91-Year-Old Grandma Goes Trick-or-Treating for 1st Time in Entire Life


One of my favorite comic strips is “Fox Trot,” the brainchild of long-time cartoonist Bill Amend that pokes fun at family life. One of my favorites involved middle daughter Paige walking into the living room during the holidays to find her father Roger watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”

As Paige goes on about the movie, Roger asks her to be quiet time and again. Finally, she asks her dad what his favorite part is.

“I don’t know,” he replies. “I’ve never seen it.”

It’s funny how we can assume that others have shared our experiences, and it’s a joy to watch them discover our old delights. That’s exactly how I felt when watching Christine Spaeth Richardson’s mother discover trick-or-treating for the first time.

A resident of Zion, Michigan, Richardson always made sure to keep track of her 91-year-old mother Mary Spaeth. On Oct. 28, though, she noticed a change in Spaeth’s demeanor.

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“She was kind of in a little bit of a funk,” Richardson said. She began to wonder how she could snap her mother, who goes by the nickname Baba, out of it.

“She always talks about seeing her grandkids and her great-grandkids, so when I spoke to her Sunday morning and she sounded down, I thought, you know what, we’re going to go visit. It’s Halloween, it’s trick or treating, we’re going to go see the grandkids,” Richardson explained.

“I said ‘All right mom get up, get dressed, I’m coming over to get you.” There was just one problem: Spaeth didn’t understand Halloween at all.

Though Richardson’s family had grown up with the holiday, Spaeth had emigrated from Croatia in the 1940s. She’d made sure that her kids participated in U.S. holidays and customs.

But she’d never actually gone trick or treating herself. According to WITI, Richardson decided to alter the practice just a bit for her mom.

Spaeth donned rabbit ears to become “Baba the Bunny.” Then she visited the homes of nearby family, handing out gifts as treats instead of asking for them.

Or at least that was the plan. But Baba struggled to understand the concept.

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“The whole concept of saying trick or treat, she had to learn,” Richardson said. At their first stop, “I stepped back and [her grandson] answered the door, and she said ‘Good morning, my grandson!’ And I said ‘No mom! That’s not it!’

It went about the same on her second attempt. Spaeth intoned, “Good morning!”

“I’m like, ‘No, mom!’” Richardson exclaimed. The third time, though, she got it, uttering a cheery, “Trick or treat!”

“She had a blast! And she got so many hugs and kisses and pictures too! She just couldn’t stop talking about tricking all her great grand babies!” she said.

Richardson added that her mom “got happier from house to house.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Wheaton College
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