Halloween for Wheelchair Users

It’s that time of year again. You know, the one when the weather starts to change, the days get shorter, the leaves start to change colors, and best of all, there’s a whole lot of candy! You guessed it, Halloween! Although it’s not my absolute favorite time of the year, it’s in my top five. I love being able to look at fun costumes, pick one, dress up, and be someone I’m not. This is also the time where we get to know our neighbors better, which I love to do.

I love finding costumes that I can incorporate onto my Quantum® Edge® 3 Power Wheelchair. One year, I was a witch and my power wheelchair was my broomstick! Although it’s supposed to be fun, Halloween is quite of a struggle for some people, especially wheelchair users. First, we have to find a costume. That itself is a struggle. Finding a costume that fits my body along with all my braces is difficult. It’s also hard to find something that I actually want to wear because costumes that fit are so limited. It’s either a ghost (It’s been done before and it’s just a white sheet over you so you can’t even drive properly) or a witch (been there, done that).

Sakina’s witch costume incorporates her Quantum Power Wheelchair

It’s also hard to be someone you’re not when you have a huge electric wheelchair attached to you, so another component in finding the perfect costume is trying to find one that doesn’t make your electric wheelchair the focal point. You want people to see you dressed up, not just your power chair! Weather plays a big part for immune compromised people like myself. If it’s too cold, you have to get so bundled up that it defeats the purpose of getting dressed up!

Now that you’ve mastered the skill of finding your costume, you focus on finding the route you’re going to take trick-or-treating and who you’re going to go with. If you’re going with a group of kids, it’s pretty hard to trick-or-treat because most of the houses have steps. This means I have to have someone go get candy for me and that always takes a while, especially for the other kids in the group who are waiting. It’s always a dilemma trying to figure out if we should skip houses to keep up with the other kids or let them go at their own speed, while we truck along behind them taking our time.

When I was younger, my parents used to take us trick-or-treating indoors at the mall or places that had parties. This was great because everything was at one level and I didn’t have to worry about stairs. Plus, having it indoors meant I didn’t have to keep my jacket on over my costume! They don’t really do this much anymore, which is sad because it’s great for people like me or even toddlers who have a hard time keeping up!

One option that we’ve looked into is trunk-or-treat. It’s the same concept as trick-or-treating, except it’s usually in a parking lot on a paved road. You don’t have to worry about anyone else and you can go at your own speed without worrying about steps or sidewalks. Because of COVID-19, we aren’t able to do any of these things this year. At first, I wasn’t sure what we were going to do for Halloween. Thankfully, there are still safe ways to do Halloween: COVID-19 style! Although it won’t be the same as going trick-or-treating or attending any parties, we still get to eat a whole bunch of candy!

Halloween is a fun time for all kids who can enjoy it, yet even simple things take a lot of planning when you have limited mobility or are in an electric wheelchair. It’s definitely something to think about!

About Sakina Shamsi: Sakina lives in New Jersey with her parents and brother. Although she has spinal muscular atrophy type II, Sakina lives a full and independent lifestyle. She is active in the disability community and enjoys horseback riding, baking and crafting. Click here to learn more about Sakina.