Perhaps you’ve approached the task of baby-Halloween-costume shopping/crafting as a new-parent rite of passage. After all, dressing up your little pumpkin as a pumpkin (or chicken, unicorn, or fire truck) for their very first Halloween is a treat in and of itself. But for parents with premature babies in the NICU, that 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 years, Fankhauser crocheted one-of-a-kind Halloween costumes for the babies in the NICU where she worked.
Fankhauser, a mom of three, has apparently been crocheting for friends and family for years and started this particular tradition in 2015. Her sweet creations first went viral in 2017. Then, in 2019, 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 got to take home the costumes as keepsakes 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?
A version of this story was originally published in October 2019.
Thank goodness no one is dressing newborns in these totally inappropriate kids Halloween costumes.