North Texas NICU Babies Dress Up for Halloween

A neonatal ICU nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian crocheted Halloween costumes for the babies in her NICU ward

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The families in Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital's neonatal ICU unit didn't expect to have first Halloween memories this year. Nurse Courtney Sanders had other ideas.

"This is a cactus," Sanders said, holding up a tiny crocheted costume. She made 30 costumes for babies in the NICU. "Foxes, and a lion, and Winnie the Pooh... nobody can look at a cute baby in a hula costume and not be, it just puts a smile on your face."

Costumes included a ladybug, flowers, a bear, a cat, a frog and more. Sanders started to crochet them in January to be ready for Halloween. One of the babies wearing her creation was Cameron Joseph Notke.

"He was Max from 'Where the Wild Things Are', and he is a little wild, so it was appropriate," Sanders said.

"In that moment it was just like, OK, this is normal," Cameron's mother Julie Notke said. "It was a big moment."

Notke was five months pregnant went she found out she was going to have her third child. A month after that, complications forced an early delivery.

"Cameron was born on Sept. 21," Notke said. He was three months early. "He was 1 pound, 12 ounces. Very tiny."

Cameron has been in the NICU every day since he was born, and so have his parents. The Halloween costumes were a light moment during a heavy time.

"I think for everybody Halloween looks a little different, so it's just important to find the fun where you can," Sanders said.

Cameron is expected to be in the NICU until at least his due date, Dec. 20. The Notkes hope to have him home for Christmas.

"It's still going to be a while," Notke said. "But we're getting there."

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