Mindy Haering was pregnant and excited for the arrival of her daughter, but that excitement turned to sadness when the Haerings lost their baby girl shortly before October in 2013.
While dealing with the loss herself, she was also worried for her 4-year-old son, who had also been excited to have a baby sister. She didn’t want him to focus on the sadness. So Boo was born.
Boo is a stuffed bat that creatively performed a mischievous trick or delivered a piece of candy to her son daily, much like the Christmas tradition Elf on the Shelf.
“It was a way to not only get him to focus on something else, but also so my husband and I wouldn’t dwell on the fact that this Halloween would be vastly different for us,” Haering said.
Haering chose a bat for the night-crawling creature because her son was dressing up as a bat for Halloween. The tradition took off in the Haering family and soon other families began to take note.
“We wanted to do it not only to honor the baby girl we lost but also to teach our son to give back.” — Mindy Haering, Sneek-A-Boo creator
After people continued to ask Haering about their tradition and request a bat for themselves, Haering found a designer to make an official Boo. A BYU student, who had landed a job with Disney pending graduation, helped create Boo. Inspired by Piglet from ‘Winnie the Pooh’ and Stitch, Boo came to life. As a bat, Boo can hang upside down with the help of small hooks on his feet. Then the plush bat has bendable wire ears and wings as well as velcro on the edge of his wings.
This friendly designed bat starting going home with paying customers in 2016 along with a Sneek-A-Boo set, which includes a cardboard home and a book, “Little Bat Boo,” which was illustrated by Utah artist Amanda Monson.
“We wanted to do it not only to honor the baby girl we lost but also to teach our son to give back,” Haering said.
So the Haerings decided not to keep any of the profits from Sneek-A-Boo.
“We have not profited from this business,” Haering said. “We make enough to pay our costs, marketing stuff with this and then we give it back.”
Instead, the Haerings choose a new organization each year to donate the proceeds — like with its first benefactor, the Shamba Foundation, which is an orphanage and school in Kenya. However, for its second year of operation, the Haerings decided to donate one Sneek-A-Boo set to Primary Children’s Hospital for every set purchased. So far this year, the family has delivered 200 plush Boos to the hospital.
“It’s one thing to write a check, which is what we did with the Shamba Foundation, but to be able to physically give these kids something, it feels so good,” Haering explained. “It’s been so cool because the nurses can hang boo around the hospital, which they can’t go out trick-or-treating. We bring Halloween to the kids.”
And in the process, in sharing their infertility struggles and loss of their baby girl, the Haerings have built a community.
“A lot of people have wanted it either because they lost a child or because of infertility, because it is also Infertility Awareness Month,” Haering said. … “We are not alone. there are a lot of people out there that have been through horrible things like us. So we’ve created this thing through social media where moms can come together.”
While Boo might stop pulling tricks and dropping off treats after Oct. 31, he continues his adventures year round on Sneek-A-Boos’ Instagram account.
“This little bat is so cute that they want to see what he does all year round,” Heaering said.
Sneek-A-Boos are currently on sale for $21.99 (normally $24) and available for purchase on amazon.com.