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These Nimble Nurses Are Hand-Knitting Halloween Hats For Newborn Babies

1010 WINS-The nurses at St. Joseph's Women's Hospital Labor and Delivery Unit in Tampa, Fla. are offering up some very special treats for their patients this Halloween. The only trick is how these women knit so many handmade baby hats during their breaks!

Delivery nurse Paula MacDonald started knitting hats for newborns at home as a hobby. In just one year, she had created hundreds of them, even enlisting her 79-year-old mother who began knitting about 30 hats per week. After Paula passed away, her unit continued the tradition in her honor, dubbed 'Paula's Project,' with the hope that they will one day knit a hat for every single child born at the hospital, which averages close to 700 deliveries a month.

St. Joseph's Women's Hospital Halloween Hats 8
(Provided photo: St. Joseph's Women's Hospital)

The busy nurses knit on their lunch breaks and after their shifts, with each boy's hat taking around an hour, and girl's hats taking a little longer due to the embellishments added to make them extra pretty.

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For Halloween, the nurses knit adorable pumpkins, bats, Frankenstein's and ghosts; the team also create caps specific to other holidays such as bunny ears for Easter and turkeys for Thanksgiving -- not to mention footballs for the Super Bowl and other special requests from women in labor.

St. Joseph's Women's Hospital Halloween Hats 11
(Provided photo: St. Joseph's Women's Hospital)

Hospital rep Tiffany Scalone tells 1010 WINS that Paula's Project has united the labor and delivery department in unexpected ways, particularly by increasing camaraderie among the team. Everyone contributes to the creative process, with about 50 percent of the nursing staff creating the hats and other team members crocheting the embellishments or donating yarn. They have even enlisted the help of friends and family, who also make contributions of finished hats or supplies.

St. Joseph's Women's Hospital Halloween Hats - Baby Olivia 4
(Provided photo: St. Joseph's Women's Hospital)

It's easy to see how much this special tradition, started by an incredible woman, means to the new mothers.

St. Joseph's Women's Hospital is part of the BayCare Health System, offering complete obstetrical, perinatal, surgical, gynecological and oncological services. St. Joseph's Women's Hospital is widely regarded as the place in Tampa to have a baby and delivers more babies than any other facility in the Tampa Bay region.

-Joe Cingrana

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