Families

Memories of Alan on Halloween [PHOTO ESSAY]

by Judy Sanders
October 31, 2014

Ambassador Alan’s favorite holiday was Halloween because he loved trick-or-treating and exploring the neighborhood. For his last Halloween, Alan was confined to a wheelchair and couldn’t take part in the traditional neighborhood celebration, so his family did something extra special. His mom, Judy, shares these photos and memories.

Alan in a pumpkin patch
These photos were taken at Morgan’s Wonderland on October 31, 2012. Morgan’s Wonderland has a Halloween event called “More Delightful Than Frightful” and it was one of Alan’s most favorite places.
Alan eating Halloween candy
Between the nephrostomy bags and the two IVs, Alan was pretty much restricted to his wheelchair at this point. As much as we loved our neighborhood Halloween celebration that Alan had enjoyed so much in the past, it would have been a cruel frustration for him not to be able to go up to each house to knock on the door and say “trick or treat.” But Morgan’s Wonderland prides itself that they never have to say no to a child who wants to play, so Alan had full run of the park and access to all the activities and fun.

Alan at Morgan's Wonderland
I had a Jedi costume for both boys, but Alan wanted to wear his glow in the dark skeleton t-shirt with candy corn. He chose that shirt a lot that month.

Alan and his brother, Kevin, holding a pumpkin
Even though Alan had pretty much stopped eating by this point — he got his nourishment through an IV — he still enjoyed Fun Dip, Smarties, and Dum Dums. There were trick or treat stations throughout the park, and Alan loved saying “trick or treat!”

Alan trick or treating
I can’t say how much Morgan’s Wonderland meant to us, not just on Alan’s last Halloween, but often in the last months. When we knew he would be able to celebrate one more Halloween, it was difficult at first because even though our neighbors would have come down their driveways to him, he always wanted to walk up to the door, even when I was just taking him for walks around the neighborhood. To be able to let him play and be a little boy, to be able to keep making memories even in a wheelchair, hooked up to IV pumps, was a true gift.

Alan trick or treating
I love these pictures — seeing his face light up in these photos, seeing how much fun he had going up to each station, even though he was barely tasting any solid food by that time, just for the sheer fun of saying “trick or treat.” Seeing him so alive despite the cancer.

Alan digging through his Halloween loot
This was the first Halloween we celebrated at Morgan’s instead of our annual neighborhood get-together. He had enjoyed the crowds in our neighborhood and finally being allowed to go to every door and knock or ring the doorbell, but having Halloween at his favorite place was a pretty awesome alternative.

So we continue to attend the Halloween festivities at Morgan’s Wonderland as our new family tradition, complete with a visit to the memorial wall holding Alan’s name.

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