Children’s Hospital celebrates Halloween

Children's hospital - Halloween

Patients and staff at the Children’s Hospital University of Illinois dressed in costumes, marched in a parade, decorated pumpkins and more Monday for Halloween. ­(Photo: Jenny Fontaine)

Pediatrics patients carried smiles on their faces and candy bags in their hands Monday as they celebrated Halloween with family and staff at the Children’s Hospital University of Illinois.

“It’s a nice breath of fresh air for the kids,” said Diana Mei, a pharmacy student. She dressed up as Elsa, from the movie “Frozen,” for the hospital’s annual Halloween party, where patients and their families marched in a small Halloween parade, trick-or-treated, decorated pumpkins, sported temporary tattoos and ate pizza and dirt pudding cups.

“I’ve never seen something like this,” she said.

Other members of hospital staff and administration dressed up as “Shark Week,” Disney characters, Pokémon, giraffes, cats and witches — all for a good cause.

“Some of these kids are really sick,” said Lindsay Cousins, child life specialist. Pediatrics offers primary and specialized care for patients from infancy to young adulthood. The department treats common illnesses but also provides care for more serious illnesses or diseases.

Mental health is an important part of a patient’s recovery process, Cousins noted.

“This gives them that normalcy and that sense of fun and excitement while they’re still in the hospital,” she said.

“[The Halloween celebration] helps the patients relax and be creative in the midst of having to do hard things like get their blood drawn, take chemotherapy or get a spinal tap,” added Mary Lou Schmidt, associate professor of pediatrics in the College of Medicine. She stopped by to see her patient Isaac Felix Barron and his mother, Diana Barron. Isaac Barron, who is 2, has received care since September for leukemia.

“They make you feel at home,” Diana Barron said.

Eight-year-old patient Aidan Davenport felt special, too. He’s always trick-or-treated with his brother, and Davenport’s parents drove from their home in Indiana to continue the tradition.

“Today was amazing,” he said.

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