Tips for a wheelchair friendly Halloween

The change of seasons has arrived in North America. Mornings are crisp, the air is brisk, and Sweaters come out. In late September, decorations begin appearing in anticipation of a big fall holiday in many cultures and countries, Halloween!

Disclaimer: Please make sure to follow health guidelines and measures as you celebrate Halloween 2020.

For most children, and many adults, Halloween is a big deal. Ghosts, witches, goblins and skeletons appear, and neighbors vie for the scariest decorations.  Pumpkins are carved, candy is purchased, and everyone starts to plan for the most important part: their Halloween costume!

For kids and adults with mobility challenges, the choice of a costume can be daunting, in an effort to incorporate or accommodate their mobility device, whether a wheelchair or walking aid.

Over the years I have seen some fantastic creations!  From the simplest ghost costume to elaborate construction projects, the parents I have worked with brush it off as “this is just what we do”; they want their kids with mobility challenges to experience Halloween no differently than friends or siblings. Today, many retailers have also stepped up and have a variety of options available in store or on-line that also incorporate mobility devices, making the task a little less difficult.

Girl in Wheelchair - Halloween Costume

While parents make it look easy, there are some things to consider:

  1. Make sure your child is prepared for the weather if going outside – in some parts of the US and Canada there can be snow on Halloween! Have glove, hats and coats at the ready.
  2. If using a mask of any type, make sure your child can see adequately! We don’t want any accidents.
  3. Check to ensure that no bits of the costume are interfering with the mobility device – a sleeve caught in a wheel, a cape stuck on a push handle, you want to avoid these types of issues at all costs.

Many pediatric facilities or communities host a “Halloween Walk” where kids, families and friends can enjoy fun and safe evening of trick-or-treating.  Indoor events, at shopping malls or schools, can also provide inclusive and accessible options for all kids. Reach out to members in your community to find out what activities are going on in your neighborhood.   In 2020, it is also a good idea to plan activities at your own home, like scavenger hunts in the yard or building your own haunted house, to be sure everyone stays safe but still enjoys a night of fun!

Happy Halloween from everyone at Motion Composites!

About Christie Hamstra, PT, DPT, ATP

Clinical Educator

Christie is a Motion Composites clinical educator. She holds a Master of Physiotherapy from Andrews University and a Transitional Doctor of Physiotherapy degree from Oakland University. Through training and conferences, she actively shares her knowledge with future and current industry professionals.