The Story of the Hero State Trooper Who Kept Halloween Going for Four Orphaned Kids Will Make You Cry for a Week

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halloween-gofundme-familyThe most horrible thing happened last weekend. On Saturday, Donald and Crystal Howard of Newborn, Georgia, stepped out to run a quick errand and pick up some extra face paint for their kids’ Halloween costumes. On their way, though, their car crashed into a tree and both were killed instantly less than a mile from their house.

According to Yahoo Parenting, 25-year-old Georgia State Patrol Trooper Nathan Bradley was tasked with notifying the Howards’ next of kin. When he arrived at their house, however, he was horrified to find himself face-to-face with just four kids “in full costume – a 13-year-old Freddy Krueger, 10-year-old daughter of a Dracula, 8-year-old wizard and a 6-year-old that appeared to be a firefighting ninja turtle,” waiting for their parents to come back and take them Trick or Treating.

Bradley, a county deputy, and the deputy coroner managed to stall while they tried to find  the kids’ next of kin, but the closest relative was a grandmother who was seven hours away in Florida. The kids were in for the worst night of their life on Halloween and were about to be stranded alone with the knowledge that both their parents had just died.

“Not only would these children discover they lost both parents, but would spend their Halloween in a county jail until somebody could tend to them; it just wasn’t right,” Bradley said.

With the kids’ grandmother’s permission, Bradley decided not to break the news of their parents’ death until she could be there. Instead, he told the kids to hang out with him until she could arrive. He took them to Burger King and McDonald’s, and when it got late he took them for a tour of the police station, where they hung out and ate Halloween candy and watched Disney movies until their grandmother came. Somehow, they actually had a very good night.

“You turned an F-minus day into an A-plus night!” the 10-year-old girl said, utterly breaking the hearts of everyone who knew what had happened.

Bradley and the Grandmother held off on telling the kids about their parents’ deaths until the next morning, hoping that they would associate the trauma with November 1 and not ruin Halloween forever.  

Bradley started a GoFundMe for the kids, hoping to raise $7,000 to pay for the Howards’ funeral costs and the costs of relocating the children from Georgia to Florida. So far it’s raised more than $87,000 in just a day.

(Photo: GoFundMe/HalloweenWreck)