NEWS | February 5, 2021

Spirit Halloween breaks record, raises $101,694 for hospitalized children despite pandemic

Retailer delivers again with its ‘Spirit of Children’ program, providing needed funding for the emotional support of pediatric patients and families


COVID-19 has impacted children’s hospitals everywhere. UC Davis Children’s Hospital is no exception. Some donations did decline in 2020, but Spirit Halloween’sSpirit of Children’ program was a welcome exception. The retailer donated a record-setting $101,694 to the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy department, which provides emotional support for pediatric patients and families and is dependent on donations.

Spirit Halloween employees and Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy staff celebrate Spirit of Children’s record-setting donation Spirit Halloween employees and Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy staff celebrate Spirit of Children’s record-setting donation

Thanks to the record donation, the Child Life Fellowship continues to thrive and expand, giving more pediatric patients, siblings, parents and caretakers access to tools and programs that help minimize anxiety, strengthen understanding of hospitalization and bolster coping skills.

“I am continuously in awe of the Spirit Halloween team’s dedication and support to always raise the bar! This year is a perfect example. Despite COVID-19 and limitations on shopping, local stores raised a record-setting $101,694! It’s unbelievable and will make a huge difference to our department, the patients, the fellowship program and upcoming child life professionals,” said Diana Sundberg, UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy manager.

Annual donations from Spirit Halloween’s Spirit of Children foundation fund this program which provides additional training and supervision for individuals aspiring to be certified child life specialists. The UC Davis Child Life Fellowship program has provided nearly 20 six-month child life fellowships over the past 11 years.

After their training, fellows are often hired by the department. Donations from Spirit of Children have enabled the department to expand career staffing to the children’s surgery centerpediatric infusion center and pediatric radiology

“There are now two full-time child life specialists at the Children’s Surgery Center and we both were part of the fellowship program,” said Child Life Specialist, Jamie McHugh. “We are so grateful for all Spirit has done for us.”

The previous three years, Spirit of Children donations have also helped fund a student educator. This better positioned the child life student education program to apply for and receive an Association for Child Life Professional Internship Accreditation. UC Davis Children’s Hospital was the first hospital in Northern California to receive this accreditation and the third in the state.

“Spirit Halloween’s support over the years has allowed us to continue to expand services to support sick and injured children through life-altering events,” Sundberg said. “Thanks to Spirit Halloween and Spirit of Children, we can offer the highest quality services to pediatric patients and their families at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.”

The specialty retail store has donated more than $600,000 to UC Davis Children’s Hospital during the past decade, with every cent going toward the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy department.

About Spirit Halloween

Spirit Halloween is the largest Halloween specialty retailer in the country with over 1,300 locations in strip centers and malls across North America. Celebrating almost 40 years in business, Spirit is the premier destination for all things Halloween, offering one-stop shopping for everything from costumes and décor, party goods to accessories. In addition to being a fun and interactive event for shoppers, Spirit stores offer complete selections of costumes and accessories for infants/toddlers, children, ‘tweens, teens and adults, along with exclusive décor you won’t find anywhere else.

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 its inception in 2007, Spirit of Children has raised more than $77 million for Child Life departments at hospitals across the country. Donations to Spirit of Children stay within local communities, with 100 percent of funds going toward a child’s life. Spirit encourages customers to help make a difference in a child’s life this Halloween season by donating at their local Spirit Halloween or spreading awareness via Facebook and Instagram using #SpiritofChildren.

UC Davis Children's Hospital is the Sacramento region's only nationally ranked, comprehensive hospital providing care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults with primary, subspecialty and critical care. It includes the Central Valley's only pediatric emergency department and level I pediatric trauma center, which offers the highest level of care for its critically ill patients, as well as a level I children’s surgery center. The 129-bed children's hospital includes the state-of-the-art 49-bed neonatal and 24-bed pediatric intensive care and pediatric cardiac intensive care units. For more information, visit