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Halloween disrupted by East Coast snowstorm

Marketplace Staff Oct 31, 2011
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Kai Ryssdal: The weather today in Los Angeles: A balmy 76 degrees. Light breeze. Not ideal for trick-or-treating, a little warm, but bearable.

In Newtown, Conn.: Freezing, with a foot of snow thanks to that crazy storm this past weekend. Most assuredly not bearable for trick-or-treating. Which is going to put a dent in the activities on Main Street in Newtown tonight. Every year, thousands of trick-or-treaters show up for Halloween — so many that actually providing all that candy turns into a substantial enterprise.

Gordon and Lina Williams live on Main Street in Newtown. Good to have you with us.

Gordon Williams: Thank you.

Lina Williams: Thank you.

Ryssdal: Now, Mrs. Williams, might I ask: Do I hear it right that Halloween has actually been canceled in Newtown, Conn., horrible as that may be?

Lina Williams: The trick-or-treating is postponed until next Saturday because we have a lot of power lines down and they’re afraid that it’s not safe for the children to be out.

Gordon Williams: We had a very fluke snowstorm and 96 percent of the town lost power — which was better than some towns, which lost 100 percent.

Ryssdal: Tell me what Main Street is like on your typical Halloween, would you, Mrs. Williams?

Lina Williams: Well, we moved into this house 20 years ago, having lived in another part of Newtown. And when we moved here, I asked my neighbors how many to expect for trick-or-treating, and they said, oh maybe 100. And maybe that was what we had 20 years ago, but last year, we had 3,500.

Ryssdal: No! Come on, really? That’s like an industry, that’s not a holiday. So if you go to the corner drugstore, Mr. Williams, you spend $2 on a bag of candy, you probably have to buy like 150 bags of candy for 3,500 people. This is not cheap.

Lina Williams: Well last year, we didn’t buy any because it had gotten to the point where I said I don’t want to do this anymore.

Ryssdal: What’d you do? Did you turn off the lights and just stay quiet inside?

Lina Williams: I would have done that except my husband wouldn’t let it.

Gordon Williams: I’m in the Lions Club and one of our Lions kept sending out emails that I was the only Lion that lived on Main Street, and that I was going bankrupt, so we just had a wonderful outpouring of bags of candy from the Lions. In addition, Trinity Church, which is two doors from us, they always raise money and contribute a couple bags of candy to all of the residents of the part of Main Street that would be trick-or-treated.

Ryssdal: So did you have supplies laid in for this year already?

Lina Williams: I counted that we have — and this is counting every little inch-long Tootsie Roll…

Ryssdal: Oh yeah, they all count. You kidding me?

Lina Williams: I counted that we have 1,562 or something like that pieces of candy. So I thought, well I’m going to have to go out on Sunday and buy more. Of course we had a little over a foot of snow, so we didn’t go anywhere.

Ryssdal: It’ll all keep until next weekend, right?

Lina Williams: Right. Oh yes.

Ryssdal: Very good. Good luck and I hope the weather turns better for you.

Gordon Williams: Thank you.

Lina Williams: Thank you.

Ryssdal: Gordon and Lina Williams on Main Street in Newtown, Conn.

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