NICU Infants Celebrate First Halloween at Boston Hospital: 'It's Halloween, and We're Going to Celebrate'

Having neonatal intensive care unit babies costumed and photographed for Halloween is an annual tradition at Brigham and Women's Hospital

<p>Brigham and Women

Brigham and Women's Hospital

Adorable twins from the Brigham and Women's Hospital's NICU dressed up in Harry Potter attire

Some special babies at a Boston hospital have truly gotten into the Halloween spirit.

In what has become an annual tradition, Brigham and Women’s Hospital recently had the babies in its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) dressed up in costumes and photographed to mark their first-ever Halloween.

Elisa Abdulhayoglu, medical director of the Brigham and Women's Hospital's NICU, tells PEOPLE that the hospital has been dressing up babies for Halloween and other holidays for years. The aim of the program, under the moniker of Project Milestones, is to bring some normalcy and fun not only to the NICU, but also smiles to the families and the staff.

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“It's really just a lot of fun dressing up the babies,” she says, “It's hysterical, actually, sometimes because the babies will give you all sorts of looks. They might be small, but they've got their attitudes.”

For example, Abdulhayoglu and Brigham’s NICU shared one photograph from Project Milestones showing a pair of twins wearing Harry Potter-related attire.

“The mom actually bought the two Harry Potter outfits – the Gryffindor outfit,” says Abdulhayoglu. “And then we started getting all of the stuff to go around, the owl and the train ticket and the scarves and just everything. That one was our Anne Geddes' epic photo shoot right there."

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She adds: “And then we had some of the other babies [dressed up], like a spider and a pumpkin and whatnot. The families just love it.”

<p>Brigham and Women's Hospital</p> A newborn from Brigham and Women's Hospital's NICU dressed up for Halloween

Brigham and Women's Hospital

A newborn from Brigham and Women's Hospital's NICU dressed up for Halloween

Abdulhayoglu notes that the babies are in the NICU not just days, but for weeks and months.

“The whole goal of Project Milestones is to actually have some fun and bring sort of that normalcy to the families: ‘Hey, guess what? It's Halloween, and we're going to celebrate it. Let's deck the babies out and go for it.’”

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She adds: “The hours, obviously, in the ICU can be long, but the babies are magical. They're so special. And I think highlighting the babies in these photos, I think, really gets people to see just how special these little NICU babies are.”

Assisting Project Milestones are organizations such as Project Sweat Peas and Tiny Treats, reported. Tiny Treats, which gives away costumes to NICUs, was founded by Bethany and Brett Waldman, the parents of a child who spent time at Brigham and Women’s Hospital's NICU between 2015 and 2016.

“Halloween was the first chance we really had to see our son as a child, and not just a sick patient,” Bethany Waldman told “It really kind of put things into perspective that our son was healthy and doing so much better.”

<p>Brigham and Women's Hospital</p> A newborn from Brigham and Women's Hospital's NICU dressed up for Halloween

Brigham and Women's Hospital

A newborn from Brigham and Women's Hospital's NICU dressed up for Halloween

“They just offer a lot of family support and support within the NICU to allow some of these projects to really take hold,” Abdulhayoglu tells PEOPLE about the organizations. “The outpouring from a lot of these groups and these families is amazing and really helps move the NICU forward to ensure that we're kind of doing complete care. It's not just about the babies. There are families too that need help and support during a very long newborn ICU stay.”

Meanwhile, Project Milestones has extended to other special days other than Halloween such as Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day.

“Once again, the parents really got into it,” Abdulhayoglu says. “And now the nurses and respiratory therapists were all really getting into it. And so it slowly built up momentum.”

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