Should you dress up as a disabled person for Halloween?

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Tomorrow is Halloween and most people will be dressing up in their favorite costumes but for those of you who don’t have a costume, you may be looking for something easy like dressing up like a disabled person. Is it okay to dress up like a disabled person? If you are not disabled then no it’s not okay to dress up like a disabled person because even though it may seem like just a costume a disabled person may not see it that way.  Disabled people have many challenges every day and when you use disability as a costume it can be taken as insensitive and offensive. Here are a few reasons why you should consider dressing up as something else other than a disabled person for Halloween.

It’s not a costume- Sitting in a wheelchair for a couple of hours and going door to door trick or treating doesn’t even come close to the challenges a wheelchair user may face. At the end of the night, an abled person can decide they don’t want to be disabled anymore but a disabled person will not have that luxury. Disabilities cannot be taken on and off and to treat them in that way can be hurtful. There is nothing wrong with using your mobility aids or assistive devices to make a costume if you have a disability but when you aren’t disabled and pretend you have one that is when it becomes a problem.

Taking away free/ low-cost resources- Sometimes it may be tempting to go to your local charity to get a free or low-cost wheelchair for your Halloween costume but in all honesty when you do that you are taking away free or low-cost resources from people who actually need them. Sometimes when wheelchair users need a new wheelchair they may not necessarily be able to afford one so they may go to their local charity to get a free or low-cost one and taking away these resources because you need a costume just isn’t fair for people who actually need them.

Misrepresent a disability- Living with a disability is a lifestyle, not a costume and when you dress up as a disabled person when you aren’t disabled or represent a disability you do not have you can easily misrepresent a disability. Disability awareness is so important and so many disabilities do not get enough awareness and when you mock disabilities by dressing up as a disabled person it makes it harder for people to spread awareness for these disabilities.

It’s insensitive- An abled person will never understand some of the physical challenges a person with a physical disability goes through every day and we aren’t asking you to all we are asking is that you are compassionate and understanding. Dressing up as a disabled person is everything but being compassionate and understanding but is in fact, insensitive and offensive so unless you are disabled do not dress up as a disabled person.

If you aren’t disabled I strongly discourage you dressing up as a disabled person but if you absolutely must please consult someone with the disability you want to represent so you don’t misrepresent that community. Representing disabilities in the right way is always more important than having a good costume because that is how we spread awareness about various disabilities. Many disabilities need more awareness and you can help by simply taking disability awareness seriously and stop mocking disabilities you know nothing about. Every disability is important and deserves to be heard! If you have any questions about why you shouldn’t dress up as a disabled person for Halloween please leave them in the comments below.

What are you going to be for Halloween? 

5 thoughts on “Should you dress up as a disabled person for Halloween?

  1. That’s all great and thoughtful advice. Given the popularity of the idea of kids dressing up as grandparents, I was curious to hear your advice (especially since I myself may have kids one day).

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  2. If kids want to dress up as grandparents there is nothing wrong with letting them use a walker or cane for a day. Always be sure to donate these devices to charity when your done and don’t keep them around your house because a person with a disability may be able to benefit from them.

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  3. You brought up interesting points I didn’t think of.

    My question though is this: What would you recommend that parents do if they have children who want to, say, dress up as a grandma or grandpa (which often involves a walker of some sort)? Some children dress like that and want to dress like that so I’m genuinely interested in hearing your advice on such cases.

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