NICU babies in Grand Rapids dress up for their first Halloween

The felt creations are handcrafted by Gay Sexton, a specialist in child and family life, and her mother.

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – As Halloween approaches, kids across the country pick and try on their favorite costumes. It’s no different at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, where the youngest patients get their first sweet taste of Halloween.

This year the little ones present a wide variety of costumes, from cheeseburgers and fries to mermaids and superheroes. The felt creations are handcrafted by Gay Sexton, a specialist in child and family life, and her mother. The duo make costumes in all colors, shapes and sizes so that every cute baby has the perfect outfit.

“This event is so much fun for the parents,” says Theresa Hartl, a specialist in children’s life in the hospital. “Normalization is so important in bonding with your baby. That may seem very funny, but it’s also very targeted. “

One of the children is Charlie Mazzotta, a baby born in early August who is medically complicated. He disguised himself as spaghetti and meatballs and is described as “a full head of hair and a big personality for being such a little guy”.

Charlie’s mom Kelly says the pasta dish costume is perfect because her husband is 100% Italian.

Another patient, one week old Grace Kueppers, turned into a butterfly for her first and perhaps last Halloween. Grace wasn’t expected to make it past childbirth. Her mother Kelsey said she would soon be going home to hospice and palliative care.

“We hope she can make it through Thanksgiving and Christmas, but this may be her only Halloween,” Kelsey said. “Your two year old brother Brayden is very happy to meet you. We already got more time with her than we thought. Every day is a gift.”

The hospital has many other little patients, all dressed up and ready for their first Halloween experience. You can see more of their stories here.

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