Family Is Town Favorite With Son's "Wizard of Oz" Wheelchair Costume

If you were planning to dress like Dorothy, the Tin Man or the Scarecrow this Halloween, beware: You’ve already lost the “Wizard of Oz” costume contest to a Georgia family that has a green-suited wizard in a hot air balloon.

Tucker Lanier, 13, suffers from Hunter Syndrome, or mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) Type II, a genetic and degenerative disease. Lanier can walk without assistance, but for lengthy distances like trick-or-treating around his neighborhood, outside Savannah, a wheelchair is easier.  

Every Halloween, Lanier’s mother Casey Hurst, stepfather Jason Hurst, and younger brother Dylan Lanier, 10, dress up together as a family and incorporate Tucker's chair into their theme. Last year, they went as characters from Mario Cart with Tucker as Bowser— and his big reveal has become somewhat of a local phenomenon.

“We throw around about 100 ideas every year,” Jason Hurst (who is a professional photographer) tells Yahoo Shine. “We’ve always wanted to do the “Wizard of Oz” and when the new movie came out [“Oz, The Great and Powerful”], we thought a hot air balloon would be a lot easier.”  

While their homemade Oz outfits are certainly awesome, they’re not the only family to go above and beyond to make their kid feel comfortable (and cool) in a wheelchair on Halloween. Last year, a father built his son Carter, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, an ice cream truck with a full-service window filled with waffle cones. In fact, Tucker will have some competition coming his way on October 31. “We have a friendly competition among the MPS II parents to see who can come up with the best family costume each year,” Hurst says. 

“We feel that while wheelchairs sometimes can be a sight that people are afraid of during Halloween, it is a really cool prop that kids can incorporate into their costumes,” Janelle LoBello, Communications Coordinator for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, tells Yahoo Shine. “Their costumes are unique, and even though they're living with these disabilities, they can really stand out. And their costumes are even a little more original.”