Thursday, November 6, 2014

Halloween in the Hospital

First of all, I commend all Child Life Specialists for surviving yet another Halloween in the Hospital! I had no idea how much work and fun went into planning this holiday! Bravo!

One of the main jobs a Child Life Specialist has is to normalize the hospital experience. It's up to Child Life and and other staff members to make sure that kids don't miss out on a holiday, just because they are in the hospital.

My hospital's pediatric director chose Hogwarts as our theme this year! So the child life specialists got to work decorating the Pediatric floor and the PICU! (Side Note: Kids still love Harry Potter, even if the party store clerk gives you a weird look and tells you it has been discontinued.)

In the morning we gave out brown paper bags that contained foam pumpkins, sticker sheets, glow sticks, glue and markers. We told the kids to decorate them for trick or treating later in the afternoon!

The Staff dressed up as characters from Harry Potter. The Child Life specialists chose to be Owls! I love the way our costumes turned out, even if I do look a bit fluffy! 

For the kid's costumes we were lucky to receive a Disney donation earlier this year with costumes. We dressed up the kids that fit in those. For our teens and babies, we had to make an emergency run to the Dollar Tree to get some fun costumes! Even the usually not so excited 17 year old boys put on their fake tattoo sleeves and participated in our fun! 

In the afternoon all the different departments from around the hospital came to do Reverse Trick or Treating so that even the kids in isolation could participate! A fun twist was that we didn't give out any candy, only toys, crafts and fun! 

Throughout the rest of the day we participated in different Halloween activities with our kids ranging from; pumpkin painting, spooky pedicures for our older girls, reading scary stories in the playroom, board games, glow stick parties and much much more!

At the end of the day my feet hurt, I was covered in glitter, glue and paint, but I had a huge smile on my face and so did the kids!

Some quick tips
  • Some families do not celebrate Halloween, so be sure to speak with parents first. 
  • Ask children's parents if they already have a costume (you might not have their favorite costume).
  • Ask if they have any Halloween traditions. Can you recreate any in the hospital setting? 
  • Teens want to play too, even if they say "no" on every other day of the year, make sure they are included. 
  • Start decorating EARLY, that way you aren't doing everything last minute, it was so nice to leave early the night before Halloween knowing everything was ready to go! 
  • Any kids particularly down in the dumps about missing Halloween? Decorate their room, blast the monster mash, play some Halloween movies, and get them a pumpkin to paint or carve!  
What about you? What did your hospital do this year? What did you dress up as? We want to know!!