Kids love picking out Halloween costumes, but finding good ones for children with disabilities can be challenging. For wheelchair users, it’s important to find a costume that is easy to take on and off and won’t get caught in the wheels. Some children may require costumes with hidden openings to accommodate feeding tubes or other medical equipment. Those who have sensory processing issues are often bothered by certain types of fabric and clothing elements such as tags and seams.
It’s often hard enough to find adaptive and sensory-friendly clothing for daily wear; the selection of costumes may be even more limited. However, there are some great options out there! The following are just a few stores, organizations, and ideas to consider for fun and accessible costumes:
Target adaptive Halloween costumes
A couple of years after introducing a popular line of adaptive clothing for kids, Target has also unveiled a small collection of adaptive Halloween costumes from the Hyde & EEK! BoutiqueTM. The options include a unicorn, shark, princess, and pirate.
The princess and pirate costumes can both be bought with add-ons that turn a wheelchair into a princess carriage or pirate ship. These costumes also feature openings in the back, which make it easier for wheelchair users to get dressed. The pirate costume has wide enough leg openings to put pants on without having to remove shoes first.
The unicorn and shark costumes are designed to be sensory-friendly; they have no tags, and the seams are flat. They also have a hidden opening for easy access to the abdominal area. The hoods, tails, wings, and fins can be removed in case children become uncomfortable; this way, they can easily continue participating in the festivities without having to go home and change.
Magic Wheelchair is a nonprofit organization that focuses on creating awesome costumes for kids in wheelchairs, free of charge! To be eligible, the child must be between the ages of five and 17 (check out their easy application form here).
To see more of their showstopping creations, check out their website or Instagram account.
If you’re interested in helping Magic Wheelchair serve more kids, you can click here to learn about donations and fundraising, here to learn about sponsorships, and here to learn about volunteer opportunities!
Rolling Buddies costumes for wheelchairs
Rolling Buddies offers a variety of designs that can be stuck to the sides of a wheelchair for Halloween. Check out all of their options here! They also sell adaptive clothing and smaller wheelchair accessories.
Parents Magazine: “Wheelchair Halloween Costume Ideas”
This fun slideshow from Parents Magazine shows off some pretty epic handmade Halloween costumes for kids who use wheelchairs, ranging from Mr. Rogers and his Neighborhood Trolley to the Wizard of Oz in his hot air balloon!
HalloweenCostumes.com: “20 Halloween Costume Ideas for People in Wheelchairs”
Another list of wheelchair-friendly Halloween costumes; this one includes clever designs such as a Disc Jockey, Pac-Man, and zebra. Click here to check out the full list!
Understood.org: “6 DIY Sensory-Friendly Halloween Costumes”
Since store-bought costumes often have elements that irritate children with sensory processing issues, Understood.org suggests some handmade costume ideas that use the child’s everyday clothes.
For example, sweatshirts/hoodies can be transformed into a variety of animals by attaching additional materials to the outside. Simple pajamas can be decorated with a skeleton design, or siblings/friends could go as Thing 1 and Thing 2. Basic clothing items can also be combined into costumes such as Waldo, a referee, or the Super Mario Brothers.
Pathways.org: “How to Help Make Halloween Easier for Children with Sensory Issues”
Pathways suggests some tips for having a sensory-friendly Halloween, including doing a “costume practice run.” They recommend having the child try on the complete costume in advance, and let them wear it around the house before Halloween so they can get used to it and make sure nothing about it is too irritating. This will give parents time to make any necessary modifications before the big day. Pathways also advises that kids wear familiar clothing under costumes for added comfort.
Do you have any Halloween costume ideas or general Halloween-related tips for kids with disabilities/sensory issues? Please let us know in the comments!
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