HOUSTON-- Witches and spiders and bats! People love to decorate for Halloween. But for Gage Mueller, it's an obsession. "It's one of those holidays that you get behind because it's fun," the Houston dad says, "It's just -- 'Hey! Let's dress up, let's decorate the house and let's go crazy.'"
And that he does! Each year he turns his home in Meyerland into a Halloween spectacular for neighborhood trick or treaters with a yard full of larger-than-life decorations. But this year, he wanted more. "One of the things that I always wanted to do was to bring kids from the cancer center to the street to trick or treat, just for an outing," he says.
Unfortunately, that wasn't possible, so he came up with the next best thing-- bringing trick or treating to the kids at MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital. "I wanted a way to bring costumes to the kids, and personally, not being able to afford it myself, wanted to see if we could get the public involved."
That's when he started a GoFundMe campaign to raise the cash for those costumes. And, man, it's taken off! He originally set a goal of $3000, but that was quickly met, so he upped it to $5000, and contributors have gone more than $1000 over that.
Mueller says he doesn't want cheap costumes for the children. He wants the best, "Costumes are going to cancer patients but they're also going to their siblings, so they can also participate in the fun."
Ulysses Segovia, 16, has been battling cancer since April 2014, "When you're in the room all day in chemo...if you lay in bed too long it actually takes energy out of you because you're not being active."
Jessica Taylor, 11, is looking forward to the hospital's fall festival where the costumes will be debuted, "It means a lot because we get to get out and actually feel like normal children, not somebody who's isolated." Taylor was diagnosed with cancer in September.
"With events like these, it's actually better for your health," says Segovia, "because you forget about, you know, this stuff that's not so fun."
Lauren Shinn, program manager with the children's cancer center, says Mueller's generosity will lift everyone's spirits at their fall festival next Thursday, "It allows all of our employees to get together, have positive interactions and see kids just be kids."