Waterbury, Vermont - October 31, 2011
Waterbury's Randall Street hosts hundreds of ghosts and goblins every year on Halloween. More than two months after Irene, most residents haven't returned to the street, and many feared the trick-or-treaters might not either.
Last year about 900 kids visited the neighborhood. Homeowners and volunteers said over the past few weeks, they've done everything possible to make sure the tradition continued.
"We had about three feet of water in the first floor," said homeowner Michael Menard as he showed us his gutted residence. He has lived here in Waterbury for more than 23 years.
Monday afternoon, he closed off his property in an attempt to keep trick-or-treaters safe. The construction site includes heavy machinery and a pit that's at least three feet deep. "We're going to tape off and put the equipment in the way and hope that common sense will prevail," he said.
Down the road, Lucy Ely-Pagan prepared to welcome kids to her make-shift porch. "I hope they come because we love them," she said.
Lucy's house still needs heat, electricity, and water restored before she can move back in. Until recently, she says a normal Halloween didn't seem possible.
As the sunlight began to fade Monday the costumes arrived and calls of "trick or treat" could be heard along the street. Parents say Halloween wouldn't have been the same anywhere else. "This means everything to this town," said Heather Izor.
Another parent, Sarah Alverghini, said the street reminds her of past Halloweens. "It's so nice to bring them to all the houses I went to," she said.
Homeowners said the generosity of others made it possible. Local Business donated candy, and U.V.M. students helped clean, tape off hazards, and decorate. "We really wanted to be a part of that effort," said UVM sophomore Hillary Laggis.
All the effort led to a sweet reward, but when the last of the trick-or-treaters leave, so will most of the homeowners.
Almost everyone we spoke to Monday night said it was the excuse they needed to forget about Irene for at least a few hours. Residents say now their hopes are set on being back in their homes for the holidays.