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Generosity of strangers makes Halloween special for grandma

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Posted at 6:54 AM, Oct 29, 2021

KENTWOOD, Mich. — A Kentwood woman put out a plea on social media: help her decorate for Halloween so her great grandmother can enjoy her favorite holiday from her hospital bed.

In the days after, dozens of people showed up at the door with decorations galore, and the extra pumpkins and ghosts that now sit outside are making grandma's holiday a little more bright.

There's something spooky going on at Donna Popma's house. "Never had it so decorated. I mean I always had something out there, but not like this," said Popma.

Twinkling lights illuminate the entrance, pumpkins, ghosts, and witches' hats hang outside the house too.

Great granddaughter Cherish said most of these decorations inside the house and out were dropped off or mailed to them by strangers and friends.

"It would make her very happy especially because this is very likely her last holiday," said Wascher.

"I think it's made her feel very cared about, and very loved by the community because she doesn't really get to see people all that much except for now, so just knowing that people are thinking about her," said Cherish Washcer, Donna's great granddaughter.

Grandma is known for her famous witch costume.

"I had a witch hat and a black thing I'd put on," Popma said. She continued, "It was always fun to carve out the pumpkin and make the face on it, then we'd put a candle in it and set them out there on the porch.

At 87, her health is failing. Still recovering from pneumonia, this year she can't get up to pass out candy like she normally does.

"I just love seeing them dressed up how they are," said Popma.

She's still in good spirits, dressed in her Halloween best, the decorations around her hospital bed brighten the space in the living room. On Saturday, as the trick or treaters descend on the neighborhood, Cherish will make sure Grandma has the best seat in the house.

"We're actually planning on taking the screen out of her window so that she can just hand them the candy from her window," said Wascher.

"They're going to move my bed so I can see better, in fact I might even sit in a chair so I can see," Popma.

"This year I wasn't sure what it was going to be like, but a lot of people have driven by, so they'll probably come back," said Popma.

The family is inviting everyone to come out to their home to drop off more decorations and for trick or treating to make Grandma's holiday. They live on Poinsettia Ave. in Kentwood.