Children get tricked-out wheelchair costumes for a magical Halloween originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on Oct. 23, 2017.
These kids’ tricked-out wheelchair costumes are a major Halloween treat.
Nearly 40 lucky kiddos will be trick-or-treating in style, sporting their brand new, absolutely epic wheelchair costumes built by Magic Wheelchair, a nonprofit that teams with volunteers across the country to create the elaborate ensembles fitted for their chairs.
“It impacts these kids in a deeper way than just the smile on their face,” Magic Wheelchair’s founder, Ryan Weimer of Kaizer, Oregon, told ABC News. “That’s one of the beautiful things of what we do. They really get the sense of what true joy is.”
Weimer was inspired to launch the nonprofit in 2015 after gaining recognition for the wheelchair costumes he built for his own sons, Keaton, 12, and Bryce, 6, both of whom were born with spinal muscular atrophy.
“For him, it was the ultimate inclusion in the holiday,” Weimer said about Keaton’s confidence wearing the first costume he built in 2008. “What was really, really amazing about it, that barrier of the disability seemed to be swallowed up in that costume.”
Weimer said that for the first time ever, people saw his son before they noticed his disability.
“It was almost like a cure for the day,” said the proud dad. “That awkwardness wrapped around the disability was gone for people. We’re really building awareness for people that these are just regular, cool kids. It was very touching for me and my wife, and it immediately made me think about other families and kids like ours that would love this experience too.”
Three Halloweens later, Magic Wheelchair is having its most successful year to date.
“Seeing it grow has been amazing because we have this platform where we can invite people to come do beautiful things for beautiful kids and their beautiful families,” said Weimer. “It’s humbling to be part of something that invites so many people to get involved in doing something good.”
Take a look at some of the magical builds:
Adrian Paz, 8, of Draper, Utah, is obsessed with “Jurassic World” and wanted to transform his chair into a dinosaur after seeing a similar costume at Comic-Con last year. A team from Monster City Studios helped make Adrian's dream become a reality.
Adrian is a vibrant, dino-loving, social boy with Spina bifida, a problem with the spinal column that he was born with, his family said.
“He primarily uses a wheelchair, however, is a very active child with a vivid imagination,” they wrote.
Fluffy from “Harry Potter”
Kyle McCarthy, 10, of Hood River, Oregon, wanted to be Fluffy, the three-headed dog from “Harry Potter,” to “be able to scare people.”
His family said Kyle had Enterovirus D68, a virus that can cause severe respiratory infections, and Acute Flaccid Myelitis, a neurologic illness that usually manifests suddenly in children and causes weakness of the limbs.
Big red barn
Alex Hayes, 15, of Henrico County, Virginia, loves the farm animals on her favorite game, so a big red barn costume the perfect choice for her.
Alex’s family told us she has a rare genetic disorder, GRIN2B syndrome, a problem with the gene that plays an important role in the chemical signals in her brain.
Virginia Commonweath University’s schools of dentistry and medicine spent eight weeks on the build.
“She loves the Fisher-Price See 'n Say 'The Farmer Says' toy!,” her family wrote. “Her favorite animal on the wheel is the rooster.”
Ninja Turtle demolition derby car
Craig Denton III, 6, of Toms River, New Jersey, “loves to ram things with his wheelchair,” so his family said a demolition derby car is perfect for their beloved “rough little boy.”
The Ninja Turtle demolition derby car was built for "Mighty Craig" by students and staff at Heritage Middle School in Livingston, New Jersey.
Craig has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, among some other health issues, according to his family. He has had five surgeries to date and has more pending in the future.
“Despite being in constant pain and having multiple seizures a day, Craig is the happiest, strongest, most amazing little boy,” his family wrote.
Weimer said he is thrilled with how much joy his nonprofit’s efforts brings to these kiddos, but in order to keep growing, “we need the big support behind us to keep this up,” he told ABC News.
“We’ve got magicians at bay waiting to do the magic, but we just need the help and donations to do it,” he said.
Disney is the parent company of ABC News.