Hurricane Sandy, which affected a large part of the U.S. East Coast on Monday and Tuesday, prevented millions of people from making early preparations to celebrate Halloween on Wednesday, and - once the storm had passed - many were scrambling to finalize those plans.

Nevertheless, in the most heavily affected areas, Halloween will not be celebrated normally this year and in New York authorities postponed the traditional costume parade for the first time in history.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press conference that the parade will be held next week, but he did not specify the exact date.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, for his part, issued an executive order postponing Halloween celebrations statewide in the face of the chaos resulting from Sandy's passage.

In the areas where the hurricane did not disrupt things so much, however, it seems that the holiday will be celebrated normally and, on Wednesday, costume stores and other retail outlets were jammed with last-minute customers.

"The storm made sales fall off a lot on Monday and Tuesday, and so today (Wednesday) we're ... all backed up," Lorenzo Caltagirone, the owner of Total Fright, one of the largest costume stores in the Washington D.C. area, told Efe.

Total Fright has been deluged with customers since early Wednesday morning, many of them looking for standard costumes of superheroes like Superman, Ironman, Thor and Captain America, but others intending to design their own unique outfits, Caltagirone said.

One of the most popular costumes this year is that of Big Bird from "Sesame Street," after the huge yellow bird of uncertain species was mentioned in one of the recent debates between President Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney. EFE