The people embracing their disabilities for Halloween

UGC and Social News
BBC News

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April uses Halloween to highlight and celebrate her disability

For some with physical disabilities Halloween has become an opportunity to embrace their bodies and celebrate difference.

A number of people are sharing photographs of their creative costumes which highlight and incorporate their disability.

April, from Chicago, US, shared a photo of herself dressed up with the caption "Halloween is Christmas for us amputees", an image that has been up-voted more than 115,000 times on Reddit.

April told the BBC that she wanted to "share some portion of my experience" to help others with disabilities see their bodies more positively.

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April dressed in a similar way last year, and says she learned her make up skills from online tutorials

And she said she has been delighted that others have shared their own examples.

One Reddit user wrote: "I'm missing half my right leg. Halloween two years ago I would lay on the floor in front of the front door in a pool of fake blood and my girlfriend would answer trick or treaters with blood on her shirt and a fake meat cleaver. Reactions were priceless."

Another said: "My mum is a double amputee and when older trick or treaters come she has me pull her prosthetic arm off and run around with it."

April said that she has reached a "peaceful medium" where she has accepted her body and wants to "find every way to take advantage of it".

While many people applauded her creativity and attitude, some pointed out that those with disabilities face real barriers which cannot be overcome with positivity alone.

'Legitimate limitations'

One Reddit user wrote: "A plucky attitude is not going to make up for a lack of wheelchair ramps. It's true that a defeatist attitude can be your undoing, but there are legitimate limitations and challenges that don't care whether or not you 'let them be'".

Former Paralympian Josh Sundquist describes himself as a "Halloween enthusiast" and has created a number of amazing costumes which celebrate his physique.

This year the US stand-up comedian dressed up as the genie from Aladdin, inspired by Disney animator Broose Johnson, who has two prosthetic legs.

Josh was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer when he was nine and subsequently had his left leg amputated.

Josh told the BBC that as a teen he wore a prosthesis everyday: "I didn't want people to know I had one leg," he said.

"It takes a long time to make the psychological adjustment to be comfortable with your body after an amputation."

It was this acceptance of his body that enabled him to make his costumes.

He said: "Without embracing the way my body is, it would be impossible."

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The unveiling of his Halloween costumes have become eagerly awaited events for his fans, with his latest costume garnering cheers of "awesome", "amazing" and "so creative".

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Josh says that he shares his creations to "interrupt people's day with something that might delight them".

In 2013, John decided to mix his creativity with his seemingly impressive upper-body strength to dress as a flamingo.

Toni, 28, from Kent, UK, lost her eye a few years ago to cancer.

She shared an image of herself dressed as Carl Grimes, a character who loses his eye in the zombie-apocalypse show The Walking Dead.

She wrote: "I think humour helps with the loss [of my eye] as well as knowing I did the right thing getting it removed."

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Image caption,
Toni's costume highlights the loss of her eye

Toni told the BBC that since losing her eye she has come to "understand how little our appearance really matters" and that sharing the photo was a way of confronting people's ideas about appearance.

Referring to her own appearance Toni said she struggles with the representation of disability in the media - "usually only villains wear eye patches" - though she said that is slowly changing.