SickKids shows its Halloween spirit at the annual United Way Costume Contest!
By Tara MacPherson, Communications and Public Affairs Intern
SickKids celebrated its 28th year of fundraising for United Way Greater Toronto with its annual Halloween Costume Contest yesterday! Costumes were worn by staff, patients and family members, with all donations going towards United Way. The costume contest began at noon with an abundance of fun and wacky costumes entertaining the crowds in the Atrium – everything from ninja turtles to light-up unicorns! Several staff members participated with department-sized costumes – Paw Patrol, 80’s Aerobics, and more.
SickKids has always celebrated Halloween as an important day for its patients. Patients can dress up and come down to the Atrium where they can interact with other kids and strut across the stage to show off their costume. Trick-or-treating within units and around the hospital is also a way for patients to see other kids and participate in a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt – filled with fun for patients, staff members, and families!
Raven Longstreet, mother of three-year-old heart transplant patient Annabeth, appreciates the normalcy that celebrating Halloween brings to the patients at SickKids.
“Dressing up and trick-or-treating is the easiest way to get a sense of normalcy for your child while they are in the hospital. Just being able to do things that other kids are doing is what makes me happy,” says Raven.
Annabeth is currently in the Critical Care Unit (CCU) where space is limited.
“It is important for Annabeth to be able to see other people – and that’s what she will be doing while she participates in the scavenger hunt taking place on the unit. There is very little normalcy because of the shared rooms in the CCU, so we try to keep things as fun as possible. And celebrating Halloween at SickKids allows for that,” says Raven.
This is the first year where patients who were not able to leave their rooms were able to participate in the costume contest via video shared on the main stage. For parents like Jensen Mitchel, this is especially important as her one-year-old son, Thomas, is not able to leave his room in the CCU. “Celebrating Halloween at SickKids is fun for both kids and families. It is something normal that we can do and this is Thomas’ first Halloween – so he gets to be two costumes!” says Jensen.
CTV’s Pauline Chan was there to emcee the contest by introducing each individual and group onto the stage. All proceeds raised support hundreds of community programs and agencies that help improve local lives by fighting poverty, and helping youth reach their full potential by building strong and healthy communities.