Hurricane Sandy provided an unexpected respite for the two men battling to succeed Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.).

Republican Senate candidate George Allen, right, and Democratic rival Timothy M. Kaine shake hands during a September debate in McLean. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Virginia’s Senate race is one of the most expensive and closely watched in the nation, one of a handful that could help determine control of the chamber. Both candidates initially planned to press on with campaign events Monday, but later decided it was best to hunker down.

After nixing events Monday, Kaine said he wasn’t sure how he’d spend his free time. He quickly ruled out watching TV. Too many “negative ads about myself,” he said.

Kaine said he might catch a few more winks of sleep, a luxury in the last week of such a hard-fought campaign.

“Storing up a little bit of energy for those last six or seven days might be a good idea,” he said.

Allen spent Monday at home, carving a pumpkin and roasting seeds with his youngest child, Brooke.

But it was not a day to really put his feet up.

“I had to do some stuff around the house, that’s for sure,” he said. “Susan” — his wife — “had several chores for me to do. I have a sore back because of it, but it’s a good soreness.”