Frankenstein and his bride attended—and brought vampires, and werewolves and mummies. This year the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center’s much anticipated Halloween Party was a monster mash—and it was another smash hit for the nearly100 pediatric patients and their families who stopped by for more tricks and treats. In its 19th year, the Berrie Center’s Halloween party, usually held the day after Halloween, is also a candy exchange so kids can come to drop off their excess candy and select a toy instead. So successful is this concept of swapping candy for toys, that the party has become a model for similar programs throughout the country for kids with type 1 diabetes (T1D).
“There’s nothing better than watching kids with diabetes having a great-old-time on Halloween,” said Kindra Matthews, the Pediatric Coordinator at the Berrie Center who along with Cara Lampron, the art therapy facilitator at the Center, planned this year’s party. “Halloween can be a tricky time for our young patients and their families, but our party turns the holiday from a stressful time into one that can be celebrated,” added Co-director Robin Goland, MD, the J. Merrill Eastman Professor of Clinical Diabetes. “Every year parents come up to me and remark on how much the event means to their families, and this year was no exception.”
There was fabulous food as well as face-painting, arts and crafts, and even a tattoo station. The monster mash also featured games (like pin the insulin pump on Dracula) and activities including the slime laboratory where kids could make “Frankenslime” by adding tiny plastic body parts to the slippery concoction.
A special thanks to 11-year-old Jake Halperin, from Upper Saddle River, NJ, who essentially ran his own drive to keep the party’s exchange flowing with toys--working off a wish list put together by his family. Jake, who has had T1D since he was 6-years-old and came dressed as a test-strip, said of his contribution to Halloween, “This helps kids directly. It’s not like waiting to find a cure that might take years. This makes kids with diabetes feel happy right away.”
Thanks are also in order to the Alfano family who helped to underwrite the party.