Creating the Perfect Wheelchair Costume

Using a wheelchair may have it’s downfalls, but when Halloween comes around, it’s like Christmas for a wheelchair-user. It’s hands-down one of the best costume-enhancing accessories out there. From transforming into anything from Fred Flintstone’s car to a jailed cell, the options are as endless as your creativity will take you.

If you’re stumped for costume ideas this year, we’ve put together a costume checklist strictly for wheelchair-users that will hopefully help you dream up the best costume on the block (or at the bar, office party…). If you feel we’ve missed anything, please add your costume tips in the comments below!

Tip #1: Where You’re Going Matters

We all know how fun crowded bars are in a wheelchair. When you’re in a costume at one of these crowded bars, you do not want a large costume that makes it hard to maneuver, or prevents you from getting in. If you’ll be bar hopping or going to a house party, it’s best to keep your costume streamlined. If you’ll be outside however, go crazy. Heck, go as the Starship Enterprise.

Tip #2: Decide How Much (or Little) to Incorporate Your Wheelchair

You need to decide whether or not you want to your wheelchair be a focal point, i.e., a costume idea that utilizes the wheelchair to bring the costume to life, like a pirate ship in motion, Batman in his Batmobile, an ice cream man in his truck, Geoffery on his Iron Throne. The wheelchair isn’t just background noise with these kinds of costumes; it’s front and center. These are huge crowd pleasers, so if you’re looking to win some contests, here you go.

Tip #3: Use Pop Culture References

If you need costume inspiration, think of pop culture references from movies and musicians that have inspired you now and in your past. You can always recreate a character/a scene from a favorite horror movie or you could be a character from a comedy film, or a character from a kid’s movie. Politicians, comic book icons, celebrities and sports stars are other pop culture areas that are ripe for the picking.

Tip #4: Add Humor If You Dare

One of the funniest costumes we’ve seen a wheelchair-user as was a diver in a shark cage. He had sharks swimming around his head with a look of terror on his face that was priceless. Recently saw a kid went viral online dressing up as Superman. Instead of just sitting in his wheelchair, he adhered a flying faux body to his wheelchair, creating the optical allusion that the dummy was flying and holding onto his wheelchair (so as to not fly away).

Tip #5: Incorporate Lighting

There are a ton of lights you can now buy, especially LED lights, that can make a wheelchair costume go from zero to amazing. Whether it’s a princess in a lighted carriage or recreating the dash lights on a superhero vehicle, adding lighting easily makes any drab costume shift into the fab category. You can buy a variety of light strands, lights with sticky backs and more at Walmart and Amazon.

Tip #6: Don’t Forget Your Comfort Level

It may not be the most fun tip, but you also need to remember your comfort level when deciding what to be for Halloween. Whatever you decide, make sure it doesn’t limit you in the mobility department or make it harder for you to do things like go to the bathroom. Nothing too constrictive is key, or anything that needs constant readjusting.

Halloween is a great time to relax and not take everything so seriously, which can be so easy after a spinal cord injury. Try to get out this year, even if face paint or a pair of cat years is all you put on. Halloween reminds all of us to have a little fun, and that’s a very good thing.

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