Los Angeles,
12:17 AM

Happy Halloween from the NICU

Costumes Based on Characters From Famous 'Children's Books Are Hand-Sewn by Cedars-Sinai Volunteers


It’s a Cedars-Sinai tradition: Families of babies being cared for in the Cedars-Sinai Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) have the opportunity to dress their tiny infants in specially made costumes for Halloween. The costumes are all hand-sewn by volunteers, and are inspired by characters from famous children's books. Some of the costumes include Dr. Suess characters such as Horton, Lorax, and Thing 1 and Thing 2. Other costumes are inspired by books such as The Hungry Caterpillar and The Rainbow Fish.

The costumes are specifically sewn for hospitalized babies who can be as small as a pound, and are designed to accommodate medical devices and tubes.

Dorothy Williams, a retired Cedars-Sinai employee who has led the volunteer costume effort giveaway for the past 20 years, says, "The look of happiness in the parent's eyes, that for 20 or 30 minutes their child is experiencing something normal, is a wonderful thing to see."

Mom Candice Barges, whose baby Donya was dressed as a bumble bee, agreed. “It brings some light into the NICU, into the whole experience,” Barges said. “It’s a little bit of fun and laughter” that gives parents a bit of relief from worrying about their baby’s health.

Said Jesse Siglow whose baby, Olivia, was dressed as a rainbow fish, “This brings a bit of lightness to something that was unexpected for us. It’s important to be able to remember the fun things.”

One of the volunteers is 45-year-old Katie Boeck, who was cared for in the Cedars-Sinai NICU at birth.

“I was born in the early 1970s and they didn’t have this kind of special thing then for my parents, so this is my way of giving back, to say thanks to the doctors and nurses who helped save my life,” Boeck said. “It’s a lot of fun, everybody’s happy to have this feeling of normalcy for a little bit.”

Other volunteers lending a hand on Halloween include several local Girl Scouts, and Cedars-Sinai employees and volunteers, past and present. As seen in the video above, the Cedars-Sinai staff members in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, part of the Maxine Dunitz Children's Health Center, also dress in costume for the holiday.