Costumes for Wheelchair Users on a Budget

Halloween is coming! As a mother of three kids, I have learned how to be a savvy shopper and not spend more than $10 per kid.

Easy DYI Halloween Costumes

When my son was young, I put a black sweatsuit on him and blew up a bunch of purple balloons. Voila! He was a bunch of grapes. That same year, my daughter was a fan of any television show that had zombies. I took an old, oversized sweatshirt, cut it in various spots and put brown paint on it to represent dirt. Then I add red paint to represent blood stains, painted her face with black eyes and made her hair extremely messy. She enjoyed that Halloween outfit more than any expensive outfit that was previously gifted to her.

As far as adult costumes, I put my husband in an all-white sweatsuit. I covered him in cotton balls, gave him a top hat and a toy pipe. Just like that, he became a snow man. For myself, I had to be creative. I cut out a cardboard box and placed it across my legs to look like a desk. I put an apple, planner and cup on my cardboard desk. I grabbed my glasses and put a dress on. Just like that, I was a teacher for the day!

Visit Second-Hand Stores

If you lack creativity, both the Salvation Army and Goodwill stores both have items that you can mix and match and stay around $10. The goal is to have fun. Remember, Halloween is just one day out of the whole year. Make the most of it.

Check out your local Dollar and Family Dollar stores and hit up yard sales. You can get great ideas on YouTube, Pinterest, and your local arts and craft store. I am a firm believer that there is no right or wrong when it comes to displaying your artistic talents. The goal is to just have fun.


As my kiddos got older, we moved from dressing up to participating in Trunk-or-Treats at the local schools and community centers. We let the kids pick the theme for the last three years. My youngest son is a huge “Peanuts” fan. We decorated the car with some of his stuffed animals, including Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and Peppermint Patty. He cut up a white pillowcase and placed it over all the characters and they officially became the “Peanut Ghosts.” We won that year for the most creative trunk.

My Costume This Year

This year, it took a lot to gather the family up and attempt to do something for Halloween. We are still trying to social distance during this pandemic. I had to put together a last-minute costume for myself. I cut up an old black dress and purchased some horns from a yard sale. I created my version of Maleficent also know to my neighborhood as Merlisha the “Mer-lificent.” To limit contact, we passed out candy to the kids in the neighborhood by placing candy bags on the table.

I am always surprised when I pull off something and others like it. It always makes me chuckle when I get a compliment and get to say, “This old thing?”

About Merlisha Henderson: Merlisha uses an Edge 3 Power Wheelchair for mobility and lives in Arizona with her family. As a wife, mother and disability advocate in her community, she stays active and independent, working toward bringing equality and access to all. Click here to learn more about Merlisha.

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