Many towns across New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut have canceled Halloween for tonight, asking parents not to let kids go out trick-or-treating while dangerous trees and power lines are still down on many streets and many streets are dark due to widespread power outages.
In New Jersey, which suffered extensive damage, Governor Chris Christie took it a step further, tapping a little known executive order, No. 105 to be exact, and postponed Halloween celebrations across New Jersey until Monday, Nov. 5, citing unsafe conditions.
"As governor, it is my responsibility to use all available resources of the state government to protect against the emergency created by Hurricane Sandy," Christie is quoted as saying in the press release. "Postponing Halloween celebrations by five days is a commonsense and necessary step to accomplish that." (Read more: "For New Jersey, Halloween Won't Come Until Monday")
One colleague, a parent of three boys and a girl all under the age of 11, mused: Are they going to have extra police out to enforce that executive ordinance if anyone is caught trick-or-treating tonight?
Can you imagine the horror of cuffed little ghosts and goblins, found guilty of trying to gobble up Halloween candy?!
Word of the demise of Halloween began spreading like wildfire on social media this morning.
A colleague's daughter, 14-year-old Rebecca Taub, said she started hearing about Halloween being canceled on Instagram, Facebook and other social media sites this morning.
"The first thing they said is 'No school!' Then, the next thing, 'Oh my god, I can't believe Halloween is canceled! I'm so angry,'" Taub said.
She's trying to be mature about it — but she's still not happy.
"It's not like I agree with it — but I get it's for the best," said Taub, who was planning to dress up as a pirate. "I wish it was today. But no one wants their kids to get hurt."
She said she knows that when she gets together with friends, they're laughing and talking and not always looking where they're going — not a good combination when downed power lines are everywhere.
Teens like Taub may have found out on social media, but if you've got smaller kids you may have to break the news to them yourself.
Uh, how do you do that without causing a pint-sized riot?
One parent of three in Pittsburgh said the key thing is to not say canceled — say postponed.
"Tell them the truth: You say the mayor said trick-or-treating is on X day," he said, adding that parents shouldn't feel the need to take the blame themselves. "Blame it on the government!" he said.
Christiane Noll, a Broadway actress who lives in Maplewood, NJ, said they haven't broken the news about Halloween to their 3 ½-year-old daughter, Rianna, who was going to be Ariel from "The Little Mermaid" or a ghost. (Read more: "Trendiest Halloween Costumes for Kids")
"She was looking forward to it, but I don't think she even realizes that today is Halloween. We haven't mentioned it," Noll said.
She said there was a plan for some of the Broadway kids to get together in the city today to trick-or-treat, but she's not even sure that's going to happen tonight. They've been so distracted with the storm, they didn't even bring a costume with them.
"We were just happy to escape with our fleeces and hats to be somewhere where there's heat!" said Noll, who lost electricity and heat. She said they resorted to hiding under blankets, flashlight games and finger-shadow puppets to pass the time with Rianna during the storm. Fuzzy reindeer socks provided warmth – and a necessary distraction.
"It's the little things!" Noll said.
Of course, the show must go on, as they say, and the lights of Broadway are back on tonight at "Chaplin," which Noll is currently appearing in, and other shows, after two nights of darkness.
But for kids across the Northeast, the show will NOT go on tonight, begging the question, asked in the New York Times' Motherlode blog: ""Can Halloween Be Postponed, or Does It 'Come Anyway?'"
Taub said her parents have agreed to let her have a few friends over tonight as a consolation prize. And one way or the other, she's getting candy.
"If I can't go out tonight, I've still got candy — it's my candy!" she joked.
Indeed, one dad added: "As long as they get their candy eventually, they won't turn rabid!"
So, how do you keep the natives from getting restless tonight?
One (childless) 20-something colleague suggested that maybe families do something like a "golf party," which, when you're 20-something means there's a different drink in each room and you have to play all "18 holes" — if you can stay conscious for all 18! In the case of kids, that would mean a different adult in each room with candy.
Knock. Knock. Trick or treat!
The Motherlode mommy blog suggests you might also gather neighborhood kids in a safe backyard with card-table stations of candy. Or, if you're in an apartment building that still has electricity, as one colleague put it: "They just start at the penthouse and scream their way down to the 1st floor!"
That should take care of some of that pent-up no-school-for-three-days energy!
Some businesses in New York City took to Twitter to announce their plans to #savehalloween by handing out candies and cookies.
Others looked west for a solution.
"Everyone out west must party EXTRA HARD this week!" one poster on Twitter #halloweencancelled said.
And at the end of the day, there certainly are scarier things than Halloween being canceled.
"What's scarier: Halloween being postponed or Disney producing Star Wars 7?!" one friend said. (Read more: "Darth Vader at Disneyland? NOOOOO!")
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