NANAIMO – Todd and Nicole are playing a toy xylophone with their toddler Jack. They say their other offspring is napping in a green, bulbous, alien-looking pod. Todd opens the lid and reveals a plastic Xenomorph (the alien from the Alien movies).

"Take away the claws, acidic blood, and people running and screaming when you walk down the road," Todd says dead-pan. "And it's just like having a regular human son."

They called the creature Burstin, after the toy seemed to burst out of Nicole's stomach in series of bloody, Alien-themed maternity photos that went viral last year.

"We're both kind of like big kids," Todd says. "We actually met at Halloween."

They show me pictures from that first meeting. He is dressed as Ace Ventura Pet Detective. She is indistinguishable behind layers of gory, zombie make-up.

"I saw into his eyes," Nicole recalls. "He could appreciate the make-up and saw beneath that."

They later connected with each other through crafting, committed to each other during a Back-to-the-Future themed wedding and now concocted – for their Xenomorph – a celebratory surprise.

"He wanted to go into space [for his birthday]," Todd says. "[But] I don't know Elon Musk."

But he and Nicole do know how to craft. So they spent almost 60 hours constructing a space-ship set, costumes, and props. Then they posed – along with Jack and his older sister Raven – to celebrate Burstin's birthday.

Photographer Lila Carter (who shot the maternity photos) captured them recreating iconic moments from the movie and the Xenomorph devouring a cake in the shape of an astronaut torso.

"It plays into the spoof of the standard one-year-old birthday cake smash," Nicole says.

While their photos are unconventional, this family's intentions are actually quite traditional: ultimately, this is all about Jack. Although they don't plan to show their real son the bloody photos until he's 16, they hope that one day it inspires their boy to become a man who never forgets to view the world with childlike wonder.

"[We hope he] finds joy in pretend and imagination," Todd says.

"You have to have fun together," Nicole adds. "If you don't laugh every day, it's not worth it."

Because even though they can't hear you scream in space, they can see you smile.