Spending Halloween in the Hospital

How to Help Pediatric Cancer Patients Enjoy the Holiday

Halloween is such an important holiday for many kids. But during cancer treatment, extended hospital stays or unpleasant side effects could hinder the trick-or-treating tradition. However, with a little planning and preparation you can still enjoy the day.

If your child is spending Halloween in the hospital, follow these tips to bring the festivities indoors and ensure a safe and healthy Halloween.


During treatment, your child may have some nutritional restrictions. But there are several healthy ways to celebrate the season. Check out some of the festive and healthy Halloween treats on Roswell Park’s Pinterest board, Healthy Holidays, or contact the Nutrition Department for guidelines and precautions.


Decorating the hospital room is an easy way to ignite the Halloween spirit. Cover the door in Halloween themed paper, or string black and orange paper chains from the walls. Have friends and family write inspirational messages on the links of the chain to bring a little piece of home to the hospital.


Painting pumpkins is a festive and fun way to incorporate the healing power of art. Stock up on glitter glue, spooky stickers and colorful paint supplies to create whimsical or spooky jack-o-lanterns. Utilizing candy as art is a great way to still include sweets into the Halloween tradition. Skittles, gumdrops and jelly beans make color pallets for projects. Glue them to string for a candy necklace or arrange them into Halloween shapes on black construction paper.


Skin sensitivity, mobility limitations and sensory issues might be side effects of treatment. If your child is experiencing any of these issues but still wants to dress up, skip the masks, makeup and itchy costumes and opt for easy and comfortable solutions. A soft cape or draped blanket and a wand can translate to so many fun ideas!


If your child is spending Halloween at Roswell Park, The Pediatric team offers a trick-or-treating experience by taking the children to various units within the hospital to collect treats. Contact the Department of Pediatrics to learn more.