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PHOTOS: NICU patients at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital all dressed up for Halloween

Posted at 11:32 AM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-28 11:32:22-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Kids of all ages are donning their costumes for the Halloween season – including the youngest patients at the Gerber Foundation Neonatal Center at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Child and Family Life specialist Gay Sexton and her mother made the costumes by hand, according to Spectrum Health.

“This event is so much fun for parents,” said Theresa Hartl, a child life specialist at the hospital. “The normalization is so important for bonding with their baby. This may seem just like a lot of fun, but it’s purposeful as well.”

One of the babies, Charlie Mazzotta, was dressed as spaghetti and meatballs. His mom, Kellie, said it was particularly appropriate since her husband is Italian.


In another room just down the hall, twins Olive and Jack Rusticus were dressed as Superman and Wonder Woman. Both are about one month old.


Meanwhile, week-old Grace Kueppers was transformed into a beautiful, bright butterfly. She’s expected to go home on hospice and palliative care later this week after initially not being expected to make it past birth.


“We are hoping she will make it to Thanksgiving and Christmas, but this may be her only Halloween,” said her mother, Kelsey. “Her 2-year-old brother, Brayden, is really excited to meet her. We have already gotten more time than we thought with her. Every day is a gift.”

Just a few doors down, one can find a mermaid, Harlow Haverdink.


“Her sister is really into mermaids, so he helped pick out Harlow’s costume,” said Harlow’s mom, Emily.

Emily tested positive for COVID-19 while pregnant with Harlow and the latter came sooner than expected and tested positive for the virus after birth, too.

Eleven-day-old Novalle Bridges, meanwhile, is wearing a strawberry covering.


“I picked a strawberry because it’s tiny and so is she,” said her mother, Jessica.

A little further down the hall, Asaiah McKinney was dressed as a pumpkin and his cousin, Dariyah Cegelis, as a cupcake.


In the Small Baby Unit, 2-month-old twins Ben and Arlo Meiste were dressed as a cheeseburger and fries combo.


“My husband, Darrin, and I love cheeseburgers,” she said. “When they said this was an option for a costume, we just had to do it.”