kids in wheelchairs dressed up for halloween

Wheelchair Halloween Costumes and More

People all over the country love Halloween for different reasons. Some people love the opportunity to scare or prank their family or young trick-or-treaters. Others love having fun-size candy in candy dishes all over the office for an afternoon pick-me-up. For children with disabilities, Halloween is the chance to become whatever they want to be. And for children who use wheelchairs, the wheelchair can be used to enhance the costume by providing a “background,” a platform to help with costume props, or as a fancy vehicle to zoom from one door to the next.

For many years, BraunAbility held the Halloween on Wheels competition, and together with their families, we saw hundreds of the most creative wheelchair Halloween costumes we’d ever seen. The top winners would get VISA gift cards, a donation to the charity of their choice and the hearts of our staff. While we no longer run the contest, we know wanting to shine like a jack-o-lantern is always a must during spooky season. With that, here are some ideas to get started on to make your Halloween costume epic.

DIY Wheelchair Halloween Costumes

Does your kiddo have a favorite local restaurant or eatery? Contact them and see if they can part with a t-shirt or other cheap branded items like napkins or cups. Then use your cardboard and paint skills to turn a wheelchair into a delivery truck. Print out a logo to affix to the side, and you’ve got an easy costume that will make a lot of neighbors smile.

Common Materials for Homemade Halloween Costumes

When designing your own Halloween costumes, there are a few items that are very versatile and can help you create everything from a car to a plane to anything in-between.

Common costume materials include:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Pool noodles
  • Cardboard
  • Tissue paper
  • Felt
  • Paint
  • Lots of tape!

Another option is to create a cute costume apart from the wheelchair, walker, or other mobility equipment. Sometimes big costumes that surround the wheelchair can be tough to transport or you could be going to an outing in which you know space may be limited. In that case, just have fun dressing as kittens, zombies or athletes! 

Custom Wheelchair Costumes

One nonprofit, Magic Wheelchair, makes custom costumes for kids in wheelchairs at no cost to their families. Their site promises their efforts at “transforming their wheelchairs into magic” can be used for events from Halloween to parades to Comicon. The founder started Magic Wheelchair when his first son, Keaton, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy. The first year his son had a wheelchair, he had a conversation with him about what he’d like to be for Halloween. “A pirate,” Keaton said. Instead of visiting a Halloween City and finding a pirate hat and foam sword and calling it a day, he decided to completely transform Keaton’s wheelchair into a pirate ship.

These fantastic costume creations are funded through donations and help to make a kid’s Halloween extra special. To be eligible for a costume, your child must be between the ages of 5 and 17 and primarily use a wheelchair for their mobility. A costume build averages 8 weeks until completion. Apply for a Magic Wheelchair costume here.

Buy Wheelchair Halloween Costumes Online

Target made a big splash in 2019 when they released their adaptive Halloween costume line up, which included a unicorn, princess (complete with a carriage to attach to a wheelchair), and a pirate – just like Keaton’s – with a pirate ship to affix to a wheelchair. These costumes flew off the shelves, in part because of their great quality and cute designs, but also because of their affordable price, and we are eagerly anticipating a broader lineup in the following years. 

Spirit Halloween has one adaptive Halloween costume in the form of a princess carriage that fully surrounds a wheelchair, although the cutout is pricey at $99.99. They also have low quantities in stock, so if you want one, you’ll need to order before the Halloween rush begins!

Throw an Inclusive Halloween Party

No one should be left out of parties – especially parties as fun as Halloween parties! If you are expecting a guest with disabilities to RSVP ‘yes,’ check out this BraunAbility article Top 5 Tips for Hosting an Inclusive Holiday Party

If you know you have children in your friend group or neighborhood that may be trick-or-treating from a wheelchair, here’s how you can make your house more accessible for your trick-or-treaters with disabilities.

  1. Pass out candy from your porch or driveway. Consider if you have a steep driveway or a porch with many steps. Bringing the candy to a location that is easy to access for any kid will make everyone feel welcome. It may mean longer trips for you for refills, but it will make a world of difference for kids with disabilities on Halloween night.
  2. Keep your path well-lit and debris-free. While decorating for Halloween can be fun for people of all ages, make sure not to make the journey up to the candy too difficult to traverse or too dark to see any potential obstacles.
  3. Speaking of treats…treat all your trick-or-treaters the same. Decide if you will allow kids to grab their own candy or if you will pass it out to them. Then stick to that decision regardless if you see a wheelchair or not. If your trick-or-treater asks for help, then you can choose some treats for them and put them in their bucket or bag, but never do so without asking first. If they have a parent with them, the parent may let you know of any allergies or sensitivities their child may have and will help you choose appropriate candy for them.
  4. Be patient. Some trick-or-treaters may be teenagers or young adults and could have intellectual disabilities. Some children may have low vision or low motor skills and choosing the candy they want can take longer. Understand this is one night of the year that they are able to see new neighbors, new kids, and gain new experiences and your kindness and patience can go a long way.

Rent an Accessible Van for Trick-Or-Treating

Depending on where you live in the country, you may be used to trick-or-treating from home to home from a car. But if your child uses a wheelchair, going from house-to-house can be a hassle and unreasonably tiring. But if you want to give your kiddos the experience of true trick-or-treating with their siblings or peers, consider a one-day rental of a BraunAbility wheelchair accessible vehicle. We have dealers all over the country who would be happy to reserve an accessible vehicle to make Halloween extra special for your family. Learn more about our rentals by visiting our wheelchair van rentals page.

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