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Festival of Fun

Volunteer Voice - Winter 2011

Patients, Supporters Get Into Halloween Spirit

There were princesses and transformers, ladybugs and cowboys wandering the halls of MD Anderson in late October. If any of them jumped out and said “BOO!” we hope it didn’t scare you.

The annual Fall Festival, sponsored by the Department of Volunteer Services, was the source of the fun. But coordinators of the festival report that this was a true collaboration of people and departments from across MD Anderson.

Pediatric patients in the Children’s Cancer Hospital were decked out in funny, silly and sometimes even spooky costumes to get an early start on Halloween trick-or-treating.

Pair of parades

The event began with dual parades, one leaving from the Robin Bush Child and Adolescent Clinic and the other from the Children’s Cancer Hospital inpatient floor. Employees lined the hallways and were ready to fill pumpkins, bags and little hands with sweet treats.

Every variety of candy was passed out to the pedi paraders. Tootsie Roll Pops, Snickers, Milk Duds, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Hot Tamales, M&M’s, Jolly Ranchers, Hershey’s Kisses, Jelly Beans, Skittles, Starburst Fruit Chews — does your stomach hurt yet? This was trick-or-treat paradise.

The parades ended in The Park, which was transformed into a massive carnival. This year, MD Anderson departments and organizations created 46 booths to entertain the revelers.

Those who manned the booths were also in full costume. Child Life specialists appeared as a picnic and Ms. Pac-Man even made the scene. One favorite area was a pumpkin patch, sponsored by McCarthy Building Company Inc., where young goblins selected a pumpkin and decorated it with paint and stickers. The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Network presented a mini-haunted house, complete with spaghetti brains and slimy grape eyeballs.

The Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition sponsored a Lego booth with special miniature Lego giveaways. Other departments offered a laser shot game and booths where patients could take their pick of tossing bean bags, jack-o’-lanterns, footballs or even rats — EEEKKK!

A lollipop tree, face painting, photo booth and go-fishing game were also part of the merriment.

And it wasn’t just fun and games. Pediatric patients and their families took a break from the MD Anderson cafeteria to enjoy hot dogs, nachos, snow cones and slushies — topped off by candy, of course.

Bigger and better

The Fall Festival, one of the largest in recent years, was such a success that organizers may initiate similar events at MD Anderson.

“This went far beyond pediatrics,” says Brandon Floyd, program coordinator for Volunteer Services. “It was a great day for everyone — a real bonding time for the entire institution.”

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center