Halloween didn’t skip a beat at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, where patients, family and staff celebrated the holiday during the hospital’s annual parade.
Kids in costume giggled their way through the hospital halls, trick-or-treated at candy stations, watched a magician performing magic tricks, and snapped pictures with the Laker Girls. A variety of departments across UCLA Health pitched in to assemble the candy stations.
Spirit Halloween donated costumes to pediatric patients, like 9-year-old Austin, whose costume came together just in the nick of time.
Weeks ago, Austin decided to dress up as a character from the video game Fortnite, which he loves. But everywhere Austin and his family went looking for the costume, it was sold-out. The Spirit Halloween team jumped into action and spent weeks searching for the elusive costume at different stores. After a long search, the team found one and had it overnight-shipped. A Spirit Halloween representative then came to the hospital and delivered the costume to Austin, who was delighted to get it just in time for the hospital parties.
The Chase Child Life Program organized the Halloween celebration at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, ensuring that all children in the hospital who wanted to could experience some Halloween fun. The hospital’s music therapy team serenaded the patients during the festivities.
Megan Pike, a child life specialist at the hospital, constructed a “robot” mounted with an iPad so that children unable to leave their hospital beds for medical reasons could participate. A team of volunteers at the hospital steered the robot — named TreatBot 2.0 — to candy stations while pediatric patients in their rooms video conferenced to the robot’s iPad.
Tania, a 10-year-old patient, who dressed in a pink princess outfit, was thrilled to virtually trick-or-treat even though she couldn’t join the parade in-person.
“All our patients light up when they get to dress up and trick-or-treat on Halloween,” said Kelli Carroll, director of the Chase Child Life Program. “During the holidays, our Child Life team works hard to bring the festivities into the hospital. We’re here to make sure kids in the hospital get to experience the joys of childhood.”
Due to the fires and evacuations in portions of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, UCLA Health has closed clinics in Westlake Village, Malibu and Thousand Oaks. Other clinics and our medical centers remain open.