For many, dressing up their little pumpkin as a pumpkin (or chicken, unicorn, or fire truck) is a new-parent rite of passage. But for parents with premature babies in the NICU, first Halloween — as well as many other firsts — are put on hold. That’s why one nurse, Tara Fankhauser, stepped in at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. For the fourth year in a row, she’s crocheted one-of-a-kind Halloween costumes for the babies currently in the NIUC.
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A public relations spokesperson for Children’s Healthcare told Romper that Fankhauser, a mom of three, already crocheted for friends and family and started the tradition four years ago at someone’s suggestion. Her sweet creations first went viral two years ago. This year, a few costumes were also inspired by the babies themselves. In the Facebook post, we learn that the Rocky Balboa-inspired costume was for baby Kobe who was nicknamed “Champ” by his dad. Another baby dressed as Dumbo is dubbed “a peanut of a fighter.” Each family will also take home the costumes as a keepsake for their baby’s first Halloween.
“Tara’s goal is to give these parents a sense of normalcy while their child is in the hospital,” the spokesperson told Romper.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is a nationally-recognized children’s healthcare network as well as a teaching hospital. They admit and treat over 1,000 preemies annually. While there are five cute babies pictured, it’s just a sliver of the total number of babies who got costumes. To get everything done, she starts crotcheting in the spring, according to Fox 5 Atlanta. The spokesperson also says that many parents weren’t even aware who donated the costumes, saying they just find them by their bassinets with a picture. She referred to Fankhauser as a sort of “spooky Santa.” Hey, maybe that can be a new Halloween tradition — who can you be a spooky Santa for this year?
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