The Illinois town of Edwardsville made its annual Halloween parade earlier so a little boy who was scheduled to have surgery could attend

By Maura Hohman and Lindsay Kimble
October 26, 2018 02:58 PM

A little boy from Illinois just had the happiest Halloween of his life.

The October occasion is 4-year-old Sonny Mead’s favorite holiday, and he almost had to miss out on trick-or-treating and the local costume parade because he was scheduled for a surgery on Friday, St. Louis’ KTVI reported.

Sonny has a birth defect called craniosynostosis, which prevents his skull from growing the appropriate amount to allow his brain to fully develop. In March 2015, a month after he was diagnosed, he had his first surgery, according to KTVI.

So when residents of the Goshen Meadows neighborhood in Edwardsville heard that Sonny’s condition would prevent him from fully enjoying the day, they decided to have Halloween a week early.

“He wasn’t going to be able to trick-or-treat, and I just, as a mom, could not let that happen,” Amanda Richert, a friend of the Mead family, told the outlet. “The response was just overwhelming.”

Some 27 houses agreed to welcome the trick-or-treaters this week, according to KTVI.

“When we found out that they were doing this, we just thought it was absolutely amazing for people to care about somebody we care so much about,” Sonny’s grandmother, Josie Mead, told the outlet.

To kick off the celebration, Sonny rode in a fire truck courtesy of the Edwardsville Fire Department to Goshen Meadows, where family and friends greeted him, reported KTVI. Then, Sonny — dressed as Superman — and his parents and friends, wearing “#SonnyStrong” t-shirts, collected candy from each house.

“We let him pick his costume, and up until today he was going to be Spider-Man, and then he decided that he wanted to be Superman because he wants superpowers,” Sonny’s mom, Jackie Mead, recalled to KTVI.

Jackie tells PEOPLE that Sonny “loved the trick or treating,” adding, “He kept talking about how much fun he had — he tried to sleep with his candy!”

Even after the family opted to head home early to keep Sonny from getting sick, the residents from local houses he didn’t make it to traveled to the family.

Sonny heading into surgery on Friday
Courtesy Jackie Mead

“They drove up on the walk home, dropping off candy and gift bags to him,” Jackie says. “And they came to the door to drop off some candy. It was truly an amazing thing to be a part of.”

During Friday’s surgery, a cranioplasty, doctors will use bone from a cadaver and a 3D printer to rebuild Sonny’s skull. If it’s successful, Sonny should be able to grow and live like any other child.

“We want him to be able to play sports and stuff, and not have to worry as much of him getting hit on the head,” said Sam Mead, Sonny’s dad, to the news outlet.

Jackie tells PEOPLE that Sonny’s surgery began at 7:30 a.m. local time on Friday, and though it was still in progress, doctors at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital said the little boy was “doing good.”