Happy All-oween: Adaptive Costumes for Kids

Halloween is arguably the ultimate American holiday for kids. Costumes, haunted houses, ghost stories, and candy- who wouldn’t want to join in on the fun? Unfortunately, in mainstream traditions from trick-or-treating to designing costumes, commercialism often excluded those who are not able-bodied or have different needs.

But with the years come technology and innovation. Wheelchairs are now commonplace to the public eye, and parents are more open about talking to their kids about others with different needs. Oxygen tanks, feeding tubes, quiet rooms, and so on give people, especially kids, with these needs a place to be themselves and still participate in the community.

Still, there is a long way to go in providing kids with different needs their unique resources to celebrate holidays like Halloween.

Most of us have been to or seen a Spirit Halloween store pop up every fall. We are familiar with the crinkly nylon costumes and budget-friendly synthetic wigs. Some costumes are even uncomfortable to wear for those who are able-bodied and without any medical equipment. So you can imagine what the experience is like for those with said equipment or sensitivities.

In comes the previously mentioned innovation; after all, the original costumes of the world were all DIY. Even after commercialism and mass production, there is a certain charm in wearing a hand-made costume that fits just right.

DIY Adaptive Costumes

First, let’s start with costumes for kids with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder). Brain Balance has a couple of tips for costumes for kids who have different tolerances, which comes down to three words: less is more. Less variety in textures, less number of props and accessories, and fewer parts and pieces will head off tantrums triggered by kids’ trying to express their overwhelming discomfort in an ill-suited costume.

The nice thing about making the costumes yourself is that you can also add a snip here and there to create flaps for attachments and equipment like oxygen and feeding tubes alongside colostomy bags.

What if your child has more involved equipment such as a wheelchair? The Coolest has hundreds of costume ideas in general, but most notably has even a dedicated tag to wheelchair-friendly costumes.

Ready-Made Costumes

Of course, not all parents have the time to work on unique costumes for their kids. That’s the reason the costume industry is booming in the first place! And luckily, some companies are starting to take note of that.

Target has teamed up with Hyde and EEK! to bring adaptive costumes for kids. From soft jumpsuits for kids with SPD that include flaps for those with medical equipment to accessories that attach to wheelchairs to complete the look, Hyde and EEK! has Halloween covered.

Not to be ignored is also Disney’s offerings of costumes and accessories. Though more limited in variety, such a big name in kids’ media taking action in creating a more inclusive world is quite a bold move that will influence the way costumes are viewed and made.

Dreaming Big

Sometimes, the costume of someone’s dreams is not something you can buy or make with the resources and time at hand. In those situations, there are non-profits such as Magic Wheelchair that might be able to help. A look at their Instagram shows the fantastical, complex, and dare we say stunning projects they’ve completed to give wheelchair-using costume-lovers once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

That is all to say: where there is a will, there is a way. Kids of all shapes, ages, sizes, and needs should be able to partake in the grand American tradition of Halloween if they desire, and with these options, they can.

For more Halloween content on Issuu, check out this post to see how to navigate Halloween 2020. Stay safe and have fun out there!

Have your own costume ideas? Tried out one of the ones listed? Hit the like button and let us known in the comments below!


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