By Christopher Arnott
10:41 PM EDT, October 30, 2012
There’s something very wrong about nicknaming a hurricane “Frankenstorm,” then having it cancel Halloween.
In a bittersweet message for New Haven children on Tuesday, Mayor John DeStefano Jr. declared the Wednesday the 31st would be a third consecutive day off from school due to Hurricane Sandy, but added that he was advising kids not to go trick or treating on that very Halloween night. He recommended holding a delayed citywide celebration of Halloween on November 7 instead.
Yeah, that’ll work.
Those are good intentions, I’m sure, and I wasn’t looking forward to my daughters knocking on doors of those who might have experienced power outages and flooding or worse, adding to the victims’ anxiety by demanding candy. At the same time, I expect that a week from now we’ll all have moved on from Halloween. One of my daughter’s schools (currently without power) has scheduled its annual Harvest Feast family party for November 7. Are we now expected to dress up as Children of the Corn for that celebration?
And what of those who mark All Hallow’s Even as an actual holiday? Oh, how they’ll scoff. “Do you move Christmas when there’s a snowstorm? Do you shift Thanksgiving when you’re not very thankful that day? What if it’s too shadowy on Groundhog Day?”
As for Frankenstorm, that was a sucky name, and the weather forecasting societies should have ignored and decried it before it caught on. If you must apply the name Frankenstorm to something, it would nice if it had something to do with the Frankenstein story. An electrical storm would be an obvious application. Or a storm that was entirely man-made. (If Sandy is determined to be a product of global warming, I guess that would make it manmade, but it’s still a bit of a stretch.) Or a storm that sounded like Boris Karloff groaning.
I am very fond of the contemporary series of Frankenstein books by Dean Koontz, in which Dr. Victor Frankenstein has stayed alive for centuries, and created an army of cloned creatures indistinguishable from conventional human beings and programmed to follow their master’s whims, revenge schemes and aesthetic principles. The series’ logo is a storm cloud pierced by a thunderbolty ray of light. A “Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein” Frankenstorm would be the devastation of New Orleans, where his stories are largely set. But that’s another hurricane entirely, and you can probably already feel how unfunny it is to apply goofy monster names to deadly natural disasters.
You might have noticed how, after trees starting falling on cars and whole towns got flooded and thousands were evacuated, you stopped hearing that Frankenstorm label so much. Frankenly, my dear, people gave a damn.
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