Costume Ideas for Kids with Sensory and Mobility Concerns
By Sarah Koppenhoefer-Little, OTR/L
Kids Place West Pediatric Occupational Therapist
Most children love Halloween! But for parents of children with special needs, Halloween can be stressful. Will my child tolerate a costume with their sensory concerns? How can I customize a costume for my wheelchair-bound child? There are ways to make Halloween fun and stress-free for every child! Here are some costume ideas:
When children have sensory issues, you can use their favorite everyday clothes to fashion a comfortable costume they can tolerate. Start with a hoodie, plain pull over long-sleeve shirt, zip-up sweatshirt, or footie pajamas, and transform them.
Glue material to the sleeves to make wings for a bat or another winged animal. Try gluing spikes to the hood and eyes to make a dinosaur or dragon (like Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon). You could glue the face of and Angry Bird onto the hood and material on the front to be the stomach. Or you could glue on a fin to the back with teeth around the hood to make a shark costume.
Another option is to dangle stuffed socks/tights with hot glue to create octopus or jellyfish tentacles. You could also draw your own designs or allow your child to draw designs on the shirt with markers or puffy paint to create their own costume (Jack-o-lantern, ghost, superhero logos, etc.). White fabric paint or masking tape can be used to create a skeleton design on a t-shirt or hoodie. Or pieces of cotton can be glued onto the shirt so the child could be a cloud or a sheep. Try adding a pair of elastic-band wings to a child’s favorite dress to make a fairy costume. Or decorate the shirt to be the stomach of a Care Bear or another animal like an owl.
For children in wheel chairs, you can utilize a cardboard box to make a costume. First you cut off the top and bottom of the box. Then you staple long pieces of heavy wide ribbon to the inside corners of the box to use as shoulder straps. Then you and the child can paint and decorate the box (racecar, train, horse, etc.).
There are many options for costumes for children with special needs that are relatively affordable and require just a little bit of creativity!
Have a Happy Halloween!