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Target just launched Halloween costumes for kids with disabilities

Target is not just making life easier for kids with mobility or sensory issues. It’s throwing down the gauntlet to the rest of the industry to do better for these kids.

Target just launched Halloween costumes for kids with disabilities
[Photo: Target]

For kids with disabilities—whether that involves sensory or mobility issues—finding a halloween costume can be hard work. Since it’s close to impossible to find a costume off the rack at a store, parents need to make something themselves or find an organization that will help them.

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Parenting blogs offer creative ideas for kids in wheelchairs, but many require real carpentry skills. This adorable Mr. Rogers trolley, for instance, requires attaching cardboard to the wheelchair with dowels and adding a caving headlamp to the device, too. There is also a nonprofit called Magic Wheelchair that builds epic costumes for kids in wheelchairs at no cost to families. The organization relies on donations and fundraising to create incredible costumes, including a Captain America rocket ship and a Cinderella carriage. You can also buy an adaptive costume from Etsy, but that can be pricey and you will have to order it months in advance.

[Photo: Target]

All of this takes a lot of time, effort, and planning, which is hard for parents who already feel stretched thin. But Target is here to save the day. The brand has launched an affordable line of adaptive halloween costumes that allow kids with a range of disabilities to trick or treat in style.

For kids in wheelchairs, there’s a princess dress and carriage, or a pirate outfit and ship. Target’s designers put a lot of thought into making these costumes easy to assemble and put on. The outfits, which cost between $20 and $25, have openings in the back that make them easier to put on. The ship and carriage wheelchair covers, which cost $45 each, are designed to fit easily onto wheelchairs of various sizes using a hook-and-loop closure.

[Photo: Target]

[Photo: Target]
Meanwhile, for children with autism or other sensory issues, Halloween can be a a difficult holiday to navigate. They might find costumes with rough textures, buttons, and zippers uncomfortable and overstimulating. And trick or treating can also be overwhelming, since it involves visiting new places or interacting with new people. To make the holiday easier for kids with sensory issues, Target created a unicorn and shark costume, at $30 each, that are designed to be extra soft and contain flat seams with no tags. There is also a hidden opening in the front for convenient abdominal access for children who might have special needs that require access for medical equipment.

By providing easy, off-the-rack adaptive costumes, Target is leading the charge in becoming more inclusive, and its efforts could also push the rest of the industry to step up and do better. American consumers spend $9 billion a year on Halloween, with an estimated 68% of that going to costumes. Many big-box stores stock their shelves with dozens if not hundreds of new costumes every year. It’s not that hard to add adaptive costumes to the mix.

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About the author

Elizabeth Segran, Ph.D., is a staff writer at Fast Company. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts

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