Halloween can be a challenging time for parents of children with disabilities when trying to find a costume that complies with their disability.
Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Salt Lake City, Utah is doing its part to make the last day in October a fun-filled, stress-free day. In its third year decorating, volunteers from the hospital continue to build creative costumes for children in wheelchairs.
Matt Lowell, director of seating and mobility, came up with the idea in 2016 and it took off. Volunteers take costume suggestions in early October and run with them, using cardboard, paint, PVC pipes, and fabrics to create costumes that have people in awe.
“It used to be that I could never get Carter close enough to the porch while trick-or-treating,” Heather Thorup told The Washington Post. “But now, because of his costume, everyone comes to him.”
It was only two years ago that Thorup cried after seeing her son, Carter, then 6-years-old, lagging behind a group of his friends and watching from the sidewalk as kids ran by him with candy-filled buckets, leaving him largely unnoticed. It was a heart-wrenching sight, until she discovered the Shriner’s Hospital Halloween workshop.
Last year, her anxiety changed to excitement as volunteers transformed his wheelchair into a Batmobile and he donned a cool Batman costume. Instead of being left out of the conversation, he was the conversation. Now kids and adults alike came to check him out.
From food trucks to magic carpets to Tranfsormers, the staff at Shriner’s have come up with an answer to almost every request. Each child now has cool wheels that make them the center of attention on Halloween.
This year, Carter Thorup will be wheeling around his neighborhood as an Optimus Prime transformer, and he is all smiles.
Spirit Halloween, the large retail chain, was so inspired by the Utah hospital that it created costumes that are available online to adapt to wheelchairs. This year’s costumes include a rocket ship, princess carriage, race car, and monster truck retailing for $100 each.
Meanwhile, fifth-graders at Silver Creek Elementary School in Troy, Ill., worked together to make Halloween fun for a wheelchair-bound kindergarten student, Trae Bruns, battling Apert Syndrome. They designed him an awesome costume.
“Some parents have created just out of the box ideas for Halloween and it came to me that why can`t we do this for students in wheelchairs” Cayla Seaton, special education teacher, said to KTVI in an interview.
“I just want people to know that just because somebody looks different doesn`t mean that they`re not like the rest of us,” says Bruns. “He may look different but he likes to do everything everybody else loves to do.”
The students began working on the costumes in September. Trae’s Cat Boy costume from the animated series PJ Masks was a success.