Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff…This year’s Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center Halloween Party was oozing with Harry Potter tricks and treats. The staff (including therapy pup Pushkin) dressed in character, kids made wands and potions and parents mingled amidst magical Harry Potter banners. There was even a quiz about the four houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
“There is a new spin year to year,” said Kindra Matthews, the Berrie Center’s Pediatric Coordinator and this year’s party planner extraordinaire. “But it’s always the greatest event to behold because the kids are over the moon with happiness. There’s nothing better than watching kids with diabetes having a great-old-time on Halloween.”
In its 18th year, the Berrie Center’s Halloween party is usually held the day after Halloween, so kids can come to drop off their excess candy and select a toy of his or her choice 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.
There was pizza, cookies, fruits and veggies, among other fabulous food fare. “Halloween is often a challenging time for kids with diabetes,” said Natasha Leibel, MD, who heads the pediatric endocrinology program at the Berrie Center. “Although they can enjoy candy just like any other kid, kids with diabetes have to count carbs and cover those carbs with insulin. When you have diabetes, a lot of planning, managing and balancing go into everything you eat. Halloween is no different.”
This year, the toys came from Mary Arnold Toy Store and were selected and paid for by 13-year-old Noah Bloomstein with gifts from his Bar Mitzvah. In addition to the Bloomstein family, the Alfano family helped to underwrite the party as well as other friends and families of the Berrie Center. Hats off to art therapist Cara Lampron, who created an entire wishing wall where kids had an opportunity to write down their hopes and dreams on a leaf.
Enjoy the 2017 Berrie Center Halloween party in pictures!