Costume Ideas for Tween Wheelchair-Users

Jamie Sumner
Special needs mom and author
10/11/23  12:00 PM PST
older boy in a halloween costume - tween wheelchair user

I think we can all agree that Halloween has its ages and stages:

Stage 1: Baby Halloween is when your parents dress you in a Pinterest-worthy costume and carry you around like a prop.

Stage 2: The Golden Years are the precious elementary school years when you care deeply about costume esthetics and mirror your favorite super heroes. You race rampant through the neighborhood vying for who gets the biggest haul of candy before the parents summon you home.

Stage 3: The Awkward Phase is the middle school era when you care much less about dressing up, but still do it because you want the candy.

Stage 4: High School Halloween is for parties, duh.

Stage 5: Early Adulthood Halloween is for slightly inappropriate costumes ordered on Amazon that itch and are probably made out of plastic.

Then the cycle repeats when you have your own kids and begin searching Etsy for crocheted pumpkin onesies.

Six Costume Ideas for Tween Wheelchair Users

With an almost twelve-year-old in the house, we have just entered The Awkward Phase. Charlie still wants to get out and about, but the costume is much less a priority. This sounds like a simple transition, but when every costume for the past handful of years has revolved around his wheelchair, it gets more complicated. We’ve turned his chair into a train, Elliot’s bike from E.T., and R2D2. Now, however, he doesn’t want to draw attention to the chair. In fact, he doesn’t want to draw attention to himself at all (hello almost middle-schooler). And so, we’re pivoting. We’re moving toward comfort, seeking self-expression and leaving the Disney production behind. If you also happen to have a kid entering Stage 3, here are a few ideas:

1. Fortnite character

This one is fun, because it’s personal. Make your costume reflect the character you created in Fortnite. It turns virtual reality into reality and it still reflects you.

2. Harley Davidson biker

The chair is still a part of the costume, but it’s not the costume, because everyone knows an biker by the bandana around the head, the vest, and the tattoos.

3. Fortune teller

If your wheelchair has a tray, use that as the fortune teller’s table. Take a magic eight ball. You’ll be the hit at every door, but also, you can ditch the props and simply cruise around in jangling bracelets and flowy clothes.

4. Drummer

Thrown a bongo drum in your lap and you’re set. Plus, it gives you something to do if the trick or treating gets boring.

5. Glow-in-the-Dark skeleton a lá Karate Kid

It’s easy, classic and comfortable for when you want to go out, but also blend in.

6. DJ

Grab a pair of wireless headphones, turn your hat sideways and you’re good to go. Added bonus? If the noise and general chaos of the night gets to be too much, crank up the music and tune out.


Whatever your kid decides to wear, the thing to remember in all the stages is: There’s no wrong way to do it. Also, adolescence is awkward enough. As long as they are relaxed in their clothes and able to have fun, count the night a success.


child with special needs
Jamie Sumner is a special needs mom and author.
Author of the middle-grade novels:















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