Out of all the holidays throughout the year, Halloween seems to bring out some of the most intense enthusiasm that the clients and staff at Universal have to offer. Sure, we decorate for other events, and there are many times when we get dressed up too. But Halloween has it all: decorations, costumes, sweet treats, competitions and no shortage of creepies, crawlies, and ghostly ghouls.

We tend to get very festive for this celebration; everyone puts in weeks of effort and planning to go costume shopping for the clients and to brainstorm ideas for spooky activities. This year there were three major parts to the day: the Haunted Hallway, the client costume contest, and the costume contest between departments. When the staff dress up it always makes the day extra special for the clients – and the idea of receiving Cognitive therapy from Cousin It or being stretched on the mat by a sushi chef is a particularly funny thought.

The Seasons of the Speech Department: Winter (Ryan), Spring (Olivia), Summer (Jess), Autumn (Daniela)

The client costume contest – judged by the Enrichment Department – had five categories this year: Cutest, Funniest, Most Creative, Most Original, and Scariest. The parameters for the costume contest between departments, however, were intentionally more ambiguous. The winners from our last competition, the PT department, were in charge of deciding which team had group costumes worthy of the first place title.

Sakinah and Suzie during their job interview for their new roles in the maintenance crew


  • Cutest: Leslie
  • Funniest: Sip
  • Scariest: Alex
  • Most Creative: Molly
  • Most Original: Joanie
The Champions of Halloween! The OT Department dressed up as the cast of SpongeBob SquarePants.

The PT judges were not to be envied – this was a tough competition made up of challengers who hate to lose. Nonetheless, a winner must be chosen and this year the title went to the OT department who arrived as a glorious recreation of the characters from SpongeBob SquarePants. But with appearances from the cast of the Jetsons and the Addams Family, a quick stop for an omakase sushi tasting, a walking Reese’s chocolate bar and two very dedicated painters, we can safely say that everyone was a winner.

Aside from the costume madness, the DDD clients were spoiled with a mid-day haunted hallway. Whatever the clients were scared of, it was there – giant spiders on the ceiling, skeletons hanging from doors, mysterious fog hovering in a pitch-black hallway and floating ghosts. The Enrichment Team displayed some of their finest work with the amount of detail and thought they put into the hallway. Each DDD room was taken out separately to be wheeled or walked slowly down the hallway for a true Halloween experience.

They’re creepy and their kooky…
Mysterious and spooky…

Perhaps we love Halloween so much because it’s the unofficial changing of the guard; after putting forth such a big burst of energy for this October celebration, we know that Thanksgiving and the winter holidays are right around the corner. But for now, we witch you a Happy Halloween so, “eat, drink, and be scary!”

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