By Karli Barnett

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The smallest patients at South Miami Hospital are bringing big smiles. They wore their Halloween best for a costume contest Tuesday in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

From the mummy with his mommy, to the baby buccaneer, to the mini Mario, these patients are in the Halloween spirit.

“We’re very competitive,” laughs Darlene Blitz. She and her husband Blane went all out for their not-so-vicious Viking.

Their son, Vincent, was outfitted with a knitted cap, booties, and shield.

With the help of some cardboard and imagination, his bed was turned into a ship.

Since their son has spent more than two months in the NICU, this means more to them than just a cute photo opportunity.

“With him coming so early, I felt like I kind of missed out on a lot. We never got to do the baby shower. We never got to do the classes.”

They, along with other parents, say it was a chance to be happy, despite being in the hospital.

“You’re not excited that they’re in here,” says Jocelyn Casalvilla. “But it helps you get in the spirit and at least make some light out of it.”

Her two-week-old son, Brandon, had his pirate hat and little sword picked out for him by his big brother.

“In this kind of situation, you need to motivate yourself with things like this,” says Yarelis Riveromarro. She says her one-month-old Alex enjoys being swaddled, so she figured a mummy would be a perfect choice for his costume.

“We should all be out here celebrating our little superheroes because they’re incredibly resilient,” says Dr. Jorge Perez, Director of the NICU Medical Staff. “For these parents and for these children, it probably gives them just a moment of normalcy.”

Even if they’re only one or two pounds, these costumes make up for that with big personality.

“He is definitely mighty,” concludes Blitz. “Small and mighty.”

South Miami Hospital treats 62 babies in the NICU, and 12 are taking part in this friendly competition. They will announce the results on Halloween.

Karli Barnett


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