Spirit Halloween raises money for Fort Worth’s Cook Children’s hospital

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Though not typically known as the holiday of giving back, Spirit Halloween’s Fort Worth location celebrated the holiday by raising money for Cook Children’s hospital.

Spirit Halloween, a seasonal pop-up Halloween store, created the “Spirit of Children” foundation to raise money for partner hospitals nationwide to contribute to the hospitals’ Child Life department. Each of the locations in the Fort Worth area benefit Cook Children’s hospital. 

The Child Life department’s purpose is to allow kids to heal through play, and encourage that kids are not traumatized by their experience through treatments they receive. 

“I say that Child Life is the best-kept secret in the hospital, and it’s also a very critical part of a patient’s and family’s experience in the hospital,” said Richard Tereo, Chair of Spirit of Children. 

One hundred percent of every dollar Spirit of Children collects through the Spirit Halloween stores at the point of check out went to the 151 partner hospitals at the end of each year. Cook Children’s hospital is the partnering hospital in the Fort Worth area that Spirit Halloween stores are raising donations for.

“Because of the donations we receive from the community, we have one of the most premier child life programs across the country,” said Jill Koss, Director of Family Support Services at Cook Children’s hospital. “All the things we are able to do and provide for our patients and families we would not be able to do, at the level we do, if it wasn’t for community support.”

Last year’s Spirit of Children donated close to $120,000 to Cook Children’s Child Life department for a total of $374,335 since 2016. This year, Spirit of Children’s goal was to raise $13.7 million dollars nationwide to donate to all partner hospitals.

“I always say we will do it – there’s no ifs, ands or buts. There’s no, ‘we’re not gonna make it,’” said Tereo. “We’re gonna get that $13.7 million in the bank for the hospitals.”

Jill Koss said that normally there is a huge party in the atrium for Halloween, but this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, kids were able to pick out a costume (donated by Spirit) and participate in “reverse trick-or-treating” where kids stay in their room while Cook Children’s staff comes to their door and passes out candy.

“We are just doing it a little bit differently for the second year in a row, and we’re sure hoping it’s the last year we have to do it like this,” said Koss. “But we still do costumes and they still come from Spirit.”

Koss said that at the end of the day, kids just need to be kids. Spirit of Children and Spirit Halloween stores helped make this a reality for Cook Children’s patients and other children across the country.

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