HARTFORD, Conn. — No tricks and all treats – that’s the thinking at Connecticut Children’s where, each year, the hospital staff makes sure the patients get to enjoy Halloween.
Officially, they call it “Reverse Trick or Treating.” It is when hospital staffers dress up in their Halloween best and bring toys – not candy – to patients on every floor of the hospital.
The patients also partake in the Halloween festivities – they either come up with their own costumes or the hospital team gives them one of many they can choose from. Spirit Halloween donates numerous costumes to the hospital for the kids.
Jen Sweitzer, a child life specialist at Connecticut Children’s, was dressed as a peacock on Monday and more than proud to take part in the Halloween festivities.
“The hospital will never be a normal experience, but we try to bring in these holidays to normalize it as best as possible because we know it’s hard to be here and if we can do this and bring a little bit of sunshine it just makes the day great,” she said.
The Reverse Trick or Treating is a tradition that dates back close to two decades, according to hospital veterans at Connecticut Children’s. Child life specialist Stacy Robillard donned her Hot Fudge Sundae costume and, as the "Reverse Trick or Treat" organizer, she called the shots for this year’s event.
“Just seeing how excited the kids get, some get excited to see the costumes, some are excited to get the toys but just having that moment of forgetting that they’re in the hospital for a few minutes and getting some normal childhood experiences,” Robillard said.
Sweitzer added: “I know we put our heart into it and then we know they (the patients) put their heart into it -- it’s just an all-around great day.”
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