Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. The chance to transform into your favorite character, ghost or goblin only comes around once a year! However, Halloween costumes have always been a challenge for people with disabilities. Costumes are often difficult to put on, bulky and can get caught in the spoke of a wheelchair.
My disability happened when I was in college, so I have only dressed up a few times in my adult life. When my kids were young, I had a witch costume that I often used for trick-or-treating, but most of the time I was worrying about making sure the kids had cute Halloween ensembles and not worried about my own. A few years ago, I switched it up and went to Las Vegas for Halloween with a group of friends and dressed up as the Little Mermaid.
Overall, costumes and large formal dresses are difficult for me because of the wheelchair. Most costumes require alternations so they don’t get caught in the front casters and I also can’t have long flowing sleeves because it impairs my ability to push my chair. My new friend, Gina Schuh is a lawyer, an advocate for people with disabilities. She is a C 5/6 quadriplegic due to a diving accident in 2003. She loves to travel and she is super funny. She also loves to dress up for Halloween. Over the years she has been Amelia Earhart in her plane, a hippie in a soul train, Pocahontas in a boat, and Dia de los muertes in a coffin. This year she a keyboard warrior. She is extremely creative and she makes all of her own costumes with cardboard. Needless to say I am extremely impressed all that Gina does! Her keyboard warrior idea is adorable. You can follow Gina’s funny and informative content on Facebook @ginaisonaroll
l or on Instagram @oopsibrokemyneck
Fortunately, inclusive costume designs are becoming more available and I’m excited to revamp my costumes. There are a handful of large retailers that sell inclusive costume options, including Spirit Halloween
Many designers on Etsy are custom-designing and making costumes for people with disabilities. Rolling Buddies
has cute options like a little alien, a spaceship and Santa’s sleigh. However, you must order these well in advance of Halloween because each costume is custom made and requires measurements.
Last year, Target launched a kid’s clothing line, Cat & Jack
, that is comfortable, functional and stylish. Today it includes adaptive pieces, including adaptive costumes – everything from a princess dress and carriage, to a pirate and pirate ship.
There are also some people who have started designing adaptive costumes themselves, offering creative ways to incorporate walkers and wheelchairs into the design of their costumes. Here are some of my favorites:
Jojo’s Costume Adventures
Eight year old Jojo
is an adorable boy with spastic quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. When he was a baby it was easy for his mother Gabriela to buy costumes at the store, but when he started to use a wheelchair, dressing up became more of an obstacle. His parents started to think outside the box and design ways to incorporate his wheelchair. Their unique ideas have included a DJ costume with turn tables and Mario from Mario Brothers, complete with his own cart, and Batman with his own Bat Mobile.
Walkin' and Rollin' Costumes
Lon Davis and his wife wanted to make a costume for their son, Reese, who uses a wheelchair. They made a WaLL E costume out of a cardboard box and it was a huge hit. Each year their son challenged them to come up with more elaborate costumes and people started to follow along. Eventually requests started pouring in from people all over the country wanting costumes for their kids who use walkers or wheelchairs for mobility.
That is when they decided to start a non-profit organization that incorporated the help of designers and builders nationwide. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of donors, these costumes are available for families of kids who use walkers or wheelchairs for no charge. Walkin’ & Rollin’ have built over seventy-five costumes for kids all over the country.
If you would like to offer to design a costume, build a costume or donate money please go to their website
and join in on the fun. Anyone can apply
for a costume for a child up to 18 years old.
Still looking for some inspiration? Here are 33 Awesome Halloween Costumes Ideas for Kids who use Wheelchairs
. There are also hundreds of ideas for adaptive costumes on Pinterest
to incorporate your wheelchair into your costume.
Necessity truly is the mother of invention when it comes to creating adaptive costumes. I would love to see your Halloween costumes. Please contact me through my social media to share your Halloween pictures and stories.
Happy Halloween everyone!