Halloween party makes hospital less scary for kids

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Hospitals can be scary places for kids, but staff at Children’s Hospital of Michigan tried to brighten their stay this week with Halloween around the corner.

On Thursday, Melissa Warner and her daughter Addison, 6, who is recovering from surgery for a tethered spinal cord, participated in a Halloween celebration with more than 100 children, including the patients and their siblings. The party also featured costumes as part of the 10th Spirit of Children event by retailer Spirit Halloween.

“I’m thrilled,” said Warner, a Port Huron resident. “Just to see the excitement on her face, to see the relief come into play, considering being in a hospital is scary. This is something that wasn’t frightening. It was fun.”

The young patients chose from a variety of costumes, made crafts and received a visit from the Saban Power Rangers and Captain Hook.

Addison picked a silver starlet costume, princess slippers, a wig and gloves. She also painted a mask.

“It was all there,” Warner said.

And the best part of the whole event? “Captain Hook,” Addison said.

The Halloween celebration makes the hospital less scary for children and their families, said Lindsay Heering, director of service excellence for the hospital. The party comes in advance of the hospital’s annual Halloween trick or treat event.

“We do that on a daily basis just having the play rooms and having fun activities for them to do and the socials interaction with their peers,” she said. “Even just uniting the family and getting them outside the room in a more non-threatening environment to interact with their brothers and sisters if they’re coming to visit.

“We want to think beyond the day-to-day normalization, that holidays are extra special for kids, so we want to make sure we celebrate.”

Vendors donated the crafts, accessories and costumes, including princesses and super heroes, said Shelby Doss, district sales manager and event coordinator for Spirit Halloween. Most children know what costume they want when they arrive to the party room, she said.

“They come and we usually ask them what would you like to be this Halloween?” Doss said. “They’ll tell us what they want to be.”

cwilliams@detroitnews.com

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