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Snowy Halloween certainly presents challenges


Last updated 10/31/2019 at 12:10am | View PDF

When Ralphie wakes up to see the snow glistening on the ground, the ice-covered trees sparkling in the sunlight, he’s filled with wonder.

Of course, in “A Christmas Story,” this scene happens on Dec. 25, not Oct. 30. Charlie Brown and Linus are definitely not wearing coats as they discuss whether the Great Pumpkin will appear in the Peanuts’ Halloween classic.

Waking up yesterday morning to a blanket of white — with more wet, heavy snow falling from the sky — I felt no desire to admire its beauty. Instead I groaned.

I know I wasn’t alone. Parents of kids at Madison and Oak schools had to figure out how to handle an unexpected day off due to power outages. Hinsdale Community Preschool, Grace Church and Academy and The Community House were closed for the same reason.

Today would have made a better snow day — and a four-day weekend in District 181.

Even though the forecasts called for snow this week, but I still was not prepared. Just Tuesday we were out with a neighbor on a Halloween dog walk, checking out decorations that hadn’t been covered up with or knocked over by the heavy, wet snow. It was chilly, but it felt like fall — not winter.

Ainsley has been asking all week what the weather is usually like on Halloween. A quick survey of my digital photo library shows more good weather than bad, with a couple of years that were very pleasant.

There are some photos of a particularly soggy and unhappy Ainsley with our neighbor, Hannah, from 2013. Our annual photo of her candy haul shows the goodies laid out on a towel to dry.

Living where we do, we really shouldn’t by shocked at snow in October. Flurries fell on Oct. 20 last year, accompanied by high winds that caused downed trees and power outages.

We typically see some snow by Oct. 30, according to the National Weather Service.

If you’re looking for measurable snow (1/10 of an inch or more), it typically appears on Nov. 17. We’ve usually seen an inch or more of snow fall by Dec. 7.

The first measurable snowfall can arrive as early as Oct. 12 or as late as Feb. 28. So are we in for a bad winter this year?

It’s hard to tell. The National Weather Service meteorologist interviewed by WGN’s Tom Skilling this week said it depends on what happens in Alaska. If the jet stream buckles northward, creating a high-pressure system there, we could have colder and snowier weather. If it doesn’t, we would have the opposite.

Worries about winter are eclipsed today, though, by concerns about incorporating a winter coat into the Halloween costume and whether it will be too cold and snowy to spend much time trick-or-treating. If there is a measurable snowfall today, it will be only the seventh time that has happened on Halloween since the National Weather Service started keeping records in 1871.

I suppose we have to look on the bright side. Less time out on the streets means more time in our cozy living room, watching Halloween favorites like “Room on the Broom” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” Less candy collected from neighbors and fewer pieces handed out at our door means a tastier stockpile, seeing as I buy only candy I want to eat myself. (I just hope Ainsley gets some Mounds or Almond Joy bars.)

And we can always focus on the alternative. In 1950, it was 84 degrees on Halloween. Ainsley would be hotter than you-know-what in her devil costume in that kind of weather.

— Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected]

Author Bio

Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 630-323-4422, ext. 104


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