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NICU babies in Grand Rapids dress up for their first Halloween

The felt creations are handmade by Child and Family Life specialist Gay Sexton and her mother.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As Halloween inches closer and closer, kids around the country are picking out and trying on their favorite costumes. It’s no different at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital where the tiniest of patients are getting their first sweet taste of Halloween.

This year, the little ones are showcasing a wide variety of costumes, from cheeseburgers and fries to mermaids and superheroes. The felt creations are handmade by Child and Family Life specialist Gay Sexton and her mother. The duo makes costumes in all colors, shapes and sizes so that every sweet baby has the perfect outfit.

“This event is so much fun for parents,” said Theresa Hartl, Child Life specialist at the hospital. “The normalization is so important for bonding with their baby. This may seem just like a lot of fun, but it’s very purposeful as well.”

The kiddos include Charlie Mazzotta, a baby born in early August who is medically complex. He dressed up as spaghetti and meatballs and is described as having “a full head of hair and a big personality for being such a little guy.”

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

Another patient, week-old Grace Kueppers, transformed into a butterfly for her first, and maybe last, Halloween. Grace wasn’t expected to make it past birth. Her mom, Kelsey, said she will soon be going home on hospice and palliative care.

“We are hoping she will make it to Thanksgiving and Christmas, but this may be her only Halloween,” Kelsey said. “Her 2-year-old brother, Brayden, is really excited to meet her. We have already gotten more time than we had thought with her. Every day is a gift.”

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

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