St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital patients parade through halls to trick or treat

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Patients at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital got a dose of normalcy on Thursday as they got to experience Halloween.

Kids paraded through the halls of the hospital in their Halloween best as hospital employees gave out treats.

Hadley Trull, the Clinical Supervisor of the Child Life team, told 8 On Your Side the hospital holds the Halloween parade every year for their patients.

“Kids love Halloween regardless of whether they’re in the hospital or whether they’re at home. And so there’s no other thing that we would want to do, we have to normalize the environment here,” she said. “We provide them the opportunity to experience Halloween, complete with costumes, we have a popup costume shop in the morning, then we have a Halloween parade in the afternoon.”

Trull said employees from all departments get to participate, and many go all-in on themed costumes. Departments dressed as characters from “Star Wars,” “Toy Story” and board games delighted the kids.

For those patients who aren’t able to enjoy Halloween candy, other treats are provided like stickers, coloring books and even inflatable lightsabers.

“We’re very mindful of dietary restricts and isolation precautions here. So we have candy and then we have goodies, depending on what their diet is for the day,” Trull explained.

She said kids that aren’t able to leave their room for the parade still get a costume and goodie bags brought to them after the parade in a reverse-style trick or treat.

Little Angelena Feely hasn’t been able to leave her hospital bed because of stomach problems.

Her mom said Halloween was the first time in three days Angelena felt strong enough to walk around.

She called the experience “nothing short of a miracle.”

“They’ve made her feel completely special. This is something I’ve never thought I’d see in a hospital, so it’s been nice,” she said. “I’ve seen her smile more today than I have in a really long time, so it’s nice.”

Trull said parade participants and their parents always leave happy.

“A lot of the feedback we get is, ‘this is so much cooler than trick-or-treating in my neighborhood because I got so much candy and I got it all at once.’ So it’s just a really good experience for them.”

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