This Nurse Spends Months Crocheting Halloween Costumes for NICU Patients
"What started out as a hobby has quickly become a hospital tradition that brings joy to our families and staff."
Holidays can be particularly hard for families with children in the NICU, which is why, for the fourth year in a row, a nurse at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta went out of her way to bring Halloween to the hospital's tiniest patients.
Tara Fankhauser—who's also a mom of three—spent months crocheting this year's batch of Halloween costumes.
"Using Pinterest and each baby's unique personality for inspiration, she starts knitting in the spring and keeps going, right up to Halloween—never repeating the same costume twice. Each little costume can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day," Children's Healthcare of Atlanta said in a news release. "What started out as a hobby has quickly become a hospital tradition that brings joy to our families and staff."
The families are always so excited and surprised by the costumes, Alanna Gardner, a public relations coordinator for the hospital, told Romper. The costumes are a gift, and families are able to take them home as keepsakes of their child's first Halloween.
"Most parents do not even know that Tara is behind the costumes," Gardner told Romper. "They often just return to the child's bedside to find the costume there and a sweet photo of their baby in it."
This year, Fankhauser crocheted a Rocky Balboa boxing costume for a baby whose father nicknamed him "Champ." Another baby deemed "a peanut of a fighter" by hospital staff got a Dumbo costume. Fankhauser also crocheted a lion, Plankton from the SpongeBob SquarePants TV series, and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
"Tara's goal is to give these parents a sense of normalcy while their child is in the hospital," Gardner explained. "Parents deserve to laugh and smile and see their kids dressed up for Halloween like everyone else and that's what she aims to deliver on."