“I wish every day could be Halloween. We could all wear masks all the time. Then we could walk around and get to know each other before we got to see what we looked like under the masks.” – Auggie in the novel “Wonder,” by R.J. Palacio
Why do people love to wear costumes? Maybe because we get to put clothes on our imagination and present it to the world! At Halloween, dressing up is not only tradition, it’s also a chance to escape, pretend, conquer a costuming challenge and just have fun. Everywhere you look on Halloween, people are showing off creativity and individuality with a wide range of costume ideas.
For the disability community in particular, Halloween can be a time to shine! Creative costumes and a festive spirit offer a unique opportunity to have people see past our disabilities. And for those whose costumes embrace and even spotlight disabilities, it can offer the opportunity to feel truly seen and simultaneously celebrated.
Only you can tell the best way to celebrate for your family, whether it’s going all out or keeping costumes simple. Here are a few tips to make the most out of Halloween.
- Consider incorporating assistive devices such as wheelchairs into your costume. With some cardboard and paint, wheelchairs can become Lightning McQueen or a steam engine; gauze and hula hoops can become Cinderella’s carriage.
- Search the Internet for great examples of costumes to suit your child’s disability. The Mighty, a website that seeks to celebrate people with disabilities, compiled reader-submitted photos of happy costumed kids with their families. One parent celebrated her child’s obsession with “Wheel of Fortune” by dressing him as the new “million dollar wedge” on the wheel. Another parent honored her daughter’s sensory processing disorder by adding decorative elephant touches to familiar, cozy clothes.
- Try on costumes before Halloween to make sure your child won’t be uncomfortable. This can also allow them time to either get used to the costume or consider an alternative look.
- It may be helpful to practice ringing the bell at a neighbor’s door and receiving candy. On the big night, plan to trick or treat with family and friends that your child likes; or, if nighttime is the problem, seek out indoor or daytime activities, such as a “trunk or treat” at a local church.
- Research the sorts of treats your child can enjoy if they have food allergies or sensitivities. Sure Foods Living has a running guides list of treats and their ingredients.
With a little bit of planning and some creative thinking, this can be your best Halloween yet. We at ABLE United hope it’s spooktacular!