Health & Fitness

Halloween at hospital: Tiny twin superheroes, super small Shrek and a mini Minnie Mouse

Newborns don Halloween costumes at ICU

The Center for Women & Infants' Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at South Miami Hospital hosted its annual Halloween contest for its tiniest patients and their families. The event is a celebration of hope that provides families an opportunity t
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The Center for Women & Infants' Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at South Miami Hospital hosted its annual Halloween contest for its tiniest patients and their families. The event is a celebration of hope that provides families an opportunity t

Suzette Casais calls her twins — who were born at 29 weeks, with one weighing 1 pound, 12 ounces, and the other, 3 pounds— superheroes.

So for the annual Halloween costume contest at the Center for Women & Infants’ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at South Miami Hospital, choosing the perfect outfit was easy.

Finding something small enough — not so much.

“It was nurse who suggested Build-A Bear Workshop,” she said.

She took the nurse’s advice and managed to find super tiny, stuffed teddy bear-sized Superwoman and Superman outfits for her babies. Emily, who was the smaller of the two, is now 3 pounds, 9 ounces, and her brother, Matthew, is 5 pounds, 2 ounces.

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Matthew Casais, dressed as Superman, was one of the winners at the Halloween costume contest at the Center for Women & Infants’ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at South Miami Hospital on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. He and his sister, Emily, were born prematurely at 29 weeks. The costume contest is an annual tradition at the hospital. Jose A. Iglesias jiglesias@elnuevoherald.com

“Emily definitely set the tone for the family,” said Casais, who lives in South Miami-Dade. “She beat the odds. She is Superwoman.”

The tiny twin superheroes in their decorated cribs were the winners in the costume contest. Other winners included a super-small Shrek and a teensy tiny Stars Wars character.

Dr. Jorge Perez, medical director for the NICU, said the Halloween contest is meant to bring some cheer and hope to the families of babies who were born premature or critically ill. More than 1,000 premature or critically ill infants are treated at the center in a given year.

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Royalty Kendrick dressed as Wonder Woman during the annual Halloween costume contest at the Center for Women & Infants’ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at South Miami Hospital on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. Jose A. Iglesias jiglesias@elnuevoherald.com

“Of all their tribulations that they go through during their stay, if we can just crack a smile for a second of this day, then it's well worth the exercise,” he said.

Families choose costumes for their little ones based on their personalities. Among those represented: a mini Minnie Mouse, an itty-bitty Big Bad Wolf and a petite pumpkin.

Casais said the Halloween festivities put everyone in good spirits.

“The NICU can be pretty depressing,” she said. “This was really a treat.”

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