DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — While trick-or-treating has become a high-risk activity in 2020, the staff at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas is once again making sure the tiniest newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are having some Halloween fun.

This year dozens of NICU babies at Parkland will celebrate their first Halloween with handmade costumes.

The outfits for the newborns were made by Parkland Child Life specialists. who hosted a socially distanced costume craft party last week.

“It is already a challenging and unexpected life event to have a baby in the NICU, but to add the stress of a global pandemic on top of that makes it very difficult for our families,” said NICU-certified Child Life specialist Jennifer Porter. “Having opportunities like these gives both our
families and staff a sense of hope and something positive to enjoy.”

Parents, volunteers and NICU staff members helped create a costume for every baby in the unit — approximately 80.

This year the little ones will do their best imitations of Candy Corn, Elvis Presley, Ninja Turtles, and even an “inmate.”

(credit: Parkland Hospital)

Dallas mother La’Metrice Taylor, whose newborn triplets have been in the NICU since the beginning of September, said she appreciates events like these. Her babies, Triniti, Tristyn, and Trevor were dressed as three peas in a pod.

“Having one baby in the NICU is hard, but having three is a roller coaster,” said Taylor. “This was a great surprise to us and I absolutely loved their costumes. It really helped us take our mind off of what’s going on right now.”

Parkland Child Life specialists used felt, ribbon, glitter and hot glue to make most of the costumes.

“Our NICU staff is committed to caring for our smallest patients and helping families cope during these challenging times,” said Parkland Director of Nursing-Nursery Services Regina Reynolds.

Parkland opened the first neonatal intensive care unit in Dallas in 1973 and during the pandemic has provided prenatal care for more than 500 COVID-19 positive pregnant women. To date, 252 have delivered and of that number approximately 90% were asymptomatic or showed very mild symptoms.