Chair Scare: Halloween Costumes

by Quest Staff on September 1, 2005 - 4:10pm

QUEST Vol. 12, No. 5

When it comes to Halloween, few outfits can beat a wheelchair costume for pure wow! An endless variety of clever wheelchair costumes started life as a box and some coat hangers. Other materials include foam core, sheets, wrapping paper, clear packaging tape, spray paint and creative parents. Most wheelchair costumes can be made for under $10.

Remember some basic safety tips, such as making sure you can see — and be seen — in the dark. Take care that nothing hangs down and gets caught in the wheels. And don’t forget that you and your costume have to fit through the front door.

For links to some good wheelchair costumes, go to

Alien costume

Headless horseman costume

Christmas lights got new life as part of Josh’s 2003 alien spacecraft. Now 11, Josh owes a lot to his mom, Janet, for his many years of fantastic costumes. Janet Cooper encourages parents to start wheelchair costume exchanges in their communities. Josh Cooper of Little Falls, N.J., went headless on Halloween 2002, when he was 8.

Fighter jet costume

Pilot costume

In 2000, in honor of his brother’s joining the U.S. Navy, 6-year-old Josh was a Blue Knights pilot, in a jet with a 6-foot wingspan. Oliver Huston, 6, of Apple Valley, Minn., expertly piloted his airplane through last year’s Halloween.

Got ramps?

RampsIn the “olden days” it was a lot harder to get around in a wheelchair than it is now — but there’s still a long way to go before every place in the United States is wheelchair accessible.

“Got Ramps” is an online interactive game designed by the Smithsonian Museum that shows the big difference a simple ramp can make in the life of a wheelchair user. If you’re trying to get more ramps in your community or school, check it out at

Moe Mendoza — Telethon star

Moe Mendoza, 17, could give some adults a run for their money when it comes to raising funds for MDA. Over the past five years, Moe has raised a whopping $47,107 by mailing an appeal letter to the local media and his large circle of friends and family. He presents the funds to MDA during the Oklahoma City segment of the Telethon.

Moe MendozaIn his letters, the Turpin (Okla.) High School junior writes about his successes (such as making an award-winning piece of furniture in woodshop), his fun times and progress toward finding a cure for his limb-girdle muscular dystrophy.

In last year’s letter he described the new wheelchair MDA helped him buy. “They say it is the ‘Cadillac’ of wheelchairs. I like to think of it as the ‘Lamborghini’ of wheelchairs. I was able to customize it to fit my needs.” His chair is red and black, the colors of the Turpin Cardinals, the high school football team coached by his dad, Mario.

Moe, who uses hand controls to drive a lift van, thinks he might like a career with computers. Just like Jerry Lewis, each year he strives to beat his high score in MDA fund-raising. He’s got a big job ahead of him — last year he raised $12,845!

“Until they find a cure, I want to do my part to help out,” he says.

No votes yet
MDA cannot respond to questions asked in the comments field. For help with questions, contact your local MDA office or clinic or email See comment policy