TORONTO -- Forty years ago, a man dipped his leg in the Atlantic Ocean off of St. John’s, N.L. and set out on a courageous marathon across Canada. This Halloween, his spirit is returning to Newfoundland in the form of a seven-year-old boy.

Ethan Smallwood is planning to dress up as Terry Fox this year and go door-to-door not to satisfy a sweet tooth, but to collect donations for cancer research.

Smallwood first learned about Terry Fox in kindergarten two years ago, and he’s been “obsessed with him” ever since, his mother said. He already has a collection of books and posters about the man who inspired a nation in 1980.

“This one my brother got for me,” he told NTV News, showing off a book cover with a photograph of Terry Fox mid-run.

His mother, Candice, was surprised when her son told her his idea for this year’s Halloween costume. Every year, she said, the family makes all of their costumes, so she was a little concerned about her own role in the transformation.

“We (dress up as) something elaborate, something different, so I was very proud of him, but I was also very concerned for myself on how I was going to pull that off.”

However, she was soon on board. The costume is now complete, and evokes every part of Terry Fox’s iconic image -- his “Marathon of Hope” shirt, his grey shorts, his socks -- right down to his artificial leg, which was replicated by decorating one leg of black tights.

Smallwood didn’t leave all the work to his mother. Apart from working on his running style to get that distinctive gait down, he sourced an important costume piece.

“The wig?” he said. “I found it.”

They’re all set for Halloween night. And when Smallwood and his mother go out trick-or-treating around their hometown of Clarke’s Beach, his goal won’t be candy, but donations.

“I like candy, but not too much,” Smallwood said.

Already, they’ve seen more support than they ever expected.

“He’s crushed every goal that we’ve had so far,” his mother said.

They started out with a goal of just $200. But by Monday, Smallwood’s donation page on the website for the Terry Fox Foundation showed that they’ve already raised over $3,000.

With three days left in spooky season, their current goal on the website is set at $6,000. Whether they will have hit that number by Halloween night remains to be seen, but for now, it seems certain that the legacy of Terry Fox is alive and well.

With a report from NTV News