DeKALB – Two stormtroopers and Darth Vader trudged through the snow Thursday on Margaret Lane looking for green, watermelon-flavored Airhead candies, as they trick-or-treated through the snowiest Halloween since 1895.
That’s according to records from the Northern Illinois University’s National Weather Service Cooperative Station. The wintry milestone didn’t stop Cooper Moore, 6, dressed as Darth Vader, and his father and stepmother, Matt Moore, 31, and Sarah Moore, 29, of DeKalb.
“People are going to give you a lot [of candy] because nobody’s out,” Matt Moore said to Cooper, one of a handful of children out about 4:30 p.m.
According to research by NIU's David Changnon, distinguished teaching professor and geographic and atmospheric sciences department chairman, no previous Halloween experienced measurable snowfall in the 24-hour period ending at 7 a.m. Oct. 31.
It’s also the sixth-snowiest October on record in DeKalb, with the most – 8 inches of snow recorded – for the month of October in 1929, Changnon said.
“We’re both teachers at Sycamore Middle School, so the kids were in rare form today,” Sarah Moore said about her classroom. “We were telling kids to go sledding at the sledding hill.”
Although DeKalb trick-or-treating hours began at 4 p.m., snow continued to fall until about 5 p.m. Thursday.
Jessica Harper walked with her sons, Peyton Harper, 5, and Sebastian Harper, 2, dressed as Superman, along Ridge Drive. Jessica Harper said she’d never experienced a Halloween like this.
“I’m sure when we were little, but I don’t remember it,” Harper said. “This is crazy today.”
It was also a treacherous day for drivers in DeKalb County, with unseasonably slick roads affecting the morning commute.
Between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m., DeKalb County Sheriff’s deputies responded to 27 cars in a ditch, eight crashes resulting in property damage only, and four crashes with injuries, Chief Deputy Andy Sullivan said.
DeKalb County was forecast to get between 3 and 5 inches of snow Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
The city of DeKalb Public Works crews were taking a slightly different approach to snowplowing Thursday, and will not plow snow all the way to the curbside in residential areas, according to Andy Raih, director of streets and fleets with the city.
Crews expect the snow to melt away in a short amount of time, and are hoping to keep from piling snow on top of leaf piles, which they said could significantly delay leaf collection, he said. Curbside leaf collection is expected to resume Monday.
Halloween snow has haunted the county before.
A year ago, most northern Illinoisans were looking at high temperatures above 50 degrees for trick-or-treating, with some light rain here and there.
A year later, many of those same areas are seeing record snowfall.
Todd Kluber, meteorologist for National Weather Service Chicago, said this isn’t the first time there has been snow accumulation on Halloween. He said the last time that happened in the Chicago and Rockford areas was in 2014.
“And that was one tenth of an inch,” Kluber said.
Typically, Kluber said, the first nonaccumulating snowfall in northern Illinois comes in late October and early November. He said the first accumulating snowfall in the area usually happens in mid to late November and snowfall of an inch or more typically happens in early December.
The snowfall this Halloween is a slight anomaly, though, Kluber said.
“We’re well ahead of average at least for first 1-inch snowfall, two weeks ahead of schedule for first measurable snowfall and right on average for any snowfall,” Kluber said.