Frankenstorm ravages Riverton and postpones Halloween

This Clapsaddle card of a scared little boy that was reading ghost stories was postmarked on Halloween of 1912.

The century old postcard at left, courtesy of Moore’s Postcard Museum, is one reminder of how children of 1912 viewed All Hallows’ Eve and its still relatively new tradition of knocking on doors and asking for food or money that became known as “trick or treating.”

Kids of today will remember 2012, if for nothing else, as the year that Hurricane Sandy hijacked Halloween. Or at least, derailed it for a couple of days.

Governor Chris Christie signed an executive order on Wednesday, October 31, postponing Halloween until Monday, November 5.

The Governor’s order notwithstanding, the Palmyra Halloween Parade facebook page says that the parade will start today, Thursday, and the Riverton Borough facebook page has trick-or-treating slated for tomorrow, Friday.

Riding out Hurricane Sandy – Monday, 10/29/12 at 3 pm

After hearing from friends in Riverton and trading stories about how we weathered the storm, I post the following images, more for the benefit of those expatriated Rivertonians who wonder how their old hometown fared.

The image at right, from Riverton Yacht Club’s website, shows white-capped waves slamming against the dock leading to the historic Club House on the Delaware River. Note the debris on the grass above the river wall. If any reader knows the greatest water level that Sandy caused here, please advise. It must be historic.

View from the RYC Club House by Mark Horger
Mark Horger: This is when I was leaving, Harry and I were upstairs for an hour. 10/29/2012 3:51PM
View from upper level of RYC by Mark Horger

RYC member, Mark Horger, took some remarkable photos and posted them on facebook as the storm bore down on the riverbank, eliciting several “likes” and one expression of being lucky to have come out of it well.

According, the state climatologist at Rutgers University, David Robinson, called Sandy the worst storm New Jersey has seen.


We welcome any sailor’s observations or comments on the effects of the storm on Riverton in general, or specifically on the Yacht Club and the boat fleet.


Paul May on Cedar Street 10-30-2012 by Susan Dechnik
The treees missed the cars and our house! – Susan Dechnik
uprooted trees at riverbank by Susan Dechnik
aftermath of Sandy by Susan Dechnik
near Tenth and Main by Susan Dechnik
near Tenth and Main by Susan Dechnik
Sandy’s aftermath by Susan Dechnik
uprooted tree by Susan Dechnik

Judging by these images sent in by Mrs. Susan Dechnik, Sandy diminished Riverton’s  2,474 tree census figure a bit.


She reported that a large tree fell near Tenth and Main and she lost a favorite weeping cherry tree in her own back yard on Cedar Street.



She counts herself lucky that it fell away from the house and downed trees on Cedar missed her parked cars.

All told, that is enough scariness for 2012.  If this week simply goes down in history as the week that Halloween got postponed, then we can surely can count ourselves fortunate.


Trees can be replaced, broken roofs and windshields repaired, but keep mindful of the many who have suffered devastating losses to homes, business, and lives as a result of this history making storm. The hurricane that some called Frankenstorm turned out to be quite a monster, indeed.

The American Red Cross has a huge relief response underway to Sandy, providing thousands of people across several states with shelter, food, and comfort during this difficult time. You can make a financial donation by visiting, by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

We welcome your observations and comments and appreciate any note of an error made here.

– John McCormick, Gaslight News editor




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John McCormick

Teacher at Riverton School 1974-2019, author, amateur historian, Historical Society of Riverton Board Member 2007-2023, newsletter editor 2007-2023, website editor 2011-2023

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