Since we last wrote about the nonprofit Magic Wheelchair, which provides awe-inspiring Halloween costumes to children in wheelchairs, the media world has gone bonkers about this amazing, family-started organization with tons of news coverage including newspaper articles, local news features, a segment (and costume unveiling) on the Meredith Viera show, even a message recorded from the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for one child whose costume was inspired by the series. Meanwhile, founder Ryan Weimer and his legion of volunteers have been hard at work on the eight magical costumes designed for children in wheelchairs around the country. All of the excited children have now been given their costumes, and the results are indeed epic.
For two brothers, MarioKart served as the inspiration for their costumes. The costumes included intricate details and even special effects such as lights and smoke! For another child, the request for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed get-up yielded a mini version of the turtles’ truck, complete with a ninja turtle on top as well as one at the wheel. Other costumes included a Frozen theme, a ballerina with a swan, a dinosaur from Jurassic World, and a SpongeBob Squarepants speedboat. Each costume was planned according to the child’s particular dreams and interests.
The hard work and planning for these get-ups can include many hours of sketching and using computers to conceptually design each costume. Then comes the actual building process, which often includes complicated wiring and metalworking or woodworking, as well as trying to integrate the child’s wheelchair seamlessly into the greater construction. Some of the children were part of the tweaking process and were able to test-drive their designs before they were finished. For others, the completed costumes were a total and welcome surprise. The volunteer who created the Avenger’s jet from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. even drove 12 hours to deliver the costume in person!
Founder and father Ryan Weimer says that he believes these costumes can be a year-round opportunity for children in wheelchairs to experience some magic. Check back for more pictures of the children on Magic Wheelchair’s Facebook page or sign up to donate (or to volunteer your services)! With hundreds of children on the waiting list already for next year’s Halloween costumes, Magic Wheelchair is committed to helping provide as many children in wheelchairs as possible with a memorable costume and experience.
We wish these children, one of whom said the best part of getting the Halloween costumes was “feeling included,” the happiest Halloween.