Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Halloween in the NICU

Halloween is right around the corner, and having a preemie or a baby in the NICU can be a different experience for Halloween then you ever imagined.

Our girls were born at the end of May, but we had no idea if either of our girls were going to be home by October, or if we would even take them out on Halloween. With preemies there are more things to consider than taking your little one out to get some candy and show off their cute costume.

We went out and bought the girls cute little outfits.  One of them was a monkey, and the other one was a frog. We bought this honestly just to put them on and take some pictures of the girls.  We had no intention of going out trick-or-treating at all.

Kendall wound up getting transferred to a different hospital in the beginning of October, pretty much on her last whim. The doctors where she originally was placed were at a loss and told us this was our best option. So we transferred our daughter hoping things would turn around. We got Brooke all dressed on Halloween night and went out with a friend of ours who had a baby a few months older than the girls. We walked about one road and then took her to each of our parents’ houses so they could see her in her first Halloween costume.

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We then took Kendall’s costume up to her hospital room and asked if we could put her in it to get some pictures. When we arrived we put her costume on and saw that the nurses had brought her some little things for Halloween. It made our day. I was so appreciative for the hospital in which Kendall stayed. They made the holidays as special as possible while still being in the NICU.

The only thing I wish we could have done was get a picture of the girls together on their very first Halloween, but being flu/RSV season, no siblings were allowed in the NICU at the time.

Tips for Halloween in the NICU:

  • Don’t make it any more of a big deal.
  • Get them dressed up in costumes or fun Halloween apparel.
  • Take plenty of pictures!
  • Pretend you are just taking them out as you would if they were at home.
  • Show them pictures of friends and family dressed up.

The biggest thing I can say is to just make the experience like anything else. Don’t treat it any differently than you would if your child was at home. Make the most of every situation and time that you are given when your child is in the NICU.

Melissa McMurchy About Melissa McMurchy

Melissa McMurchy (OH) is the mother of twin daughters, Brooklynn and Kendall, born three months early, weighing 1.4 and 2.7 pounds. Brooklynn coasted through all milestones and is currently only behind in speech. Kendall, with an eleven-month hospital stay, is a bit spunkier with three broken bones, multiple blood transfusions and six surgeries under her belt. The journey has been long, but the lessons many. Melissa is a lover of sports, the smell of rain and miracles. You can follow her on Twitter or on her personal blog, Two Miracles.


  1. Susan Hundley says:

    Wonderful article that brought back a special Halloweeen memory for me in the NICU. My twin granddaughters, born on October 6, 2013 at 26 weeks had a very special first Halloween. Sophia, the larger twin, was vent free on day 4, but Olivia, our smaller and more fragile twin, was unable to come off the vent until Halloween. That day, dressed as Superman, her doctor was able to get her off safely! The remaining 96 NICU stay, we lovingly referred to him, as our Superman!!

    • Hi Susan,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. Holidays in the NICU are already hard enough and trying to make it special is the most you can do. Absolutely love that you dressed her as Superman … so deserving of the outfit!! Good luck and I hope your granddaughters are doing well :).

      • Susan Hundley says:

        Hi Melissa, We just celebrated my granddaughter’s second birthday and they are both doing very well! They are on the small size for their age (22 lbs) and not talking as well as most 2 year olds – doing a lot of “twin talk”, but nothing that concerns their doctor. I am so glad you brought up Holidays during a NICU stay. We experienced Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years in the NICU with both twins and it is always a challenge to balance special occasions with the needs of your NICU baby (or babies). The staff in our NICU was so amazing and went the extra mile to make each Holiday special for our twins – meant the world to us!

        • Susan,

          I definitely know it can be hard. Ours was a little different as all the holidays we had one home and one in the hospital. Our daughter that was home couldn’t come to the hospital because of it being RSV and flu season so we had to celebrate every occasion seperately. We have to make the most of each situation though.

  2. Beth Cornett says:

    My son Ryan spent his first Halloween in the NICU after being born on October 4th at 24 weeks. At Halloween he was still on the ventilator and we hadn’t been able to hold him yet. When I think of that Halloween I feel so blessed by the thoughtfulness of others. Ryan’s great aunt knew what big Disney fans we are so she had a knitted Mickey Mouse hat made for him to wear that day. My sister made him a First Halloween onesie at a NICU craft group that we were able to lay over him in the isolette. Another great aunt got him the smallest cowboy hat that we could prop against his head for a picture. Lastly his nurse found a blanket shaped like an owl to cover him that day.

    • This makes my heart happy. The nurses in the NICU are so encouraging and engaged with the kids (at least they were here) and the fact that everyone around you stood strong and made the most of the situation is amazing! So glad Ryan got to celebrate the holiday!

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