13 Halloween Costumes for People Who Use Wheelchairs
Halloween isn’t just for little kids anymore and neither is dressing up. In 2019, 68% of adults 18 and older planned to participate in Halloween festivities. It isn’t at all shocking, though. While make-believe and pretend are sometimes seen as childish games, adults also feel the need to express themselves. In an article on Halloween, consumer anthropologist Robbie Blinkoff said, “It's a way for people to try to be more themselves." Costumes can represent who the person is on the inside.
Finding an outfit that perfectly reflects the “inner self” can be difficult and a wheelchair can add to the costume complexity. However, it’s not impossible. If you, a parent or grandparent uses a wheelchair and wants to be in costume this Halloween, here is a list of costume ideas that accommodate wheelchairs.
- Pilot Flying an Airplane — Using cardboard or foam; you could make wings and an airplane body that covers the wheelchair. This would give the illusion that the person in the wheelchair is flying a plane. Bonus points if your parent or grandparent can wear their pilot or military uniform.
- Police Officer Driving a Police Car — This is an easy costume to create because police cars, especially older models, tend to be rectangular. Find a larger cardboard box to fit around the wheelchair, paint it and add accessories, such as lights or horns. You can also ask if your loved one has a specific police character in mind for their costume: Columbo, Andy Taylor, Inspector Clouseau, etc. They may also want to wear their uniform if they were former officers of the law.
- Firefighter Driving an Engine — This is another cardboard box outfit and similar to the police officer costume. Paint your box red and white, add lights and attach a ladder. Don’t forget to add a Dalmatian to complete the look.
- Anyone on a Ship or Boat — You and your older loved one can choose a sailor, Viking, pirate etc. The assembly follows the above costumes: making a cardboard or foam boat that can cover the wheelchair. Unless you have the ability to carve a bold shape for your boat or ship, the clothing and accessories will be the key to a readable costume, so have fun with it.
- Fake Bubble Bath — This is the costume for parents or grandparents that like a little humor on Halloween. Craft stuffing, Styrofoam or balloons make convincing suds and bubbles. A cardboard box can be a great base for creating your bathtub. Add a rubber ducky and shower cap for finishing touches.
- President at the Podium — Presidential candidates, former presidents and current presidents always lend themselves to popular costumes. Your parent or grandparent can wear a suit or pantsuit they already own. You can create a podium out of cardboard and add homemade microphones, so it appears they are at a press conference.
- Head on a Platter — This is a classic gag and an excellent costume for parents and grandparents who love a practical joke. You can create a cardboard table and cover it with a festive tablecloth. The tablecloth would cover their legs while a platter with a lid would hide their head. For more ghoulish fun, use makeup to make them look spooky.
- News Anchor Behind the News Desk — This just in: a clever and simple costume! Use a large cardboard box to create the news desk. The front of the desk is where you and your loved one can be creative. Add the seal of whatever news station and a news ticker. You may even choose a famous anchor as inspiration: Diane Sawyer, Walter Kronkite or Ron Burgandy.
- Ocean Diver in a Cage Surrounded by Sharks — Take a trip to the hardware store to achieve this look. Use PVC pipes and connectors to create the cage that protects the diver, then paint it gray or wrap the bars in aluminum foil. You can be as detailed as you want with the shark cage by adding lights or propellers. As for the diver costume, bring a black tracksuit and snorkel for your aging parent or grandparent to wear. To add an extra punch and surely win any costume contest, dress as a shark yourself or attach toy sharks to the cage with zip ties.
- Queen or King — Treat your older loved one like royalty. You can drape velvet or jewel-toned blankets or other fabrics along the back of the chair or heighten the back of the wheelchair with decorated cardboard or Styrofoam.
- Spider — You can purchase or make a spider costume then decorate your older loved one’s wheelchair with faux spider webs. You can add a large spider web on the back of the wheelchair for added pizzazz. A simpler option is to lay faux spider webs around and on them while they hold a stuffed spider.
- Strands of Lights — Although this isn’t a costume per se, neon lights will definitely be an impressive Halloween ensemble. Battery operated twinkle lights can be woven in the wheels’ spokes and around the arm rests. There are also companies that make lights specifically for wheelchairs. Just make sure the lights don't get hot, or they could cause a burn.
- Hats and Masks — If your parent or grandparent wants to have a simple costume, hats and masks may be an option. There are usually a variety of cat ears, monster masks, witch hats and other time-honored Halloween characters available.
Before you take the costume on the road, make sure your older loved one or you can maneuver the wheels easily and that they are comfortable in the costume. ComForCare wishes you and your family a happy and safe Halloween.