In the days following Hurricane Sandy's arrival, the prospect of celebrating Halloween seemed pretty dim for lots of area children. And while places like New Jersey had "rescheduled" Halloween, for a couple of hours on Wednesday afternoon, the Holiday Inn Express Stony Brook might as well have been called the "Howl-iday Inn."
Corrine Morton-Greiner and her two kids, themselves guests at the hotel displaced from their Commack home by Hurricane Sandy, had an idea: throwing a party for all the youngsters who were anxious to wear their costumes and go trick-or-treating on Wednesday, but who were instead stuck inside due to hazardous conditions in many neighborhoods.
"I just saw all the kids running around the hotel feeling a little antsy and out of sorts because of the weather," said Morton-Greiner, a Spanish language professor at Suffolk County Community College. "They were nervous and upset, and I realized their Halloween would be ruined. We realized something had to be done for the kids."
The hotel management opened up a conference room for the party, and Morton-Greiner along with son Ian and daughter Sara bought whatever supplies they could find from open stores. Ian led children's games such as Bingo and Candy Land, while Sara minded a craft table. More than a dozen children enjoyed the party.
Greg Smith and his son Jeffrey, along with his fianceé Cara Brigante and her son Jason, enjoyed the party as well. The family, from Hauppauge, said trick-or-treating this Halloween just didn't feel right.
"It feels insensitive to go to people's houses and ask for candy right now," Smith said.
Jingtao Vinceguerra, whose 4-year-old daughter Jacqueline enjoyed the party dressed as Snow White, thought the party was a great idea.
"It's much better than trick-or-treating on the streets, much safer," Vinceguerra said. "The hurricane impacted everybody, but [the kids] didn't lose anything because they have this here."
As for the hotel, the management was pleased to help the kids celebrate Halloween.
"I think that's really nice when people make the best of a bad thing," hotel owner John Tsunis said.
For Morton-Greiner's family, the party served another purpose, too.
"In a crisis I wanted to teach [my kids] not to sit around and feel sorry for themselves," she said. "I wanted them to be proactive in helping people."