How to make Halloween inclusive for all with some crazy costume Ideas

Six cute kids in animal costumes dressed up for Halloween in the living room. The little boy with Down syndrome is sitting on the floor playing with a pumpkin boiler. There is a zebra, a monkey, a horse, an elephant, a bear and a bee. Photo was taken in Quebec Canada.

There is a lot to love about Halloween. There are the lollies, of course, and the chance to dress up.

But not every kid loves to put on a costume. Some children find them overwhelming. Others might struggle to find costumes that work with their wheelchair or adaptive aids. Never fear! We’ve got you covered for costume ideas that can be adapted to all shapes, sizes, and abilities.

Before you start thinking about costumes, you might want to plan how you’ll celebrate Halloween this year. With restrictions still in force in many places, trick-or-treating might not be possible in your local area. Besides, who wants to dip their hands (along with countless strangers’) into bowls full of lollies right now? Instead, you might want to celebrate Halloween at home with an age-appropriate spooky movie and popcorn, or rustle up some close friends to meet for a picnic in the park.

Whichever way you choose to do Halloween this year, here’s how you can rock the costumes.

Let your child’s interests shine

Take inspiration from your child’s interests when you are choosing their costume. Halloween is supposed to be fun, but it can be as ghoulish as you or your child wants it to be. Ghosts are always a good fall-back costume – you might want to keep an old white bed sheet and a pair of scissors on stand-by. But your kid might also get a kick out of dressing up as their favourite sporting idol, superhero, animal, or movie character. It’s the one day of the year when they get to be anything they want – let their imagination run wild!

Start with the basics

If your child experiences sensory processing issues, its best to start with a comfortable base layer – think a t-shirt or jumper and comfortable shorts or tracksuit pants – and work from there. You can tack fabric under the arms to turn them into a bat, or hot-glue felt triangles down the back of an old tee to transform them into a dinosaur. A pair of soft cotton pyjamas decorated with paint and fabric scraps can easily become a skeleton.

Your child may not be comfortable wearing a mask or make-up, so stay inside their comfort zone. Perhaps they have a hooded dressing gown they like to wear? Add accessories and they can be anything from a wizard to a Jedi! It’s a good idea to try the costume out a few days before Halloween, to make sure they are happy with how it feels and can move easily while wearing it.

Make their wheelchair a part of the costume

If your child uses a wheelchair, Halloween is the perfect time to get crafty and decorate the wheelchair to make it part of their costume. There are some fantastic ideas on the internet from creative parents who have transformed their kids’ wheelchairs into everything from the Batmobile to a drum-kit. They could be a DJ behind their decks, a mermaid on a rock, or a knight on their gallant steed. Check out more ideas and instructions on how to make them.

Think outside the box

Cardboard boxes can be a turned into everything from an oven that fits over your child’s wheelchair with the budding chef behind it, to a suspended costume that barely touches your child, which may suit if they experience sensory processing issues.

Take the top off a large cardboard box using scissors or a Stanley knife and staple lengths of wide, heavy ribbon to the inside corners of the box to make shoulder straps. Let your child help paint and decorate the box to transform it into anything from a car to an aeroplane, a horse, or a unicorn.

Make it fun!

However you choose to celebrate Halloween this year, we hope you have loads of fun getting dressed up with your child. And, even if trick-or-treating doesn’t happen, we hope a few lollies come your way!