LIHU‘E — For the first time in two years, Wilcox and Kaua‘i Medical Centers returned the 16th annual Keiki Halloween Parade to an in-person format on Monday.
Hundreds of keiki and their families popped up a few minutes before the noon bewitching hour at the special tent set up in the Wilcox Medical Center parking lot, where it offered the cooling breezes to the costumed ghouls, monsters, storybook characters, and even a chicken that brought up the rear.
“I’m not judging, this year,” said Jen Chahanovich, the president and CEO of Wilcox Medical Center, and CEO of Kaua‘i Medical Clinic. “Our judges are all doctors, this year. Our Halloween Keiki Parade is a tradition for Kaua‘i families, and our Wilcox ‘ohana every year. We always look forward to seeing the creative costumes keiki come in, and our physicians and medical staff get into the spirit, too. This event is a chance to us to offer families of young children a safe, healthy space to celebrate the holiday.”
Trick or treaters and their parents trooped past a participant, who was pressed into service as a silent greeter to accept their treats (no tricks) from costumed staff and family from the different departments.
“It’s amazing that Wilcox has been able to bring the community together for an event like this,” said Erika Noel, a pediatrician at Kaua‘i Medical Clinic who filled one of the judges’ seat. “We get to see really cute kids having fun in a safe way on Halloween. It’s great! Group costumes have been popular this year. There was a Harry Potter family, a zoo safari family, there were a few Encanto groups.”
Judges for the costumed parade included Dr. Robert Wotring, section chief of pediatrics at Kaua‘i Medical Clinic, who scrambled for left-over Kit Kats in his orange Wilcox Health bag, Dr. Geri Young, the Kaua‘i medical director for Hawai‘i Pacific Health Medical Group, and Noel.
“It’s been way too long since we had this, and I think the kids and their families were really happy to do this,” Dr. Young said. “It’s an impossible job to vote for a winner.”
In addition to the keiki being judged for costuming, participants waiting to enter the tent, or leaving with bags full of treats, were invited to vote for the Employee Pumpkin Carving Contest.
“It’s melting,” said a member of the Physical Therapy Department, who came to claim the prize-winning Candy Corn Puffer Fish. “It’s too hot. The candy corn is melting. I even drilled holes next to the corn so the light from the candle would come through and really make the white of the corn shine.”
Runner-up in the pumpkin carving belonged to the Light Pink Ice Cream Cone.
Judging for the Employee Costume Contest resulted in a tie between the Harry Potter group and The Wilcox Zoo group, who were passing out free Kaua‘i grown pumpkins and pumpkin carving kits from the Hawai‘i Crop Improvement Association.
Winners of the Keiki Costume Contest earned prizes that included a balance bike and other goodies. But the heat chased them away before photos could be taken of the first prize winner, Peter Pan, the second prize going to the Zookeepers, and the third place award announced as Napoleon Dynamite and Pedro.
“It’s fun to have all the kids here out in the open, having fun and being kids again,” Wotring said.
Source: The Garden Island