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Aiden’s Crusade to Make His Halloweens Meaningful

For the past three years, the Gustafson family has gone beyond trick or treating and pumpkin carving for Halloween. Inspired by their nine-year-old son Aiden’s love of Halloween, they have set up a full haunted walk in their backyard, and this year, the proceeds of the event directly supported Baystate Children’s Hospital.

It all began in 2020.

“We were looking for a way to offer some socially distant Halloween fun during the pandemic and we have some great animatronic decorations, so we decided to create the walkthrough, and it’s really taken off from there,” shared Amybeth Gustafson, Aiden’s mom. “Aiden loves Halloween and the first two years we made a donation to Baystate Children’s Hospital through Spirit Halloween, but this year, we decided to go right to the source.”

Baystate Children’s Hospital was a natural fit for the family, as Aiden had been a patient when he was younger and had a serious case of croup.

The family’s totals continue to rise with each year of setting up their haunted walkthrough, with the first year bringing in $125, the second year netting $300, and this year’s event raising $550.

Plus, they had some special help this year, as their daughter Grace and some classmates from Pope Frances Preparatory School volunteered their time setting up and working at the walkthrough as a service project.

The Gustafsons plan to continue their haunted walkthrough, with Aiden serving as their enthusiastic leader, guiding the family to the spookiest setup they can find. More details will be available for the 2023 haunted walkthrough in early fall.

Story by: Caitlin Roberts