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Boy diagnosed with COVID before Halloween birthday gets a surprise from neighbors and strangers

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REXBURG — One 11-year-old boy thought he would have the worst birthday over the Halloween weekend after his plans were canceled due to being diagnosed with COVID-19.

However, it turned out he had one of his most memorable birthdays thanks to neighbors and complete strangers that came together and surprised him.

Jaden Deming from Rexburg, had a birthday party planned out for Oct. 30. He told he was going to have his 11th birthday party at the Gravity Factory with his friends, eat ice cream, go trick-or-treating and go to a haunted house. He had been talking for weeks to his mom about how excited he was.

However, according to his mother Linda Deming, he started to feel pretty sick a few days before his birthday.

“My throat hurt. My back was sore when I was breathing. My chest hurt, I had a headache, and I couldn’t taste or smell,” Jaden said.

Linda took her son to the doctor to get tested and a few minutes later, they found out he had COVID-19.

“The look on his face broke my heart. He knew that his birthday and his Halloween plans were canceled. We just both had a moment of sadness and recognized we had to keep our family members safe and that we had to stay home. He thought for sure it was going to be the worst birthday ever and was in tears,” Linda said.

That meant, his two younger siblings also couldn’t join in on the fun of Halloween and that they would have to stay home and quarantine. Jaden’s birthday party got postponed. Linda said she decorated the outside of their home with caution tape and a sign that said, “COVID stinks!! Boo. No trick-or-treaters at our house this year, so sorry!”

Jaden in front of his home with COVID sign | Courtesy Linda Deming

Linda told that a friend had found out what had happened and wanted to help in some way. She reached out on a Rexburg Facebook group and encouraged others to ‘REVERSE’ trick-or-treat at Jaden’s house, which means people would bring the candy to Jaden instead since he couldn’t go get any himself.

Linda said there was an overwhelming response.

“Dozens and dozens of people drove by and threw candy in our yard! Others brought a karaoke machine and sang him happy birthday. Many people stopped by in fun costumes to wish him a happy birthday. Friends and complete strangers gave him candy and gifts and also gave gift bags to his younger siblings,” Linda said. “Someone made an elegant cake, someone else brought a pumpkin-shaped pizza, another brought festive drinks. Another gave us a “Halloween Party in a bag” with all sorts of Halloween games and treats.”

Jaden ended up receiving at least 40 pounds of Halloween candy and was so happy with how his birthday turned out.

Jaden with his 40 pounds of candy | Courtesy Linda Deming

“Thank you so much for all this Halloween candy. It really brightened my Halloween and filled my heart with joy. I thought that this would be the worst birthday ever, but truly, it was the BEST! Thank you so much!” said Jaden in a video his mom recorded and shared.

Jaden said he is feeling a lot better and should be returning to school soon. His mother is so grateful to the community for coming together to make Jaden smile.

“I was completely just touched with everyone’s generosity. They created a birthday miracle for my son and brought Halloween cheer for our whole family. It was a birthday and Halloween we will never forget,” Linda said.

A friend of the Deming family who brought Jaden a birthday cake | Courtesy Linda Deming
Some people who brightened Jaden’s day | Courtesy Linda Deming
Jaden and Linda
Linda Deming and her son Jaden Deming | Courtesy Linda Deming
jaden and his siblings
Jaden and his siblings | Courtesy Linda Deming