Halloween is one of the best holidays for kids with all the dressing up and endless supplies of candy... but one company has made it their mission to ensure children in wheelchairs can still take part in the festivities by designing free costumes that fit around their needs.
Magic Wheelchair was created by Ryan Weimer, whose son was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy shortly after he was born.
On their website, Weimer gave some insight into how the idea came about, writing: "We have 5 children. My first son, Keaton, was diagnosed at 9 months old with SMA and this diagnosis has forever changed our family and how we do things. I could write you a long, sometimes difficult, but ultimately amazing story of our adventures with our children and SMA, but for now, let's just say that we have to look at life through a different set of lenses than the average man or woman.
"That's what really set this whole project in motion five years ago when Keaton got his first wheelchair. Enter Halloween 2008," he continued. "'Hey, pal. What do you want to be for Halloween?' I ask. Keaton thinks for no more than a second and responds, 'A pirate.' My thoughts go a little like this, 'Ah, cool, at least he doesn't want to be Dora the Explorer, one of his favorite shows at the time.' A couple of days later I had one of those moments when my brain decides it's the best time for thinking - this usually seems to happen way too early in the morning when I should be sleeping or in the shower - but during this magical thinking moment I realized, 'Keaton has this wheelchair he cruises around in, and every pirate needs a ship, so let's just build one around his chair!'
"I didn't know how I was going to do it, but I knew it could be done somehow. I don't believe that any goals, dreams, or aspirations in life can't be achieved. And besides, I was only building a pirate ship, not finishing a Ph.D. in engineering. I drew out some rough plans and had to start over once or twice, but in the end, we came out with a pretty awesome pirate ship for Keaton to sail around in for Halloween."
This is what started their non-profit business. And now, each year, Magic Wheelchair selects a group of children to receive a free Halloween costume, with their vision in mind.
They've created a variety of costumes, including; superheroes, Transformers, airplanes, Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon, princess carriages, and loads more.
Weimer has opened up about the process, writing: "Ultimately, creating each costume provides an awesome experience: taking something from Keaton's imagination and seeing it realized as we hit the streets with our kids leading the way. People are amazed and it is a great opportunity for us to let people know about SMA and MD."
Magic Wheelchair's mission is to create unforgettable moments for children who might otherwise miss out on being part of the magic Halloween has to offer.