Halloween can be a fun, imaginative, and celebrated experience. For those living with rare conditions like congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD) who utilize mobility devices, it can be more “tricky” than “treat.”
I live with Collagen VI, CMD, and recall taking part in the costume part of “dressing up” to be more of a headache than a party. Finding something that fits the theme, is still festive but also safe and mobility-friendly is quite the conquest. Trying to get to the actual candy can also be very challenging — navigating outdoor terrain, uneven sidewalks with no curb cuts, stairs, and not to mention long distances in general for a wheelchair user is difficult. I put together some tips and advice on overcoming these obstacles so you can make the most of the holiday and still have a scary good time.
The pop-up seasonal Halloween store brands have finally started to address the gaps in providing inclusive costume wear and are now carrying adaptive costumes in their product lines. From comfortable materials with easy-on designs to discreet openings for medical devices to alternative covers for wheels, strollers, or wagons, there are options at last. However, you just may need to do some searching for them.
Don’t expect to see them in all of their themed physical stores, your best bet is to order online. Party City, Spirit of Halloween, Halloween Express & HalloweenCostumes.com all have adaptive options to accommodate your accessibility needs. My personal favorite is the rainbow wheelchair cover and costume. You can stroll through your neighborhood and create your own rainbow road!
Major retail outlets like Target and Disney have been the first of many staple stores to integrate adaptive costumes into their store inventory. You may have even spotted Target models sporting them in their seasonal weekly ad drop (they even have some sensory-friendly options). Walmart and Amazon also provide adaptive options, although be wary of knock-offs and third-party sellers on their sites. Some more boutique-style costume wear is available from Chasing Fireflies and the innovative adaptive product collection, Rolling Buddies.
Another cool thing worth mentioning if you want to take your wheelchair costume to the extreme is the outlet, Magic Wheelchair. A non-profit organization that creates next-level magical wheelchair costumes, you can apply for a costume build here. Another organization bringing joy by creating amazing costumes for those with special needs equipment is Walkin’ & Rollin’ Costumes. They are currently taking costume requests for the 2024 season, you can apply here. Both costume channels are free of cost to all families (see application for full qualifications).
Another hurdle is scouting out the perfect place to Trick or Treat that’s easily accessible. Nextdoor has a Street Treats map that outlines your neighbors who are actively participating in distributing candy. So, no more tirelessly rolling up to empty houses with no candy! This also gives you the chance to consult Google Maps to survey their street views for terrain, steep grades, curb cuts, etc. I also recommend checking out your local indoor mall to see if they offer an evening trick-or-treat opportunity. That eliminates the variable hindrances of weather, terrain, and fatigue, plus more candy per mile (always a win)!
Want to ensure your neighbors know your residence meets accessible treating standards? Place these Accessible Lawn Signs in your yard to proudly display your home as a safe accessible trick-or-treat location spot. You can request them, or print your own.
I hope these ideas spark joy for both children and adults of all ability levels so that they may enjoy trick-or-treating to the fullest and truly have a spooktacular Halloween incorporating inclusivity into your holiday.
Don’t forget to join our Cure CMD Halloween Costume Social Share Party! Tag Cure CMD and use #CMDhalloween when posting on your social networks.
*Cure CMD does not endorse or promote any items mentioned, please use them at your own discretion.