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Spirit of Children – Spirit Halloween Makes a Generous Donation of $11.7 Million to Shriners Children’s System

staff members, shriners and female patient during check presentation

Patient Farah accepts the Spirit of Children donation check with Chairman of the Board Chris Ritchey, and staff, at Shriners Children's Philadelphia.

Even though Halloween seems so long ago, the efforts of Spirit Halloween’s charitable giving program, Spirit of Children, are felt year-round thanks to their generous donations. Over the last 17 years, Spirit of Children has raised funds to support the child life departments in over 14 Shriners Children’s locations.

In addition to raising funds, the Spirit of Children program hosts Halloween parties every October at many locations within the Shriners Children’s system. Spirit Halloween and its partners supply costumes, decorations and craft projects for patients at the hospital to enjoy and find a moment of fun during an unsettling time. The party is a day that allows the patients to find a reprieve from hospital life and experience Halloween at its finest.

"It has been great to build our relationship, which continues to grow each year. Our children are lucky to have such a wonderful experience through the Spirit of Children campaign," said Terry Diamond, senior director of philanthropy.

Shriners Children's Philadelphia

This year, Shriners Children's Philadelphia received a donation of $56,276, which helps child life staff acquire the best tools, education and training needed. As in years previous, several patients and their families were able to receive Halloween costumes and celebrate together at the hospital. It is a great relationship and season that everyone at Shriners Children’s looks forward to.

female patient and female staff member at party

A Spirit of Children volunteer helps a patient paint a mask at the annual Halloween party at Shriners Children's Chicago.

Shriners Children's Greenville

Each year, the Shriners Children’s Greenville child life department looks forward to the generous Spirit of Children donation, which helps fund enriching and entertaining activities for patients diagnosed with over 85 different orthopedic conditions. This year, over $72,000 will go toward the patient entertainment fund, which makes memorable and motivational special events and patient celebrations possible, as well as provides supplies for arts & crafts, games and more.

patients, staff members and dogs during check presentation

Patients and staff gather to accept their Spirit of Children donation check on behalf of Shriners Children's Greenville.

Shriners Children’s Erie

Spirit of Children is an amazing program that allows Shriners Children’s Erie to further provide for their patients and help them to have a positive medical experience. Not only does Spirit of Children fundraise to support the child life program, but they also provide high-quality costumes for the patients and decorations for trunk or treat. Spirit of Children participates in trunk or treat by decorating trunks and providing treat bags.

three patients wearing costumes

A patient enjoys dressing up as Colonel Sanders at Shriners Children's Erie annual trunk or treat event.

Shriners Children’s Twin Cities

Thanks to the generous support from Spirit of Children, Shriners Children’s Twin Cities’ child life department has been able to provide camps, activities and events for their patients each year. In 2023 alone, they hosted 15 camps, ranging from acting camp for kids of any diagnosis to day camp for kids with limb differences. When asked why she enjoys camp for kids with limb differences, patient Hollen said, “I really liked camp because you can connect with people really fast ­– we all have something in common.” In addition to camps, child life staff was able to order supplies for crafts and activities for the waiting room, and purchase teaching toys to use during medical appointments.

Patients Express Gratitude to Spirit Halloween

In the video below, watch how much the donations of over $780,000 in 15 years mean to our patients.

Thank You to Spirit of Children

Spirit Halloween's Spirit of Children has supported the Child Life department at Shriners Children's Twin Cities since 2008 and the program has raised over $686,000 for us locally! This amazing donation helps our Child Life department provide complimentary camps for our patients - watch how much that means to our kiddos! Thank you, Spirit of Children and Spirit Halloween for you continued support! About Spirit of Children At the heart of Spirit Halloween is Spirit of Children, a program which focuses on making hospitals less scary for kids and their families. Since 2007 Spirit of Children has raised over $110 million to provide funding for art, music, aquatic and pet therapy programs as well as supporting Child Life salaries. Funding has also helped partner hospitals purchase sensory and educational items, toys used for distraction during medical procedures, and much more. 100% of every dollar donated supports the Child Life department in our 154 partner hospitals across the United States and Canada and supports Child Life departments at hospitals in local communities.
View Transcript

[Title Card] Thank you, Spirit of Children logo

Speaker 1:

Because of your donations, I was able to do Camp Bravo, Camp Achieve, and Downhill skiing, which led to me being on the race team. I also got to meet some new friends. Thank you!

Speaker 2:

Thank you for your donation.

Speaker 3:

So we can come ski with our friends.

Speaker 4:

Because of your donation, I learned how to ski. Thank you.

Chloe Hoffman:

Hi, my name is Chloe Hoffman, and I am 20 years old, and I'm also a left below-the-knee amputee. I had my leg amputated about five years ago of January 2018, and because of Maureen, I have been able to attend many camps that were tailored for amputees.

We've gone skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, dog sledding. We've done a lot, and I've made new connections, new friends, created these relationships, and hung out with people that understand the life of an amputee. They can really relate to you, and it's just so nice having people understand what you go through, and I'm just so forever thankful for Maureen. We've been in contact ever since. I was about 13, 14, 15 years old, I've been a part of Shriners and it's just been wonderful having someone to help find these opportunities and help me just become more confident in myself as an amputee, so I'm just forever grateful for Maureen.

Speaker 6:

Because of your donations, I was able to perform in a musical and have lots of fun.

Speaker 7:

Thank you for your donation so that I can come ski today.

Speaker 8:

Because of your donation, I was able to go skiing for the first time.


Hi, my name is Mariah. I started going to Shriners when I was two years old because I had an amputation of my left leg below the knee from osteosarcoma. I want to thank Shriners so much for what they have done for me because a highlight of my time with Shriners was going to the Camp Achieve.

There I got to be with other kids that I got to see who also wear prosthesis and we got to do fun activities. It was a place where I could just be myself as well as try new things that sometimes it was awkward to do with other kids such as like going to the water park, it's different when you go with a whole bunch of other kids who also wear prosthesis. But was there we also did other activities such as skiing, both Alpine and cross-country. We went fishing and rock climbing, which now, I'm 26, and I've actually gotten into rock climbing and done competitive paraclimbing with the community as well as been able to run and completed two half-marathons. I want to thank Shriners so much for giving me the independence and also the confidence to be able to try these activities and also be able to be around others who had prosthesis and wear prosthesis. So thank you so much for everything you've done.

Speaker 9:

Thank you for donating.

Speaker 10:

Your donation has helped so many people all over the place be able to experience things that they've never been able to experience. Things that they might not have been able to do otherwise, make new friends that they can relate to and all sorts of other good things. Thank you for your donation, and thank you for helping make sure that all of this stuff can continue to happen.

Speaker 11:

Thank you for your donations.

Speaker 12:

Because of your donation, I was able to meet new people and gain many new experiences. Thank you.

Speaker 13:

Thank you for donating.

Speaker 14:

Because of your donation, I have been able to perform at Camp Bravo for as long as I can remember, which has inspired in me a love for theater that I carry with me to this day. I've also been able to go to the Apostle Islands where I've kayaked and made friendships that will last for me for my entire life.

Speaker 15:

But through your donation, I was able to follow my dreams.

Speaker 16:

Thanks to Shriners. I've been a blessed with many opportunities like downhill skiing, water skiing, and Camp Achieve where I met many friends just like me. I've also been able to bike safely with my prosthetic.

Speaker 17:

Thank you, Shriners, for sending me to camp.

Speaker 18:

Because of your donations, I was able to attend camps and activities where I felt that I was not different, and I had a place where I truly belonged.

Speaker 19:

Thank you for the donation because of you could go to the camp.

Speaker 20:

What was your favorite thing about the camp bud?

Speaker 19:

I don't have one.

Speaker 20:

Because you liked it all?

Speaker 19:


Speaker 20:


Speaker 21:

All because of Shriners, I know what it's like to be in Camp Bravo. Thank you.

Speaker 22:

For all of your donations, I've been able to do a lot of stuff like fun stuff like-

Speaker 23:

Rock climbing.

Speaker 22:

Super fun, snow skiing. Yeah, snow skiing, water skiing in the summer. Met one of my friends, Tommy. Yeah, Thank you. Thank you.

Izzy Blanchard:

I am Izzy Blanchard. I'm 20 years old, and thanks to you I have been able to go on summer camps, winter camps since I was about six years old. And these experiences have been life-changing. And when I look back at my experiences with summer camps and with being able go whitewater rafting in Utah and being able to do all these amazing fun adventures. Literally those moments have first off been the most memorable moments of my life, because they have allowed me to grow and change into just grow into this person that I am today and be confident in who I am and be able to speak my truth and just be rooted and grounded in myself.

And to also know that throughout all of that self-growth that I've learned just literally because of going on these camps, I've been able to do that because I've been able to connect with other people who are just like me and being able to create and establish this little community of people and to know that I am not alone and they are not alone, and that we are actually all in this together and we will always have each other's backs.

And that is priceless. The connections that I've made with people because of these camps and because of being able to go on these things. I mean, I wouldn't change it for the world because it means so so much to me like a million times over, I couldn't even explain it or describe how intense that those feelings are because it, truly, being able to do this is life changing.

It makes everything easier and better in life, and I just... Thank you for doing everything that you do, and for allowing other people like me to be able to meet each other because it means the world. And I am so grateful and I'm so thankful that I've been able to experience all the things that I've been able to experience and meet the people that I met and they're all still in my life and that is so valuable to me. So just from all of my heart, thank you so much. I wouldn't be the person who I am today without you and without being able to do these things and I love it. Thank you so much.

[Title Card] Thank you! Spirit of Children logo, Shriners Children’s Twin Cities logo.

Spirit of Children Donations 2009-2022

1/12/2022 $105,303.33

1/15/2021 $75,866

1/6/2020 $67,395

1/22/2019 $69,845

1/11/2018 $43,707

1/19/2017 $40,997

1/27/2016 $49,055

1/28/2015 $31,660

1/3/2014 $32,430

1/28/2013 $23,780

1/13/2012 $27,900

12/30/2010 $11,805

12/31/2009 $7,635

1/26/2009 $5,703

Total $592,081.33

Shriners Children’s Chicago

In Chicago, Spirit of Children allows certified child life specialists the flexibility and opportunity to plan custom events and moments for patients. Whether that is a princess party for a group of younger children, or arranging a special T-shirt day to celebrate an older patient’s milestone, Spirit of Children’s $159,671 donation goes a long way. In addition to the Halloween Extravaganza hosted with Spirit of Children, Shriners Children’s Chicago also uses part of the donation to host an annual trunk or treat event.

female patient and female provider wearing costumes

Patient Starlit enjoys time with physical therapist Michelle at Shriners Children's Chicago's Halloween Extravaganza event.

Shriners Children’s Ohio

Child life at Shriners Children’s Ohio is committed to making holidays special and memorable for their patients. The costumes and party supplies from Spirit Halloween let the patients tap into their imaginations and dress up while collecting treats and toys from staff in a special, not-too-spooky trick-or-treat parade. Beyond Halloween, Spirit of Children’s $49,338 monetary donation helps to enrich the child life program year-round in supporting the psychosocial and developmental needs of Shriners Children’s patients.

female patient in costume

Patient and Princess, Babiana, dressed up in a Spirit Halloween donated costume at Shriners Children's Ohio

Shriners Children’s Southern California

In Southern California, Spirit of Children makes a big difference in the lives of young patients battling serious illness, not only during Halloween, but year-round. “Spirit of Children is one of our biggest supporters,” said Natalie Chicas, child life specialist at Shriners Children’s Southern California. “This year’s donation of $61,556 will be used to buy materials that are needed for the patients, whether it’s distraction items or educational items.”

check presentation with staff members and family wearing costumes

At Shriners Children's Southern California, staff and a Shriner gather together to accept their Spirit of Children donation check (left); a patient and his family pose for a picture in their Spirit Halloween donated costumes (right).

Shriners Children’s Spokane

One hundred percent of local Spirit of Children donations stay in the Spokane community and support the Shriners Children’s Spokane child life program. In 2023, the community raised nearly $97,000. Some of the child life needs that were met in part to this generous donation include virtual reality to distract children and help them cope with painful medical procedures; a 3D printer; educational and sensory tools; hospital room entertainment systems; and a teen room and formal dance for teenage patients.

large group celebration outside

Fezzy joins staff and patients for a photo at a Shriners Children's Spokane Halloween event.

Shriners Children’s St. Louis

Shriners Children’s St. Louis is overwhelmed by the generosity and continued support of their partners at Spirit of Children. Last year’s donation funded the creation of a video that teaches families of patients distraction techniques to use at home. Child life therapy specialists utilize these tactics at Shriners Children’s, but they know much of a child’s recovery happens outside the four walls of the hospital. “Our goal is to arm patients and families with the tools they need to achieve their long-term orthopedic goals,” said Laura Teague, Shriners Children’s St. Louis senior recreational therapist.

Distraction techniques are key to supporting children through orthopedic treatment plans and recovery. Thanks to generous donations from Spirit of Children, Shriners Children's St. Louis produced this how-to video for patients, parents and caregivers – to hopefully make at-home care just a little more manageable.

Supporting Your Child Through Recovery - Distraction Techniques

Recovery at home takes dedication on the part of patients and parents. Distraction can help families navigate weight bearing, stretching, medical procedures, etc. Make a plan with your child and make a list for preferred distraction tools or techniques. This is a great way to empower and involve your child! Here are some distraction techniques to help the process go smoother. 1. Ages 3-6 years old: -Use activities or toys in which your child has interest, in order to provide distraction. -Examples: bubbles, story books, themed toys, musical instruments, fidget toys, glitter wands 2. Ages 7-12 years old: -As a child develops, interests change and so do the necessary distraction tools. -Examples: video games, tablet, virtual reality goggles, LEGO, slime, puzzles, Simon Says 3. Ages 13-18 years old: -Electronics, stress balls, fidget toys -meditation, deep breathing, guided imagery, heat/cold therapy -cognitive and thinking games Utilize the One Voice Method: Only one speaker at a time helps limit stress, anxiety, role confusion and refrain from creating a chaotic environment. Get active! Find ways to move your body!
View Transcript

Speaker 1:

Hi. Welcome to Shriners Children's St. Louis. I am a child life specialist. Recovery at home takes dedication on part of the family and patient. I would like to share with you some distraction techniques to help the process go smoother.

You can use these techniques during weight-bearing, stretching while in prone position and during medical procedures both at home and at Shriners.

[Title Card] Distraction techniques, three to six years old.

We will start with children who range from ages three to six years old. Helping your child choose a comfortable position can help empower them to work hard. Using activities or toys that your child is interested in is a great way to provide distraction. We suggest toys like bubbles, storybooks and theme toys or using toys that are new to your child. These can include musical instruments, light spinners, fidget toys or glitter wands.

[Title Card] Distraction techniques, seven to twelve years old.

As your child gets older within the seven to 12-year-old age range, interests change and often so do the distraction tools. Successful distraction during weight-bearing, stretching and other medical procedures often happens with video games, a tablet, television, or virtual reality goggles. Other tools that work well in this age group are Lego, slime, puzzles, Play-Doh, Pop-Its, Bop It, Simon Says or other games.

[Title Card] Distraction techniques, thirteen to eighteen years old.

Similar to the previous age group, teenagers who range from 13 to 18 years old can benefit from distraction with the use of electronics. However, other tools that might help distract your teenager are stress balls or fidget toys. This age group can also benefit from meditation, deep breathing, guided imagery, heat and cold therapies, aroma therapy and music.

[Title Card] Cognitive and thinking games or puzzles, Sudoku, word puzzles, card games, board games, reading books, I Spy books.

Cognitive and thinking games or puzzles such as Sudoku, word puzzles, card games, board games, reading books or looking at I Spy books are also wonderful distraction tools for this age group. These techniques help redirect and distract the brain.

[Title Card] Make a plan, choose different distraction techniques, gather supplies ahead of time, choose activities to encourage movement, get active.

Make a plan together with your child that includes a list of preferred distraction tools or techniques. This is a great way to empower and involve your child. Gather all necessary supplies ahead of time. Your child can also make a list of distraction activities that encourage weight-bearing and movement, like swimming, walking on an indoor or outdoor track, walk through a store, neighborhood, park or recreation area. Staying active and moving your body will help your child in the short and long-term. Physical contact sports are not recommended.

[One voice, one speaker versus multiple competing voices, helps with stress, anxiety, role confusion, and refrains from creating a chaotic environment, simply say, “one voice” to prompt a pause.

We recommend practicing the One Voice method during stretching and medical procedures. One Voice is when only one person is speaking at a time versus multiple people competing to have their voice heard at the same time. This will help eliminate unnecessary stress, anxiety, role confusion and refrain from creating a chaotic environment. If it becomes too loud with several people talking at the same time, simply say, "one voice" to prompt everyone to pause.

Thank you for taking the time to watch this video. And please remember, Shriners is here to help support you through this journey.

[Title Card] Make a donation to a powerful cause and show your support #spiritofchildren, spirit of children logo.

[Title Card] Over $110 million raised to date, over $17 million in 2022 alone!

We would also like to thank Spirit Halloween for supporting the presence of child life specialists and recreational therapists in our pediatric setting. Their outstanding generosity also made this video possible for our patients and families.

[Title Card] Every time you hear the cowbell ring, a donation is being made to your local partner hospital.

The healthcare network is so grateful for all the donations provided by Spirit of Children. They surely bring joy and smiles to young patients far beyond the Halloween season.

About Spirit of Children

At the heart of Spirit Halloween is Spirit of Children, a program that focuses on making hospitals less scary for kids and their families. Since fundraising began in 2007, Spirit of Children has raised more than $127 million for the child life departments at hospitals across the United States and Canada. Donations to Spirit of Children stay within local communities, with 100% of funds going toward support for child life. For the 2024 Halloween season, Spirit of Children will be supporting 159 pediatric hospitals across North America, with a goal to raise $18 million. Spirit Halloween encourages customers to help make a difference in a child's life this Halloween season by donating at their local Spirit Halloween. For more information, please visit:

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