Edmonton Halloween costumes hearten sick babies' parents

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image captionBaby Lucas was dressed as Leonardo, the Ninja Turtle, for Halloween

A Canadian hospital is helping make the hospital experience less spooky for parents of sick or premature newborns.

Grey Nuns Community Hospital's neonatal unit, in Edmonton, Alberta, is supplying its wards with handmade felt Halloween costumes.

The costumes - which included Batman and a penguin - were the brainchild of two nurses, Karine Leclerc-Keshwani and Jenny Blood.

The Halloween spirit helps make a frightening time bearable, parents say.

image copyrightCovenant Health
image captionThe costumes took over 30 hours to create

"It's been a really emotional week for us, and the costumes just brightened our day," says Stephanie Ternovatsky, whose five-day-old son Lucas was born five weeks early.

"It just made the experience something to look forward to."

image copyrightCovenant Health

She chose a Ninja Turtle costume to go along with the theme set by his two older brothers, who dressed as a SWAT police officer and Dash from the Disney movie The Incredibles.

Ms Blood says it took her and her colleague about 30 hours to make 32 costumes for the babies in the ward. Some were relatively simple, like a ghost, while others - like her favourite penguin with a hand-crocheted head - were more complex.

They got the idea from several hospitals in the US that had done something similar.

image copyrightCovenant Health

"I want to try and make the experience for parents the best that I can - it's really scary to have your baby in the [neonatal unit]," she said. "We just want to try and bring a little normalcy to the situation and bring some happiness to our families."

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