Everyone should be able to participate in Halloween festivities. It’s a fun holiday where children (and adults!) dress up in costumes of their favorite characters. But for children with disabilities, both sensory and mobility, it’s more difficult to find a costume that fits their needs. Most often, parents have to make their own costumes. It shouldn’t be that difficult to have fun.
This year, Target is putting an end to the struggle for families of disabled children. The retailer has launched an affordable line of adaptive Halloween costumes that allow children of all sorts of disabilities to still trick-or-treat with their family and friends. They can dress up, just like everyone else, and no longer feel discouraged.
About the new brand
In the past, parents had to mostly rely on arts and crafts to make their own costumes for their children with disabilities. They could refer to parenting blogs, which offered creative ideas for kids in wheelchairs, but many of these suggestions required carpentry skills. If a parent didn’t have those skills, what could they do? They would have to rely on outside resources, like Magic Wheelchair (a non-profit organization that builds costumes for children in wheelchairs at no cost) or purchase custom-made costumes from Etsy suppliers.
But now, Target has made it even easier for families of disabled children to purchase ready-to-wear adaptive costumes for Halloween. The collection, Hyde and Eek! Boutique, is offering four disability-friendly costumes and two themed wheelchair covers. Target’s new product appears to be the first disability costume offering from a major retailer. The news comes two years after Target released adaptive clothing for children with disabilities and select articles of clothing for kids with sensory issues. Target’s latest brand has been long overdue, and it will hopefully inspire other companies to follow its lead in offering Halloween costumes for everyone — regardless of their disability. So, what exactly is going to be available?
Wheelin’ your way to Candy Land
For children in wheelchairs, they no longer have to worry about being left out of the Halloween fun. Target released two costume options – a princess costume and a pirate ensemble – for kids who use wheelchairs. According to the online store descriptions, the costumes are “thoughtfully designed with a decorative pirate ship and princess carriage wheelchair covers.” The covers, which retail for $45 each, are easy to assemble and put onto wheelchairs, using a hook-and-loop closure. The outfits, costing between $20 and $25, have openings in the back that make them easier to put on, as well. Kids can suit up as a princess or pirate and wheel their way to Candy Land this Halloween, collecting all the candy they want.
Target’s new retail line also offers costumes for children with autism or other sensory issues. Regular Halloween costumes might have too many buttons, uncomfortable zippers, or have rough textures for these children to wear. Instead, Target released sensory-friendly unicorn and shark costumes to accommodate children with these sensitivities. The costumes, retailing at $30 each, feature “an allover plush construction for a soft and cozy feel.” In addition, they have “flat seams with no tags” and a “hidden opening in the front pocket for convenient abdominal access.” The costumes also have the option for children to remove any attachments they find uncomfortable. Sometimes, Halloween can be overwhelming enough on its own. Now, it will be easier for children with sensory issues to feel comfortable while they’re trick-or-treating.
Being more inclusive
Target is leading the efforts to become more inclusive, hopefully pushing other companies to step up and be more inclusive, as well. American consumers spend $9 billion a year on Halloween, with an estimated 68-percent of that profit towards costumes. To many parents of disabled children, it shouldn’t have taken this long for a company to consider adding adaptive costumes to their store shelves. What changes will be made next?