Halloween Pumpkin Babies

Want to bring a great big smile to a new parent’s face? A newborn can’t join the older kids for Trick ‘n Treat, but he or she can still celebrate Halloween. All that’s needed is a costume.

In Monroeville, PA, the nurses and other staff members of Forbes Hospital really know how to get into the spirit of Halloween. When parents, friends or relatives arrive to admire the newest member of the family, they discover a nursery filled with rows of precious little pumpkins. Each tiny newborn has been lovingly dressed in little orange “pumpkin” pants and a knitted orange cap.

Parents of babies in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) are stressed as they wait endless days or weeks to be able to take their little ones home. Dorothy Williams, a volunteer at the NICU in California’s Cedars-Sinai’s Maxine Dunitz Children’s Health Center, understands how important small gestures can be.

Forty years ago, Ms. Dorothy was the mother of premature twins. On Valentine’s Day, she was touched by the gesture of a kind nurse. When she arrived to spend time with her tiny twins, she discovered a small heart waiting for her on the incubator reading, “Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you Mom.”

She decided to pay it forward and began volunteering in the NICU, supporting the families of the babies. She began by making holiday-themed beanies. Twenty years ago, she was inspired to create full Halloween costumes for the infants, an immediate hit with everyone. Over time, hospital staff members and friends of Ms. Dorothy pitched in to help. With so many costumes to make, they begin weeks before Halloween.

This year, she was joined by her 13-year-old granddaughter and friend, who are making costumes based on characters in children’s books. The babies’ families also receive a copy of the book. The thoughtfulness of Ms. Dorothy and her helpers will always be remembered by amused and grateful parents.

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