9-year-old Girl’s Wheelchair Becomes a Princesse’s Chariot

Like most 9-year-old girls, my daughter is somewhat obsessed with the movie “Frozen.” Early on, she decided she wanted to be Elsa for Halloween. Since Dalia is confined to a wheelchair, we challenged ourselves to turn her wheelchair into a winter sleigh as part of her costume. My husband cut the sides of the sleigh out of plywood, and then we turned the project over to our 12-year-old son to design. He chose to make the ice castle on one side of the sleigh and asked our babysitter to draw Olaf on the other side. The whole family painted the sleigh together, which was clearly a success because our 7-year-old decided it was “much more fun than watching t.v.”  We slipped dowels through three different points in the wheelchair, drilled holes in the sleigh panels, and hung the panels from the dowels. We attached painted silver sparkly runners underneath each side of the sleigh with glued wood pieces that our son helped our daughter to paint.

This was the first time we’ve made a costume from scratch. (By comparison, our boys went as Steve from Minecraft and Batman.) We had so much fun working on this project three evenings in a row. It was 1,000 times more rewarding than simply waiting for a purchased costume to arrive in the mail.

The next issue was figuring out how to make the holiday feel inclusive for our daughter, who can’t eat. The night before Halloween I went to several neighbor’s homes to give them non-edible “treats” they could give to her when we came trick or treating. On Halloween, they were all prepared. One neighbor even stood on the sidewalk and serenaded her with “Let it Go.” Our daughter can’t speak either, but her beaming smile let us know just how happy she was with the entire evening.

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