South Orange Neighbors Help 6-Year-Old Celebrate Birthday With ‘Fox Finding Mission’

by Mary Mann
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A little boy in South Orange named Sean turned 6 on Sunday. To help him celebrate in a time of physical distancing, quarantines and isolation, his parents asked neighbors to help them play a game.

“His FAVORITE animal is a fox,” Sean’s mom Allyson Murphy told neighbors in an email. “On Sunday, March 29, around noon, we’ll be taking him on a fox finding mission around the neighborhood.”

Murphy then asked those who had the capability to print a PDF image of a fox that she had attached to the email and post it in their windows.

“If you don’t have a printer and want to draw your own, that’s cool too!”

She finished, “Thanks! Wishing everyone wellness and sanity!”

Over in Maplewood, another neighborhood is going on a bear hunt. (Village Green is not publishing the names of the specific streets or neighborhood groups in order to avoid drawing crowds.)

“Thar’s bears in them there windows!” reads an email from one of the Maplewood bear hunt organizers.

The email details plans for a week-long bear hunt with instructions on how to participate: “All it takes is a teddy bear or two (or 10) that you place in your home’s front window. That allows neighborhood children to play a social distancing game of hunting for the bears from the sidewalk and counting as many as possible. Binoculars are optional.”

The email refers to the dates of the game as “hunting season,” and asks, “please leave your critters on the windowsill for the full week.”

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Back in South Orange, Sean and family went on that hunt, hoping that a few neighbors had gotten the message and pitched in to help.

Boy, did they ever. Murphy sent out this update on Sunday evening:

WOW!! 🦊🧡

You totally made our day neighbors!! Sean and his brother Callum were SO excited to see ALL the foxes in the windows. Sean is a math lover, and he counted up over 100 on his tally sheet.

We loved seeing all of you who waved from windows and opened doors to say hello. We super appreciated the beautiful hand drawn foxes too. We’re sorry we missed Jeter the dog.

Sean and his family walked six streets in their neighborhood “before the 6 year old legs tired out” and then drove two more streets “to see them all.”

“This is such a weird, strange, isolating time we are living through,” wrote Sean’s mom. “But you all helped our day feel warm, cozy, and happy despite the rain. Sincere appreciation to each and every one of you and your families. I hope we can repay the kindness soon.”


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