Hospitalization can be emotionally challenging for young children and their families, and missing out on traditional childhood activities like trick-or-treating can add to those challenges. To ensure hospitalized children at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach didn’t miss out on this Halloween tradition, hospital employees came together to bring it to life on Friday, Oct. 29.

Dozens of patients, dressed in costumes, trick-or-treated throughout several large decorated conference rooms, stopping at different Halloween-themed booths to collect toys, games and prizes.

Upon entering the conference room, patients were greeted by cosplay characters, Captain America and Captain Carter from Marvel Studios’ What If…?, as well as pet therapy dogs dressed in costume.

This special event is coordinated by the Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program at Miller Children’s & Women’s, whose mission is to help make the hospital experience more positive for children of all ages.

“We do this event, so our patients don’t miss out, because if they weren’t in the hospital, they would be participating in Halloween events at school or in their neighborhood,” says Rita Goshert, director, Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program, Miller Children’s & Women’s. “We make sure to bring that experience into the hospital to help normalize the environment for them.”

But the Child Life Program doesn’t do it alone. Representatives from across the hospital participate to make this day special for children and their families.

“We’re so fortunate to have a hospital full of nurses and employees who have dedicated their careers to caring for children, and understand the importance of special events like this,” says Goshert. “Even if just for a few hours, this helps distract patients from their illness and truly makes a difference in the experience they have in the hospital.”

A young patient at Miller Children’s & Women’s shows off his Incredibles stance during a Halloween event.

Miller Children’s & Women’s pet therapy dog, Dakota, greets a child during a Halloween-themed event at the hospital.

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