Following the Hurricane, Families in the Northeast Share More Gratitude Than Candy This Halloween
There was no Halloween in my New York town this year. Ninety percent of the residents have no power. Trees are still lying on houses and cars. Power and cable lines are strewn about. All thanks to Hurricane Sandy. So it was simply too dangerous for kids (even the super heroes) to head out in the darkness of night to trick or treat.
And you would think there might be a lot of whining about missing out on one of the best holidays of the year. I mean, when else is it okay for a 40-something woman to dress up like Curious George and scarf down handfuls of candy corn?
But there was barely any whining. In fact this year, Halloween became the holiday of gratitude. Because everyone I know is so thankful to be safe. To have their families. To be okay.
We all know from watching the news and reading about the Hurricane Sandy horror stories, that this is not the case for everyone. It's so painful to hear about the loss of homes, children and lives.
There is also gratitude for politicians who just a few days before the Presidential election, stopped their partisan rhetoric and put the American people first. It was comforting to watching Republican New Jersey Governor Christie and Democratic President Obama tour storm damaged areas and work together to help those in desperate need.
When Christie was asked by Fox News Channel if he planned to also tour New Jersey with Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, this is what Christie had to say...
"I have no idea nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I have a job to do. I have 2.4 million people out of power, I have devastation on the shore, I've got floods in the Northern part of my state. If you think right now, I give a damn about Presidential politics, then you don't know me."
Wow. That's what leaders are supposed to be about - putting aside politics and actually remembering what they were elected to do.
So this year, Halloween isn't about pumpkins or bags of candy or dressing up. And I've got enough gratitude to make up for all those things. Last year, our house was devastated after hurricane Irene. Ten and a half feet of water filled our home. We were forced to move out for 3 months and rebuild.
This time we were one of the lucky ones. We had no flooding and we have electricity. We've opened our home to any friends who need a shower, a place for their kids to play or a meal. My children and I put together gift bags of art supplies and candy for families we know who have no power. So many people helped us when we were in need. And now, it's a blessing to be able to do something for others.
And to me, that's better than any typical Halloween.
Photo courtesy of Liz Giegerich