New Yorkers rally to celebrate Halloween despite Sandy

Story highlights

NEW: On New York's Upper West Side, trick-or-treaters search for candy

NEW: Families in Long Island gather in school parking lot for a "trunk or treat"

In parts of New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, citizens are asked not to trick-or-treat

Finding ways for kids to pass the time has been the biggest challenge for some parents

CNN  — 

Halloween will come a little late for some this year, thanks to Superstorm Sandy, but in areas of New York that didn’t take a major beating, revelers and trick-or-treaters were eager to celebrate after days of being cooped up inside.

The situation is still dire in many parts of the East Coast, including New Jersey, where neighborhoods are littered with debris from shattered homes, downed trees and power lines. Citing safety concerns, Gov. Chris Christie signed an executive order Wednesday postponing Halloween.

“I’ve taken this action to minimize additional risks to lives and the public safety as we begin the process of rebuilding and recovering from Hurricane Sandy,” Christie said. “In too many communities in our state, the damage and losses from this storm are still being sorted out, and dangerous conditions abound even as our emergency management and response officials continue their work.”

Elsewhere, residents in parts of New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut were asked to hold off on trick-or-treating. Parades were postponed or canceled, including New York’s annual Village Halloween Party, which the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management and the New York Police Department canceled for the first time in 39 years.

But that didn’t stop celebrations altogether for residents of New York’s outer boroughs who had planned on attending the Village Halloween Party.

Hallow-meme costumes take off

“We were already planning on having a party. But now that nobody can get into Manhattan we are really having a party,” said Brooklyn resident Adam Scher, who invited friends to enjoy electricity and running water in the office of his online marketing agency in Clinton Hill Wednesday night.

“People need something to do,” he said. “Everyone has been cooped up inside for the past four days, and nobody has anywhere to go or anything to do, so why not provide them with some fun celebratory festivities!”

In Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, iReporter Luis C. Muniz took pictures of trick-or-treaters walking around storm detritus.

“Even though most of New York City is still paralyzed and without electricity, the spirit of Halloween is alive and well,” he said.

On New York’s Upper West Side, costumed children and parents also had to avoid downed trees and store awnings surrounded by yellow caution tape as they searched for Halloween treats, which were in short supply. In some high-rise buildings that had power, the tradition of apartment trick-or-treating continued if residents could find candy.

“On the one hand, the kids and parents were so happy to be outside and have some semblance of Halloween celebration,” said iReporter Jodi Kaplan, who lives on the Upper West Side.

“What was striking was that the stores did not have any decorations, or had tape and boards over the front windows. Half of them are still closed down. And the half that were open were almost all out of candy.”

An undercurrent of guilt pervaded the festive atmosphere, she said, because revelers knew that residents of lower Manhattan, much of which was still without power and littered with storm damage, could not participate.

With several cities along the East Coast experiencing power outages, information was hard to come by, leaving many to improvise or source information through social media.

Colleen Napoli of Wantagh, New York, posted updates on Facebook to alert friends who didn’t have power in their homes but could check their smartphones. The town of Hempstead, where she lives, asked residents to postpone trick-or-treating until Saturday, and a parade in nearby Huntington was canceled.

Halloween facts and figures

Instead, the married mother of five brought her kids to East Meadow, where parents met in a school parking lot for a “trunk or treat,” she said. They lined up their cars next to each other with trunks open to display big bowls of candy. The kids went from car to car scooping up treats before hitting the playground.

While the kids got to expel pent up energy from being housebound, parents were able to commiserate, she said. They shared stories of losing roofs and exchanged information about school openings, upcoming games and where to find gas or bread.

“It was endearing and heartwarming to see a town coming together in this moment. It brought lightness to what was a dark situation,” she said.

Elsewhere, the change in routine brought neighbors together as they’ve been forced to improvise.

For Lia Mariscal and her family in Hoboken, New Jersey, that meant Halloween actually arrived a little early this year. Her 13-floor, 70-unit apartment building was still without power Tuesday and surrounded by a couple of feet of water.

“Our building is full of bored trapped kids,” she said. To keep them busy, everyone gathered in the lobby and played board games on Tuesday. Later in the day, the children dressed up in their costumes and went trick-or-treating in the building, she said.

“Some of the families had not gotten a chance to get candy so they improvised,” she said in a Facebook message.

Because she’s been home for four days, Jee Won Park, who normally works full time, finally met her neighbors in Washington Heights after living in her building for a year and a half.

Thanks to one mother in the building – “There’s always one mom who organizes for all the other mommies,” said Park – families have been taking turns hosting events and gatherings so the load is spread out among several families. Since Monday, there have been group playdates, a pancake party, movie sessions and even (this being New York) a yoga class.

“Because of the nature of my job, I have not been around very much, so it’s great to meet the other mommies,” said Park.

“It’s taken me a year and a half and a hurricane,” she said. “They said, ‘We never even knew you actually had a kid.’ “

Did you celebrate Halloween in spite of Sandy or were you forced to postpone festivities? Share your experiences in the comments section below. Like CNN Living on Facebook.