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Friday, April 18, 2014 | Last updated: 9:23pm

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Annual event brings Spirit of Halloween to children at UAMC



Patients at Diamond Children’s at University of Arizona Medical Center got a chance to put together a costume and celebrate Halloween early this year.

Spirit Halloween stores brought Halloween to the patients of units five and six at Diamond Children’s with their Spirit of Children Halloween event on Monday. Everything from a Transformer to a “Kandy Korn” witch was available as a costume.

The event, which was started in 2006, also offered children’s wigs, masks and activities like face painting, pumpkin painting and goodie bags. Spirit Halloween stores host the event at hospitals across the nation.

The event is held annually for kids who cannot be at home for Halloween. The event has helped Spirit Halloween raise nearly $4 million for participating hospitals and it anticipates reaching more than $5 million this year, said Bart Tardiff, district manager of Spirit Halloween stores.

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By Ryan Revock / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Ryan Revock / The Daily Wildcat Emma McCormick, who is 20 months old, paints a pumpkin at the "Spirit of Children" event at the UAMC Diamond Children's on Monday.

Children get to choose, and keep, their costume and can even have their siblings participate with them.

“They love it,” Tardiff said. “It’s so fun to see a kid that’s battling countless procedures and illnesses walk out of here with a smile on their face.”

Jovanna, 13, a patient at Diamond Children’s, chose a clown costume. Her hair was flaming red with a huge bow and her face was painted with neon colors, which she said are her favorite.

This was her first time taking part in the Spirit of Children event. Her favorite part about Halloween, she said, is dressing up.

“I am a clown, naturally,” Jovanna said.

The event is run solely on Spirit Halloween’s budget and donations from the public and grows every year with the help of public support, said Cynthia Rodriguez, one of the store managers of Spirit Halloween in Tucson.

“There is so much positive feedback from parents who are stressed during this time period who want to give their child a Halloween experience but cannot leave,” Rodriguez said. “So we try and take that stress out of their life by doing this.”

- Follow Adriana Espinosa @adri_eee


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