As if Halloween weren’t scary enough already — haunted houses, fake blood, clown makeup — the night of Oct. 31 got even more terrifying for one Toronto family. Someone stole a bag of candy that their seven-year-old son had been planning to donate.
(Spoiler: this story turns out to be sweet, in the end.)
Noah Zuckerman-Mercier decided that he wanted to find a way to share the joys of Halloween with those who couldn’t partake in the holiday, his mother Tami wrote in a Facebook post. His idea was to leave an empty trick-or-treat shopping bag on the family’s doorstep, along with a sign that politely asked visitors to “please donate candy for people in need.”
HuffPost Canada has reached out to the Zuckerman-Mercier family for a comment. We will update the story as needed.
“The idea was to take that bag to a homeless person downtown and to just give them a bag of candy so they could experience Halloween the way that he does,” Tami Zuckerman-Mercier told CTV News in a phone interview.
When the night finally rolled around, Noah set out to go trick-or-treating with his dad, leaving the donation sign hung from the mailbox on the front porch, just above the shopping bag. Tami stayed home to hand out candy and to tend to the family’s newborn baby.
When evening became night and it was time to put the baby to bed, Tami left the candy bowl out for trick-or-treaters, attached with a sign that read, in part, “Take TWO candies so that there’s enough for everyone. Happy Halloween!”
It took less than 20 minutes for this rule not only to be broken, but shattered. When Tami returned to the front porch, she found that the bowl had been completely gutted, and her son’s donation bag had been emptied out, too.
Watch: 8 in 10 parents are secretly stealing their kids’ Halloween candy. Story continues below.
But it’s 2019 (almost 2020!), and we have these things called “cameras” now, so Tami was able to check the one embedded in her doorbell to get some idea of what happened. What she found was an image of what appeared to be an adult woman, with three kids waiting behind her, “just pouring candy into her bag,” she told CTV News.
Tami deduced that the same woman had also stolen all of Noah’s candy donations, then crumbled up the sign that he’d hung up on the mailbox.
Tami turned to Facebook to ask for advice on what to do, and was met instead with a wave of support from strangers and other members of the community. They offered to donate candy to make up for — and supercede — the candy that had been stolen.
“Tell Noah we will mail him our leftover candy. Seriously — PM me your mailing address.”
“Tell Noah we will mail him our leftover candy,” one person commented, then added, earnestly, “Seriously — PM me your mailing address.”
Over 100 messages like this flooded the post, filled with people both commiserating with Tami’s moral frustrations (“Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world,” one person reacted) and those who were eager to help (“I can meet you wherever to drop off a box of chocolate or chips, whatever!” another wrote).
The result was a small movement of people from the community who came together to help fulfill Noah’s plan.
“Complete strangers” turned up on their doorstep, bearing candy and other food items, Tami wrote on Facebook. Children donated their own Halloween treats. People sent them candy through the mail, and one person even tucked a $20 bill into a handwritten letter, which thanked “the thoughtful and generous child who decided to collect candy to brighten the day of those who are less fortunate.”
And so what began as a real-life horror story — as opposed to a fun and fictional Halloween one — turned out to have a sugary (sorry) ending. The family received enough donations to buy 20 homeless people lunch bags, each one filled with candy. Noah walked the streets of Toronto and handed them out to people who shook his hand and said things like “God bless you.”
As for the non-perishable food items they received (bread, granola bars), those went to passersby at a local Salvation Army.
“It definitely helped me show my son that there really is a silver lining in every cloud,” Tami told CTV News.
The moral of the story? “There’s just a lot more good out there than bad.”