Halloween comes to University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Ho - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Halloween comes to University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital

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A new Halloween tradition has started for the youngest of patients who may not be able to trick-or-treat this year.

On Tuesday, the first "Trunk or Treat" event was held at the University of Iowa's Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City. It gave pediatric patients a chance to dress up and snag some candy without having to leave the hospital.

This is the first Halloween for the new children's hospital. In the past, kids could walk throughout the hospital to the different departments to trick-or-treat, but child life specialists said that was often too exhausting for them and the new event is a much better option.

On the ground floor of the hospital, themed booths were on display for kids.  They could get treats and toys and have a place to do fun activities, like coloring. Booths were set up by nurses from the different floors of the hospital, such as the cancer unit, which went with a Hawaiian theme. The engineering department took the "superhero" theme to the next level with their Batman booth by building a bat cave.

Mackenzie Kraus, a Child Life Specialist with the hospital, said the event is all about keeping the kids feeling like kids.

"Just the normalcy. Kids go trick-or-treating every year, you know, when they're able to and so this gets them to still get to do it when they're in the hospital, as well as gets them out of their rooms so they get to have fun," Kraus said.

The hospital gets donated costumes to ensure that no child misses out on the Halloween fun. 

Nickelle Stevens is at the hospital for her five year-old-son, Keaton, who just underwent his second surgery on Friday after being diagnosed with a rare tumor in his spinal cord. Stevens said events like this help wonders with recovery and morale. 

"This gets him back to feeling better. He may be in pain all day, but if child life or someone from the hospital stops by says, 'we're going to have game night at seven,' he perks right up and goes.  So, that gets him on his road to recovery a lot faster," Stevens said.

Because families have to spend a lot of time at the hospital, siblings of patients also took part in the Halloween fun.

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