- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 1, 2011

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Twelve-year-old McKenzie Gallasso was deciding between dressing as a witch or a werewolf when the phone rang with bad news: Halloween had been canceled.

Police in her Hartford suburb of South Windsor advised families on Monday to call off trick-or-treating because of the October snowstorm that downed power lines and left three-quarters of the town without electricity.

“I was upset because I really wanted to go trick-and-treating and get candy,” said McKenzie, who added that her mother did not want her to go out because of the snow. “This year I’ll have to eat candy from my mom.”

The storm that spooked the Northeast with a blanket of wet, branch-snapping snow forced cities and towns to discourage or postpone Halloween festivities — decisions that did not sit well with legions of ghosts, goblins and princesses who were already homebound because of widespread school cancellations.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy even suspended the annual tradition of handing out candy at the governor’s mansion, heeding the decision of Hartford’s mayor to discourage trick-or-treating. He urged mayors and other municipal officials to make decisions themselves about Halloween celebrations.

“No amount of candy is worth a potentially serious or even fatal accident,” Mr. Malloy said.

Two days after the nor’easter charged up the East Coast, many towns said there were simply too many hazards, including snow-clogged sidewalks, slippery surfaces and the possibility of more falling tree limbs. Some urged parents to take children trick-or-treating at malls or organize activities at home with friends.

In Lexington, Mass., 13-year-old Rowan Lavell said he and his family were going to leave town to trick-or-treat after officials called off Monday’s festivities.

“I just think it’s sad they are trying to reschedule the holiday,” he said. “I mean, you can’t really do that. It’s like changing the date of Christmas.”

In the village of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., which trades on its connection to Washington Irving’s Gothic tale “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a haunted hayride was postponed from Saturday to Sunday because of the storm. The rescheduled event was canceled because of “broken limbs and branches that are still hanging from trees along the route,” Mayor Ken Wray wrote on the village website.

Elsewhere in Sleepy Hollow, the “Horseman’s Hollow,” a haunted trail with a Headless Horseman theme, was closed Sunday, as was “Irving’s ‘Legend,’” a dramatic retelling of the story.

Those two attractions, which were not scheduled to be open on Halloween, are run by Historic Hudson Valley, which also operates the popular “Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze” at Van Cortlandt Manor in nearby Croton-on-Hudson. That attraction, which features 4,000 hand-carved, illuminated jack-o’-lanterns, was canceled Sunday, and the organization said it could not open for Halloween night as scheduled.

In Salem, Mass., where up to 100,000 people flock to celebrate Halloween, the ghost tours, haunted houses and horror movies were expected to go on as usual Monday. The city, location of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, was largely spared by the weekend storm, receiving only 3 inches of snow and no widespread power outages.

“Everything’s a go,” said Kate Fox, executive director of Destination Salem, the city’s tourism office. “We definitely have the spirit of Halloween.”

In South Windsor, police and the town manager were recommending against trick-or-treating, but parents in neighborhoods that still had power were welcome to take their children out, said Vanessa Perry, assistant to the town manager.

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