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Finding Adaptive and Inclusive Halloween Costumes

Boy in a wheel-chair costume dressed up as a dog catcherBy Maggie Strange, PT, and Tiffany Keenum, SPT

One of the best parts of Halloween is undoubtedly the costumes! Parents love to see their children experience the excitement of dressing up and participating in trick-or-treating or other Halloween activities with their siblings and friends. Some kids can wear just about any costume off-the-shelf, but for some children with special needs, it can be a bit more challenging to find the perfect costume. Fortunately, there are some great options for inclusive costumes out there. You just need to know where to look!

Wheel-Chair Friendly Costumes

Major retailers are beginning to carry a variety of adaptive costumes so everyone can participate in the fun! For example, Target now carries wheelchair-friendly princess and pirate costumes along with princess carriage and pirate ship wheelchair covers.

A less main-stream option for children who use wheelchairs is Walkin’ & Rollin’ Costumes. This nonprofit organization provides free wheelchair costume builds as well as many sketch options for the more creative parents who want to trying building the costumes themselves. There are also lots of cool, wheelchair-friendly options on the Etsy shop RollingBuddies.

Finally, parents can follow hashtags or people on Instagram for more fun Halloween ideas.

  • #WheelchairCostumes is a hashtag with many different posts of what you can create for your child this Halloween, some more complex than others. Take inspiration from other parents who have posted their children’s costumes!
  • The Instagram account @rollingwiththepunchesvlog has some photos of past costumes that may spark your creative side!
  • The Instagram account @wheelieawesomecostumes also features photos of fun costumes that incorporate children’s wheelchairs.

Sensory Friendly Costumes

Many children with sensory processing disorder can have a difficult time with Halloween costumes due to itchy fabric, tight collars, or smelly masks. This post on Understood.org provides useful instructions for how to make do-it-yourself sensory-friendly costumes using items you may already have around the house.

Other sensory-friendly ideas can be found on Pinterest and at LivingWellMom.com. Making a costume at home is a great way to save money. However, if you prefer the ease of buying your child’s costume from the story, Target now offers sensory-friendly options, including a shark and a unicorn.

We hope you enjoy these costume ideas and have a Happy Halloween!