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Boo-tiful forecast crowns near-record October

Trick-or-treating conditions will be splendid as October comes ever-so-close to setting warm standard.

These pumpkins at Longwood Gardens are gathering no frost.
These pumpkins at Longwood Gardens are gathering no frost.Read moreLarry Albee.

Absolutely nothing is scary about the region's Halloween forecast.

At show time, temperatures will be in the mid- to upper 50s, winds will be light, and a waxing moon approaching fullness will rise in the late afternoon and burn clear and white by sunset at 6 p.m.

"It should be a nice evening for the trick-or-treaters," Dean Iovino, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly, said Monday.

Just for atmosphere, some stray clouds might temporarily eclipse the moonlight, but nature's night light should return quickly and, as a bonus, glow silvery on the foliage.

It should be a fitting conclusion to a month that will take its place among the warmest Octobers on record.

With temperatures about 7 degrees above normal, in Philadelphia this will be the second warmest in records dating to 1874, with an average temperature of just over 64 degrees.

That would be just a shade cooler than the 64.5 degrees of 2007. Rounding out the top five would be 1971, 63.5; 1947, 62.7; and 1931, 62.6.

The annual peak foliage show should be occurring now, but is one to two weeks behind, according to Ryan Reed, forestry specialist at the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and  Natural Resources.

What has been missing so far are those cool nights essential for the chemical reactions that bring fall colors out of hiding.

And it's not just around here. Save for last weekend, the Northeast has been under high pressure, or heavier air, that has kept things on the dry side and warm.

In Burlington, Vt., for example, through Sunday, temperatures were running 10.5 degrees above normal.

In upstate New York, readings were 7 degrees or better above long-term averages.

"I was up in the Adirondacks Columbus Day weekend," Iovino said, "and I couldn't believe how far behind they were."

And evidently we aren't done with the September-like warmth.

After a couple of seasonable days, temperatures by the end of the week are forecast to head back to the 70s, about 15 degrees above normal.