By all accounts, Misty Leonida’s son, Eli, 13, was looking forward to Halloween last weekend when he could help pass out candy and celebrate the day as a family. He was going to trick-or-treat with his West Side St. Paul friends.
“We had already purchased 18 bags of candy and several bottles of apple cider to pass out. We usually get tons of kids,” Misty told me in an email today. They live in that house that every neighborhood has, the one that screams Halloween.
Then he had his first Grand Mal seizure and spent several days at Children’s Hospital. He was diagnosed with Cortical Dysplasia/ Epilepsy, a mass of cells in the brain that create chaos and, eventually, a seizure, Misty says.
That’s a big problem, of course, and certainly a bigger problem than having 18 bags of candy and bottles of apple cider. But they’ve got 18 bags of candy and bottles of apple cider.
So a West Side neighborhood is going to do Halloween again on Friday night. For Eli.
“It was his idea and he is excited to spend the evening with his family, seeing all the costumes and having Halloween,” Misty said.
She posted a note to Facebook with the idea, and then Facebook did that thing Facebook does.
“The closeness of the neighborhood has always been there,” Misty said this afternoon of the place she’s called home for the last four years. “I have always felt that we have each others’ backs, but I did not realize just how close we all were until this.”
Misty and her husband, Mike, invited neighbors to stop by their home to trick-or-treat, but she says many in the neighborhood are going beyond that. They’re giving out candy and repeating trick-or-treat, too.
“I believe we have most of our block and a few across the street now,” she said. “Not to mention, I have many others that just live in the immediate area have offered their homes as well. I am currently compiling a list of other homes that are involved that we can pass out to Trick-or-Treaters so they can continue on after our house.”
The Leonidas will also have a donation box to raise money for the Minnesota Epilepsy Foundation, and Misty says that’s the goal: to raise awareness during Epilepsy Awareness Month.
Now that the word has gotten out, they’re anticipating getting more than the 20 people they initially thought might show up.
They might even need to buy more candy.