Each Halloween, patients, families and team members at Maynard Children’s Hospital at ECU Health Medical Center get a chance to break away and enjoy the holiday.
Parade floats from team members and community groups flowed by the Children’s Hospital on Halloween afternoon, giving the children a chance to see some of their favorite characters, like Barbie and Ken, Minions, and floats from Toy Story, Trolls and Encanto. Even the Mystery Machine, a Jeep full of sharks and a pirate ship appeared – all to help make the day a little brighter for the youngest patients at ECU Health Medical Center.
Amanda Jones, a child life specialist at Maynard Children’s Hospital, said there is always a lot of planning that goes into the event, but it’s worth it each year to give the children something to look forward to during the holiday.
“This is a really fun event where they can still celebrate Halloween even while they’re here at the hospital,” Jones said. “It allows kids to be kinds while they’re in the hospital. It’s something that they would normally be doing if they weren’t in the hospital so it kind of brings a little bit of that holiday spirit to the event here.”
For parents, it can also bring a source of comfort. Angela Blanton’s 8-year-old son, Chance, is a patient at the Maynard Children’s Hospital and has a rare condition called Walker-Warburg Syndrome. Blanton said Chance could not be outside for the event, but she still wanted to celebrate Halloween – her son’s favorite holiday – while at the hospital.
She shared photos of past Halloween costume contests he had won and reflected on what this event meant for her. She wore an inflatable chicken costume, worn earlier this month at a Halloween party with her son dressed as Colonel Sanders.
“He would love to be down here, but he can’t be. So I think it’s amazing for the all the children that can be here,” Blanton said. “Seeing them light up, and even me, in this silly costume. Some of the kids wanted to take a picture with me, and I thought that was awesome. To see the smiles from the kids and parents and know how important it is for everyone. Not just the children, but the moms who have been there by the bedside.”
She shared that these events mean a great deal to the patients and families looking for a piece of normalcy in a challenging time.
Patients across the hospital receive goodie bags with art supplies and toys after the event, whether or not they could come. Jones said the event is important for team members
“This is a great event for team members that participate in the parade and for those that come out and watch it,” Jones said. “It’s enjoyable to be able to step away from the bedside and spend time with patients on events like this. I think it’s really uplifting for everyone.”