Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

The last few years we have gone to a mall for Malloween, but this year they announced that they were no longer doing it. Looking at the weather report, I was panicking. The day before Halloween, a second mall announced that they would do Malloween. YEAAA!!! Whew! Thomas does not run well in the rain.

It worked out perfectly because it poured rain yesterday! Just downpoured all day long. We kept thinking it would let up, but it did not. We hit the mall and made our rounds there. It's a small mall, which was perfect.

Now, in the online world wheelchair costumes are not that uncommon, you can Google and see hundreds of them. In my real world, they don't exist. I have never seen one in real live other than the ones that I've made for Kinger, not before and not after. So, pretty good assumption that no one else around here has ever seen one either, especially based on the reactions he got at the mall. Nearly everyone we passed stopped to comment or stare. Kids came up to touch it, people parted to let him through, many of the store employees gave him extra candy... Kingsley was a little celebrity. It was really cute.

Unless you are Rachel and you are dressed as the BEST Tinkerbell there ever was and you're even wearing REAL MAKE UP and have your best Tinkerbell smile permanently plastered to your face... and no one notices because your brother is a rockstar. About halfway through the mall she asked if she and Cordelia could go ahead without us. She did not like being overlooked, the poor thing.

It was still pouring when we got home, so King had to stay at home while the girls and I hit the few houses in the neighbourhood. The handfuls of candy for braving the weather definitely cheered Rachel up.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Thomas the Train

Kingsley, like most kids his age it seems, has become infatuated with Thomas the Train, so it was an obvious choice for his costume this year. After the success with his pirate ship last year, I'll admit I was a little nervous. Fortunately for me, my cousin Natalie moved here last month to take a job at the big theatre here and she's in charge of props. She's crafty. ;)

We started with a box and a 'blueprint' as Rachel fondly called it. I tried drawing pictures of how I thought it could work.

my supplies in the top right: boxes; extra wide, black gorilla tape; red electrical tape; yellow electrical tape; blue spray paint; plumbing piece; and black spray paint that I didn't end up using

Second came cutting, which is extremely scientific and basically involves me dropping a box on Kingsley's head, taking it off, cutting, putting it back on, repeat, repeat, repeat until I realize the box is all wrong, toss the box aside and start again with a new box. I just cut space for the box to slide down over his wheelchair and rest on the various points along the side between his wheels and the chair. Then cut a bit out for his arms to reach the wheels easily.

Next came more technical work - tape. I bought this incredibly strong tape called Gorilla Tape. It makes duct tape look like stickers. I taped all the seams and bends and any point I thought might need reinforcing. This also makes it a tad weather resistant since we do live in Canada and there's a decent chance we may have rain or snow on Halloween.

Once taped, I spray painted it blue. And then painted it again because I'm a very uneven sprayer.

That's when Natalie stepped in and went to work turning a blue box into Thomas the Train.

She used electrical tape for his red lines and his yellow and red #1. We used more Gorilla Tape to make his neck (?? head??) and his bumper in the front, as well as his second set of wheels. His funnel was a random plumbing thing we found at Home Depot that was taped on with more Gorilla Tape and then stuffed with some fluff that Nat just happened to have lying around. Natalie drew his face on paper that we stuck to spare box scraps.

I had to fit his over the front of his wheelchair and leave the back open because of his casts and wheelchair modification in the front. Last year, the ship just dropped over top of him and was closed in the front and back, making it easy to lift him straight up and out. With his casts, there's no lifting him straight up. It tips forward off of his chair and I can get him out that way.

He is quite smitten with it. He had a Halloween party at his playgroup this morning and was so excited to drive Thomas around. For his actual costume, I tried to copy Thomas's drivers who wear blue suits and ties with a blue hat. I couldn't find a hat anywhere and a blue sweater (that he took off) and bow tie were the closest I could come to the rest.

If you have a kid on wheels and want more costume ideas or DIY instructions, take a look at:

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I realize I'm dreadfully overdue for a Halloween report, to the point where no one even cares about Halloween anymore! But, some big things happened on Halloween, so trudge through it.

Firstly, Kingsley rocked his boat. He has been asking at regular intervals to go to a Halloween party and anything remotely resembling a pirate his him growling: "I'm a piwate! AARGGH!!" He was a huge spectacle (like that's new) and everywhere we went on Halloween he was fawned over. I'm telling you, wheelchair costumes are unheard of here, to the point that a lot of people did double and triple takes before they realized that it was actually a wheelchair and not just some insane mom putting a huge box on their child and making them walk around with it.

Halloween morning, King had his follow up with his neurosurgeon. The MRI had shown nothing that would cause the eye issues. Great news! Especially since his eyes have gone back to normal...?? We're all a bit baffled. I have photographic evidence, this crazy eye thing was witnessed by a lot of people, it wasn't in my head. Now it's gone and there was nothing to cause it in his brain. His ventricles were a tad bigger, but she has decided that it's because he is bigger and thus, his brain is also. September (and October) were a bunch of mostly-unrelated, flukes that sum up Kinger. Good enough for me!

Except one little blip where she said that at some point he is going to need another decompression because there isn't a lot of space back there. She said we will wait until he needs it, to watch for the signs. Insert knife directly into my heart and twist. Ouch. I'm not thinking about this one. I will deal with it when I need to.

Anyway, next up was a party at his playgroup, home for a nap, and then we got the girls and were ready for Trick or Treating! It was a dark and stormy night, unfortunately. Ever since Rachel was old enough to go out, we have been going Mall'oweening. This has worked out perfectly since curbs, driveways, walkways, and porches are terrible obstacles when you're a wee one on wheels and our malls are accessibility dreams come true. My charming little pirate cleaned up at the mall, to the point where I felt badly for the other kids ;) He got double candy at pretty much every store, despite my protests that a two year old really didn't need *that* much candy. We did attempt a few houses when we got home, which Kingsley was all for, but I was cold and wet and was pretty Halloween'ed out. All in all, a successful day.

Lastly, for those of you who have an interest in wheelchair costumes, Cassie from Beyond Measure has started up a blog to share costume ideas. If you've made a wheelchair costume before and want to share it or if you want to attempt to make one or just like stalking random things, check it out!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Pirate King

When we found out Kingsley was going to be a wheeler instead of a walker, I had a whole bunch of negative thoughts running through my head. In hindsight, there were so many things that I worried about that I really didn't need to at all. However, one of the things I *should* have gotten stressed out about is my lack of creative skill!! In my little corner of the world, kids don't have wheelchair costumes. I've only ever seen them online, but let's be honest, they are pretty cool. I decided last year that King was going to be a big shot this year and have a wheelchair costume of his own, as it would be his first year on wheels.

Brilliant, Jill. Brilliant.

I put it off for weeks and weeks. I literally had no idea how to start. We had a lot of boxes and a pirate costume and time was ticking away. The incredibly crafty, Cassie has been posting How-To instructions on her blog for making the phenomenal costumes she has made for her son over the years. Top on her lists of materials is a glue gun. I don't glue gun. I have used one before and it was messy.

I do, however, use duct tape very efficiently. So, with a couple rolls of tape and a box, I set out on my pirate ship adventure:

Step One: Get a friend who is slightly more crafty than you. My friend, Jen, agreed to help me tackle the pirate ship, which was very good because she kept me focused when I stared blankly at the mess in my TV room and wondered what in the world we should do next.

Step Two: Get a big box and draw a picture of what you want to make. I wanted a pirate ship that would fit in my van (very important!) and that would not impede the use of Kingsley's wheelchair. And if it was easily identifiable as a pirate ship, well that was just gravy.

Step Three: Measure twice... then have someone else measure and then cross your fingers and cut anyway. We started with a long box, but knowing the size of my trunk, knew we'd have to trim it down. It gave us about a foot in front and behind his wheels to work with. We cut out the bottom, then the ends so that we could have them come to a point, then taped it all together. At this point, we were using packing tape. It is forgiving enough to let you redo until you get it right.

After that came some more blind cutting as we tried to figure out how to get the box closer to the ground. We cut out space around his wheels, foot pedal and brakes, along with a hole in the top to allow the handles to go through. Next came a hole in the top for Kingsley to go through.

Step Four: Customize to fit your kid. Once we trimmed enough to make it easily slide down over his wheelchair and trimmed a hole big enough to easily put him in and out without having to dismantle anything, and made sure the brakes, handles, and wheels were all free, we stuck him in and let him wheel around a bit. Quickly, we realized we would need to trim the sides a bit so that he could better reach his wheels. Once that was done, we were set. Out came the Gorilla Tape and all edges were taped up for extra waterproofing and a seamless look... since I am not that skilled with an exacto knife or scissors and it was a bit of a hot, jagged mess. ;)

Step Five: Have your crafty brother-in-law come over and tell you how to pimp the ride. At this point in our adventure, Jen and I were about tapped out in the creativity department. Kevin, who pretty much lives at Home Depot, dropped by and was accosted and asked for input. Some of his suggestions regarding parrots and canons were a bit over our heads, but others like port holes and a crow's nest were completely doable. We hit up Home Depot and were all set. We bought 2 dowels, one thick, one thin, and made a mast out of them with duct tape of course. We cut a hole in a black bandana and slid it over for the sail. Then got a small green fruit basket for the crow's nest (out of my compost bin, not Home Depot!), construction paper (from Rachel's craft bin), and zip ties to attach it. We cut a hole in the bottom of the fruit basket so it would slide down the thicker dowel, then made a tape ring to stop it from sliding too far.

Step Six: Pimp those wheels. Finishing it up was the easiest part, surprisingly. I spray painted (something I've never done before) the boat and mast dark brown and the crow's nest black. When that dried, I cut out 6 black circles and glued them on (with a glue stick, not a gun!) for portholes. They looked rather plain, so then I added yellow rings around them. I cut an anchor out of leftover cardboard and glued that to the front with Gorilla Glue that I had leftover from some other adventure, then added a gold coin chain to the anchor with the same glue. After assembling the sail and crow's nest, I taped on my flag and we were ready to go!

It fit perfectly in my van (phew!) except for the mast, which we assembled in the parking lot of the Halloween party with the zip ties and then had to cut off to go home. My mom suggested zip tying a waterbottle to the back of his chair and then dropping the pole into that, so I'm going to test that idea out today.

I should also mention the Jolly Roger that I made for his mast:

I hadn't planned on doing anything more than the skull and bones, but when I googled to get a better idea of what one looked like, the wheelchair pirate popped up and we knew that he had to have that instead. I modified the wheel into a heart because I love 3E Love and what they represent.

Most importantly, Kingsley LOVES his pirate ship. He sailed around in that thing like a boss. It's a very light costume and the box just rests on his chair, doesn't actually attach in any way. It was WAY easier than I thought it would be, but looks quite impressive if you don't look too closely!

So there, all you uncrafty mama's out there. It is possible. ;) 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

M Argh I

Kingsley had his MRI last week and as usual, he did great. I don't know how we got so lucky, but he rocks the hospital stays. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that rules are constantly bent when he's around in the form of a lot of doting nurses, waterfalls of chocolate milk, unlimited chocolate Timbits, and an iPod that he doesn't have to share. 

Ever since his brief weekend in the hospital and his MRI, King has become obsessed with going back. The hospital is not far from our house, so when we're in the vicinity, he gets very excited. He hollers to go there, turn that way, go back, go see the doctor, go see the Cat in the Hat (there's a big stuffed one at the ER doors). I'm not sure that many kids beg and plead to go to the hospital, but that's my boy. 

We go back on Wednesday to get the results. I'm fairly confident that they won't show anything scary. Which, actually, just typing that made me really nervous about being blindsided... In any case, with his first two MRI's they called me within hours of us coming home to book surgery and that didn't happen this time. I'm taking that as a good sign. 

Wednesday, if you check your calendar, is Halloween, which is how I segue into the amount of pressure I am feeling about Kingsley's costume this year. This and this and this and this (and this and this and this) have caused me intense panic whenever anyone mentions Halloween. I stupidly decided that this was the year I would attempt a wheelchair costume for Kinger. I am not crafty, have I said that enough? My sister sucked all the crafty genes and left me with none, then she moved to the other side of the country so she can't help in these dire circumstances! Fortunately, I have a half-crafty friend and my sister's handy husband was in town. Between the three of us, we have created something that is pretty cool. Or, it will be once I finish it. :)

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