Halloween is for anybody!

Click to share this on facebook.Click to tweet this blog post.
A toy jack-o-lantern with the phrase "Happy Halloween" printed in it's open mouth. Under the Where it's AT logo, the text reads "Halloween is for anybody!" - abilitytools.org

A Halloween that is accessible to everyone is possible without any extra effort or with very little effort and some creativity.

With COVID-19 still being a serious consideration, please check out last year’s blog Spooky, Not Scary for some tips on how to have a socially distant and safe Halloween.

Two Jack-o-lanterns set over a wood grain background. One is wearing a medical face mask. The text reads - Spooky, Not Scary: Treats & Treats to Stay Safe This Halloween - www.abilitytools.org/blog

Accessible costumes

Costumes that incorporate disabilities

There are some pretty amazing costume ideas that incorporate your AT and disabilities into your costume, whether you use a wheelchair, walker, knee scooter or crutches or have had an amputation. These costumes are a celebration of how unique and awesome their wearers are.

People like Josh Sundquist, who has gone viral several times for incorporating is leg amputation into his Halloween costumes (the Pixar lamp, Baby Groot, and his epic flamingo transformation to name a few) and organizations like Magic Wheelchair, who create some of the most amazing free costumes for children who are wheelchair users (BumbleBee, Toothless and a Jurassic World Jeep) are just a few examples of embracing costume ideas that can only be executed by people with disabilities. Those creators don’t even encompass all of the witches surfing on their brooms/knee scooters, Carls from Up using their canes, or Darth Vaders flying in their TIE fighters/wheelchairs that you can find with a quick Google search.

Image via kidzorg.blogspot.com A few simple pieces attached with zip ties convert this wheelchair into a convincing bulldozer.

Costumes with disability considerations

Although you can create or modify costumes to accommodate your needs, we are now seeing major brands making costumes that are born accessible. Brands like Disney, HalloweenCostumes.com, Target, Khols, are selling costumes that have tube access, are sensory friendly, are rear opening for wheelchair friendly access, have longer inseams so seated users don’t end up with highwaters.

Independent sellers like RollingBuddies and SusieRegina on Etsy who are also making accessible costumes for wheelchair users.for about the same price price of any other store bought costume.

Service animal costumes

A dog wearing a black cape, sitting in front of a person, seen from the waist down.

There are some great costumes for your service or emotional support animal partners in crime, like the large selection of dog, cat and small pet costumes from Chewy. In particular, there are awesome opportunities for paired costumes like: Dorothy and Toto, Catbus and Totoro, A pirate and their parrot, John Snow and Ghost, Iago and Jafar, Snoopy and Charlie Brown, Tom and Jerry, Scooby Doo and Shaggy, or the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Doormouse. Please just remember that if your partner is a trained service animal, they are still working so you should try to keep them away from overly stressful or overstimulating situations, and for everyone’s benefit, be sure that the fact that they are a service animal is still evident by their vest remaining visible. NEADS has some great additional tips for Halloween safety and service animals.

Access to the candy bowl

There are a few things you can do this Halloween to ensure that your home is an accessible place every trick or treater can enjoy on Halloween.

Assess for barriers.

If you have multiple approaches to your home, assess them to see which would be the easiest for all visitors to utilize. Look out for areas that require step ups, that have too tight corners for a wheelchair to turn around or have loose or rocky ground cover that could impede the use of mobility devices. Pick a path that is well lit to accommodate individuals with vision disabilities. Once you have found your best path, indicate the proper approach to your home using solar light stakes (which the dollar store typically has available in Halloween themes), incorporate your other decorations to indicate the path and/or utilize signs.

Overcome barriers.

If your best path is still not all that great, all is not lost! If areas with steps are unavoidable, utilizing a portable ramp is your best solution. Remember that you can always check out a portable ramp for free from a Device Lending and Demonstration Center (DLDC) and if there isn’t a DLDC near you, you can always connect with a local medical supplier and find out if they rent ramps.

A photograph of a ramp leading to a pathway among cobblestones and greenery.

Ignore barriers.

If an inaccessible path is absolutely unavoidable, due to difficulty in temporarily modifying or the cost associated with renting accommodations, you can simply avoid the problem entirely by setting up at the nearest accessible point, even if that point is on the lawn or in your driveway up against your sidewalk. This way, handing out treats is easy for you and as equal an experience as possible to all trick or treaters.  

If sitting outside for a few hours isn’t your cup of tea, you can always simply put a sign at the approach of your home saying that people can text for someone to come out with candy.

Avoid creating barriers.

If you are decorating for the holiday, please ensure there are no quickly strobing lights included in your decorations, as they could induce seizures in some of your visitors.

If you are handing out candy and want to be mindful to get candy with the least common allergens, Spokin has a great Allergy-Friendly Halloween Candy Guide that can help you navigate the ins and outs of those sometimes complicated ingredients lists.

Costumed children and a golden retriever at a door with trick or treat bags.