Photos by Stephanie Perez.
The Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital transformed into their annual Halloween celebration this morning as pediatric patients paraded with Long Beach firefighters in their trick-or-treating journeys around the hospital.
“It’s a fantastic day for the kids,” said Rita Goshert, clinical operations manager of the children life department at Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Long Beach. “It brings a little normalcy to their lives because if they weren’t here at the hospital, they would be trick-or-treating.”
Patients dressed up in costumes ranging from Tinker Bell to Minions and lady bugs to collect their bags of goodies and even visit a haunted house. Any child could attend the event except those in isolation or too ill to leave their beds. However, firemen were each given a trick-or-treat bag to collect items for those children who didn’t attend, said Goshert.
“It is really nice to meet them [patients], meet their families and connect with them on a more personal level,” said Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) Captain Nick Kalt. “A lot of times we’ll transport kids to the hospital, but it is rare for us to get a follow up to hear how they are doing. For us, it is neat to see the other side, how the medical system works with kids.”
On-duty and off-duty firemen were present to join the pediatric patients. A majority of the time, off-duty firefighters come in on their days off to volunteer and participate in this annual event.
The trick-or-treating event was a collaboration between the children life department, who is in charge of sending out invitations, and various other hospital departments. Through a customized route, patients were able to collect non-edible treats, such as coloring books and toys, since some patients are on special diets, according to Goshert.
“I always say it is the safest trick-or-treating in Long Beach, “ said Goshert.