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, the first Halloween — as well as many other firsts — is 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 NICU.
Fankhauser, a mom of three, has apparently been crocheting for friends and family for years and started this particular tradition four years ago. 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.
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, this is just a small fraction of the total number of babies who got costumes. To get everything done, Fankhauser starts crocheting in the spring, according to Fox 5 Atlanta. A spokesperson for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta also told Romper that many parents weren’t even aware who donated the costumes, saying they just found them by their bassinets with a picture. The spokesperson 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?