Halloween is a time for spooks, haunted houses, candy buying and many, many treats! Children go door to door dressed in their costumes (i.e. princesses, pirates, superheroes etc.) and collect candy, and try to eat it all in one night! However, there are children who are hospitalized and they are not able to take part in this candy eating festivity…
At the hospital where I am currently finishing up my practicum, the Child Life team takes the entire day of Halloween and plan different activities for the children. For instance, today the children played Halloween bingo in the late morning and then a face painter came to the children’s rooms. Some of the children asked for tractors on their cheeks, some asked for batman wings around their eyes and one patient asked for their ENTIRE face to be painted like Frankenstein! That one was amazing, but he looked pretty creepy! I told him that he was going to scare every nurse that came into the room. The patient then told me that he would probably scare his mom when she came out of the bathroom. I wish I could have stayed to see her reaction; I am sure it was priceless.
Towards the early afternoon, the Child Life team along with a group of volunteers, took the children around the hospital to get treats. All of the children were dressed for the occasion and were very cute going from floor to floor collecting their goodies. I don’t know who was more tired when everything was finished, the children or myself!
While most treats bring smiles of joy, there was one patient who was not all smiles. During all of the elevator riding and stair climbing, one patient was in a procedure while the trick or treating was taking place. He was very upset that he missed the trick or treating, so one of the Child Life Specialist arranged a special trick or treating for this patient and his sibling. The patient and the sibling collected candy from the different stations (peds nurses station, PICU nurses station and even the playroom!). The patient was so excited that this was all for HIM and his sister. I am glad I was able to be a part of something so special.
While the children received most of the candy and prizes, I received an amazing treat today as well. One of the patients who has been at the hospital the same amount of time that I have been a practicum student…is in remission! I am so excited about this I know the patient and their parent were ready to head home. I would be to after spending that many days in a hospital. Over the course of these weeks, I had the opportunity to get to know the patient and her mom really well. While I am sad to see them go, I know that they are getting ready to start a new chapter in their lives. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better treat on Halloween then seeing this patient walk out of the pediatric unit.
Until next time!