Here Are Some Halloween Costumes for Children with Special Needs

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Seven families stock their stories of putting unneurotic the cleanable Halloween costumes for children with peculiar needs.

Credit...Jessica Bondi

Dani Blum

Published Oct. 29, 2021Updated Nov. 1, 2021, 3:52 p.m. ET

Just 5 years ago, Jessica Bondi and Brian Steinberg couldn’t find a Halloween costume to accommodate their lad Ben’s disability. Ben has cerebral palsy and has utilized a wheelchair since helium was 3. Ms. Bondi saw photos of costumes that different parents of children with disabilities made, but she felt intimidated by the elaborate projects. Also, Ben is simply a twin. If helium and his member Nathan wanted to deterioration matching costumes, it was astir intolerable to find them successful stores.

Recently, Ms. Bondi has noticed adaptive costumes, which cater to radical with disabilities oregon sensory issues, person go much accessible and affordable. Now 8, Ben tin prime a superhero costume from Walmart, Target, Amazon oregon different ample name-brand retailers and adjacent get creative. This year, helium is going to beryllium a “samurai dragon,” with a ninja outfit for him and a dragon costume for his wheelchair.

“We’re making definite that everyone tin alteration for Halloween,” said Tara Hefter, a typical from Disguise Costumes, a starring manufacturer.

But galore families inactive similar the aged fashioned attack — cardboard, glitter and a batch of elbow grease. We spoke to respective families astir their experiences uncovering adaptive costumes for their kids.


Credit...Samantha Boose

Finding the close Halloween costume for Julian Boose, a 6-year-old with Snijders Blok-Fisher syndrome, tin beryllium complicated. The uncommon familial upset means that Julian has important cognitive impairments, and helium refuses to deterioration definite apparel and fabrics, particularly outfits with buttons, fringes, hoods and tags.

Julian is home-schooled and is mostly separated from different kids his age. But with a small creativity, his parent Samantha Boose said Halloween has go 1 of the fewer nights a twelvemonth erstwhile she sees him alongside his peers.

The full household often creates radical costumes that instrumentality into relationship Julian’s sensory issues. When they each dressed up arsenic superheroes, Julian’s cape was hitched to the backmost of his pajama garment with Velcro alternatively of an irritating necktie astir his neck. In 2020, they were each skeletons, but Julian’s pajama costume didn’t person a disguise oregon hood, some of which would irritate him. This year, she recovered a zip-up fleece onesie spacesuit for Julian, with the remainder of the household dressing successful space-themed outfits.


Credit...Molly Molenaur

Molly Molenaur said her 7-year-old son, Miles, relies connected operation to enactment immoderate steadiness successful his beingness erstwhile truthful overmuch tin look overwhelming oregon uncertain. He loves the comfortableness of a calendar, she said, and anticipating events. Halloween, however, has been challenging due to the fact that Miles is DeafBlind, with constricted imaginativeness and hearing. Television characters oregon superhero outfits don’t resonate with him, since helium cannot ticker them onscreen.

Instead, Ms. Molenaur turned her lad into “Light Up Boy” past year, by sewing LED airy strips into a zip-up onesie. Miles could archer erstwhile the lights dimmed and changed colors, flickering from bluish to greenish to purple. He pumped his manus successful the air, giddy and glowing, shining his mode down the street.


Credit...Magic Wheelchair

On a whim, Laura Walker sent an exertion to the nonprofit Magic Wheelchair successful 2017, but assumed she would ne'er perceive back. Her daughter, Kendall, has spina bifida, and the enactment constructs and donates intricate costumes for children with disabilities.

Just 2 years later, the radical replied and offered to marque implicit then-8-year-old Kendall’s wheelchair with a “My Little Pony” taxable — with Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie pulling her chair-turned-chariot down the street. “It was the champion clip my babe ever had,” Ms. Walker said.

Now 10, Kendall has outgrown her Pony obsession, Ms. Walker said; she’s much funny successful dressing up similar the Korean popular stars from Blackpink. Ms. Walker volition overgarment the rims of her daughter’s existent wheelchair agleam neon colors for Halloween this year, truthful that they glimmer arsenic she wheels astir the section trunk-or-treat.


Credit...Noelle Sadler

When Noelle and Quentin Delroy’s lad Stellan got his archetypal wheelchair, astir the clip helium turned 5, they wondered however they would grip Halloween. The household combed their location for immoderate materials — similar moving boxes and Mr. Delroy’s drum kit — they could usage successful a makeshift costume for their son, who has cerebral palsy. Since then, they person spent each autumn gearing up for their son’s Halloween costume, moving backmost and distant to the trade store and spending nights tinkering successful their store with heaps of cloth and felt.

The effort is much than worthy it, they said, due to the fact that Halloween is thing their lad tin “participate successful each the way.” When Stellan goes to schoolhouse successful costume, “it makes the different kids astir privation to beryllium him,” Mr. Delroy said. At 9, helium is nonverbal, but they tin archer from his facial expressions however excited helium is to spot each costume. This year, Stellan volition beryllium a punk rocker with a cardboard drum acceptable made to acceptable implicit his wheelchair.


Credit...Ayah Young

Ayah Young’s 8-year-old lad Coltrane was calved with Joubert syndrome, a uncommon neurological upset that kept him successful and retired of hospitals for the archetypal years of his life. He utilized a wheelchair erstwhile helium was younger, which became a situation for Halloween costumes. So she utilized cardboard boxes and blistery glue to marque “boxtumes.” One year, helium was Thomas the Tank Engine, different helium was Marshall from “Paw Patrol.”

The item of the vacation whitethorn person been the reactions from different children who seemed genuinely jealous of Coltrane’s costumes, Ms. Young said. “Normally, kids don’t cognize what to marque of it,” she said of his disability. “But connected Halloween, they were like, ‘This is epic. This is the costume I privation I was in.’”

Coltrane does not presently usage a wheelchair, but Ms. Young inactive creates his costumes, catering to his sensory issues. She focuses connected what she called “pajama-based” outfits that are little itchy and don’t interaction Coltrane’s ears. The costumes often instrumentality weeks to marque — crafted a spot astatine a time, nighttime by night, until she has a finished product. “Everyone deserves Halloween,” she said.


Credit...Julie Kuehn

On the greeting of Halloween successful 2019, Rich Kuehn’s lad Jacob, a 4-year-old with cerebral palsy, came downstairs for meal and gasped. “That’s my constabulary car!” helium squealed. Mr. Kuehn had placed a sputtering artifact siren by his family’s eating array to travel a cardboard constabulary car that could descent implicit Jacob’s wheelchair. When helium thinks backmost connected that Halloween, Mr. Kuehn doesn’t retrieve the trick-or-treating, but alternatively watching his son’s gleeful absorption to the siren.

These days, Mr. Kuehn plans Jacob’s Halloween costumes up to 2 months successful advance. This year, Jacob wants to beryllium a soldier, and Mr. Kuehn has been astatine enactment crafting a cardboard Army vessel for Jacob’s wheelchair. While adaptive Halloween costumes are becoming much and much commonplace, helium said, helium inactive struggles to find originative options for Jacob and to program his son’s costume connected apical of those for his 9-year-old and 12-year-old daughters. But helium takes comfortableness successful knowing he’s not the lone genitor figuring retired however to modify the holiday.

“It’s astonishing however galore much families and kids similar ours are retired there,” helium said.

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