All Saints Day is fast approaching and this year our parish is hosting its first trunk or treat for children dressed in saint or biblical figure costumes. I discovered many creative Halloween costumes online for children with special needs as well as great saint costume examples, so I wanted to suggest options that could be used to transform our children into saints for All Saints Day or Halloween.
Be a Royal Saint
Fabric, gold or silver accents, cardboard, jewel embellishments, and crafting supplies can turn a stroller or wheelchair into a royal throne. Shower of Roses depicts a St. Margaret of Scotland costume using a princess costume, veil, and homemade crown. Add a basket with a loaf of bread or roses for St Elizabeth of Hungary. While they are lesser-known saints, there are several saints who were kings including St. Louis IX and St. Edward the Confessor. Catholic Icing has a section on saints who were royalty, including suggested accessories, on their webpage, “All Saints Day Costumes for Boys”.
Take Heavenly Inspiration for Your Costume
Transform your mobility device into heavenly clouds using posterboard, string, cotton batting, and glitter. Angel wings attached to the back of the device and an angel costume transform a boy into St. Gabriel while a long white t shirt, white veil, and a blue sash and cape complete an Our Lady of the Assumption costume for girls.
Have You Considered a Saint on Horseback?
The website, Katherine Learns Stuff, outlines how to convert a stroller or wheelchair into a horse. The cardboard horse could also be attached to a gait trainer. A St. Joan of Arc costume can be made with a gray or white t-shirt, skirt, and a breastplate or tunic. There are some great no-sew felt options for medieval tunics online. For a boy, consider a long white t-shirt, breastplate, red cape (or half of a red cape), and a Roman soldier helmet to be St. Martin de Tours. Catholic Inspired shares a method to create a neat accessory for St. Martin de Tours to complete the Roman look.
Break Out a Quill or Pen
Team Nikhil’s website, “Thinking about a wheelchair-costume for Halloween,” describes an easy way to make a desk out of a cardboard box. If your child uses a tray on his/her wheelchair, taping on wood-grain patterned contact paper can change it into the look of a wooden desk. Accessory books can be made by covering the outside of any hard-backed book with a paper bag and writing the name of the book on the front (or printing out a picture of the cover to tape on). For boys, a St. Jerome costume can be made using a long brown t-shirt and sackcloth. Add a stuffed animal lion, a feather, ink (small jar with black Playdoh), and the Vulgate to complete the look. Your child can transform into St. Francis de Sales by wearing an oversized white collared shirt with a blue t-shirt and cross over it along with a copy of An Introduction to the Devout Life. Catholic Icing has good costume examples for the Evangelists on their web page, “All Saints Day Costumes for Boys”.
For a modern-day saint, use a red polo and khakis along with a cardboard laptop open to his The Eucharistic Miracles of the World website (http://www.miracolieucaristici.org/en/Liste/list.html) to make your son into Blessed Carlo Acutis. For girls, a black nun habit accessorized with the Divine Mercy image and her diary makes a good St. Faustina costume while a Carmelite habit costume, roses, and The Story of a Soul create St. Therese of Lisieux. Catholic All Year has a blog post on making saint costumes from t-shirts that could be helpful to make both looks. St. Faustina could be adapted from the St. Francis Xavier Cabrini costume suggestion by skipping the bow and adding white masking tape along the veil and collar.
Sail on the Sea of Galilee
This year, my son will be going as St. Andrew. He will be wearing a costume made out of t- shirts inspired by the image of St. Andrew with a cardboard “X” cross attached to the back of his walker. Netting with laminated construction paper fish attached by safety pins will hang from one side of his walker while a bucket (for treats and saint cards) will be attached to the other side. His brother will be going as St. Peter with the addition of keys to his blue and yellow t-shirt costume. A boat made from cardboard or brown poster board with the fishing net could be added to a wheelchair or stroller as another option for these saint costumes.
Dress as a Saint with a Disability
All Saints Day can be a wonderful opportunity to share with others about holy men and women who had disabilities. I have recently learned about Blessed Benedetta Bianchi Porro and have been so inspired by her faith despite the many challenges she faced in her lifetime. St. Margaret of Castello is a fantastic example of service to neighbors despite being blind and using a cane. Her costume can be made with t-shirts using the Third Order Dominican habit as inspiration. Finally, while he lived before wheelchairs were used, Blessed Hermann of Reichenau, who had cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and a cleft palate, accomplished many musical and scientific feats. His costume can be constructed using a homemade Benedictine monk habit , an astrolabe (made from cardboard and a pushpin), books (Latin, math, history, theology to name a few), and the sheet music for Salve Regina.
Share your ideas in the comments below!