, 8, to the “trunk-or-treat” to get them out of the house; and she attended with candy to hand out from her tailgate.

“It was a really great idea because our roads are a mess,” said Vitanza, 39, of Ventnor Heights. “Nobody can get around and there’s trash everywhere.”

Little Egg Harbor Township took a similar approach.

Trick-or-treating was permitted during daylight hours only and the township encouraged people to take advantage of a “trunk-or-treat” event at Pinelands Regional High School, said Robin Schilling, a Little Egg Harbor Township secretary.

“We’re just offering a safe alternative for places that have been affected,” she said.

Some municipalities, such as Wildwood Crest, canceled Halloween events. Atlantic City’s Halloween Fun Night at Bader Field was also canceled, although people were asked to hold onto their tickets in case a new date is announced.

Meanwhile, Ocean City will hold one of the last events in the region, with trick-or-treating now scheduled for 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Laurie Howey, the city’s communications manager, said the ongoing cleanup from Sandy and a second major storm forecasted to sweep through Wednesday and Thursday made it impossible to schedule Halloween any sooner.

“If we have any residual storm cleanup to do because of the nor’easter, it would be on Friday,” she said. “Rather than rescheduling a third time, Saturday is the safer assumption.”

After so much weather-related chaos, Halloween is a must, Howey said.

“It’s going to be nice for families to get out,” she said. “If it’s nice on Saturday, they’ll see their family and friends and get out in the community again. They’ll get to enjoy some normalcy again.”

Contact Wallace McKelvey:


Follow Wallace McKelvey on Twitter @wjmckelvey

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