Halloween can be one of the most exciting holidays for individuals of all ages. From the fun costumes, to all the candy, no one wants to be left out of trick-or-treating or attending fun Halloween parties where they have the opportunity to become something else for a night. However, for individuals living with disabilities, the task of finding a Halloween costume may be a struggle, or they might find the experience of wearing one a bit troublesome due to sensory issues. While store bought costumes may work just fine, there is also a chance they can be scratchy and uncomfortable to wear for some. Some store bought costumes also may not be designed for individuals who use walkers, canes, are in wheelchairs, etc. But do not give up! There are several options to address the above concerns and many different costumes out there that can be adapted or created to suit individuals living with a disability.
Build Your Own!
The best thing about Halloween is that it has the ability to bring out the creative side of all of us who are not interested in buying a premade costume. Here are some ideas for building your own:
Costumes for Individuals In Wheelchairs
For an individual that uses a wheelchair, you do not want the wheelchair to overshadow his or her costume! The key to this is to incorporate the wheelchair into the costume. Think creatively about how the wheelchair can be incorporated into the costume. For girls, a wheelchair can be transformed into a magic coach, and for boys, the wheelchair can be a sports car or a train. The sky is the limit!
For example, if you want to be Superman or another superhero with flying capabilities, you can use poster board and construction paper to create a city skyline that can be hung on the sides of the wheelchair! Use blue poster board as the sky, and cut out city buildings using black paper and glue them onto the board. You now have a city skyline right on the sides of the wheelchair, with your very own superman flying in between!
Or perhaps you want to be a princess! (what little girl doesn’t want to be) You can use hula hoops, ribbon, and fabric to create a Cinderella carriage on the wheelchair! Another idea is that you can take a large piece of green poster board and cut a hole in the center large enough to slide your upper body through. Then cover the board with paper flowers made out of pipecleaners. Lastly, create a flower crown and dress in bright colors to turn yourself and the wheelchair into a field of flowers!
Costumes for Sensory-Sensitive Individuals
As mentioned in the beginning of the post, store bought costumes may be too itchy and scratchy for sensory-sensitive individuals. This requires you to get creative and come up with a costume that you or the individual with disability can be comfortable in. Since most sensitive individuals cannot wear makeup or face paint, nor can they stand the feeling of a mask being on their heads, you must get creative once again. An easy way around this is that you can take long popsicle sticks and construction paper to create handheld masks of your favorite characters.
Testing the Costume
Once you have the costume built, it is time to test it out. You want to try to avoid a situation where you might need to end trick-or-treating or Halloween party festivities abruptly because you or your loved one finds themselves too uncomfortable to continue. It is recommended that once built, the costume is trialed and worn around the house for a few minutes or hours. This allows you or the person to get comfortable in the costume, and lets you know if anything might need to be changed.
Purchasing Store Bought- Costumes
You might be thinking that you do not have the artistic ability to create a costume on your own. If that is the case, it is recommended that you search at your local thrift store for a costume that can be bought. Or you can check out your local Goodwill store for clothing that can match the outfit of a favorite character or clothes from a specific time period. Even though you do not have to be artistic to make these costumes, they still require a bit of thinking and creativity. And of course, if that is too much work, you can always stop by your local Halloween store and purchase a premade costume. But remember, they may be a bit uncomfortable and itchy to wear.
All About Fun!
No matter what you decide to wear, Easter Seals New Jersey hopes you have a wonderful and spook-tacular Halloween! Halloween is meant to be fun for everyone no matter their level of ability, and there are so many ideas and options for making the night a special one! Go out, buy some supplies, make your own costume, and enjoy your spook-tacular day!
Share Your Ideas and Suggestions!
Do you have some suggestions for special needs costumes or costumes for people with disabilities? Leave your ideas and suggestions in the comments below or share your photos with us on Facebook or Twitter for a chance to get a special feature on our blog and social media pages!
Happy Halloween from all of us here at Easter Seals New Jersey!
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