Last year, Dear Son was a bed bug and this year's costume was destined to be the best and most creative one I've ever done. I even posted about it in January.
Part of the joy of creating these costumes, is talking about them with Dear Son. Dear Son doesn't speak and let's face it, he can't move much so often times he's lying in bed or sitting in the chair and I talk excitedly about how much fun Halloween will be when he's in his costume and how much everyone is going to like it. He's loves a party and he loves being the center of attention. It doesn't matter if it's his birthday party or whatever, he loves it when I tell him everyone will sing, "Happy Birthday" to him or when I tell him everyone will say, "Great costume Dear Son". He just loves it. When you have a child like Dear Son, 90% of the exitement is the "anticipation" of doing something. Unlike other kids, who are able to get around and do more things on their own or even with their families, these kids can't do anything unless someone helps them. One of my main concerns about his "Make a Wish Trip" was whether we'd ever get there. We talked about it for 5 months and then he got the swine flu the day before we were supposed to leave and was on a ventilator. He was in the hosptial for a month and then it took another 6 months to recover. I worried we'd never get there.
Yesterday was no different. I started construction on the costume and spent the better part of the morning cutting up boxes, taping them together and getting the foundation or structure of the costume together. I was hoping to get the prop part of the costume finished this week and then start on the clothing part next week after I knew what the colors would be of the prop. Since Halloween falls on a Monday this year, I decided to email his teacher to verify the date of the Halloween party since Dear Son only attends school on Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays due to his health. The doctor won't allow more days since Dear Son can't make it through the day. I was hoping I could get an exception from the doctor to attend school for Halloween and more importantly, I'd have to make bus arrangements one week in advance in order for them to transport him to school. I thought they might have the party on Friday or Monday and thought I should ask. After all, the whole purpose of this costume is for the party. It's not like we would go Trick or Treating. Dear Son has a feeding tube and can't eat by mouth.
Today, I received this response from his teacher:
"We are not having a Halloween party this year because of a religious conflict with another student in our class. We decided that we would have a fall harvest party (no costumes) and winter and spring holiday parties as the public schools do in order to respect those who do not celebrate the Christian Holidays. Sorry about this but we are obligated to remain sensitive to others' religious views. "
I must say I am quite surprised. In my entire life, I have never met anyone who talked about nor celebrated Halloween in any religious fashion. (My point is not that the religious issue isn't valid but more to the point, that in general, most people don't associate it in a religious context and even many Christian churches still allow Halloween parties.) Even if they had a fall harvest party with a costume, would that have been horrible? I mean, shouldn't the fun of all the kids be considered and couldn't they have done that while still being respectful of everyone? And what is typically done at these Halloween parties anyway? Isn't it just food, music, dancing, dressing up in costumes and having a few good laughs while listening to Monster Mash? That's what they did last year and the kids had a great time.
Overall, I am a bit annoyed. As a mother of a special needs child, Halloween isn't always easy. It's hard finding costumes for your kids when they can't do the things other kids can do. It's not easy when they can't walk taking them out for, "Trick or Treating". I can remember many years we never went out Trick or Treating because Dear Son wasn't feeling well or it just didn't make sense to take a disabled kid out in cold, rainy weather to go Trick or Treating when he couldn't eat the candy nor even say, "Trick or Treat". In fact, when Dear Son was growing up, there was only one year I ever took him out in the neighborhood for Halloween. It was the year, he was the Cat in the Hat. I finally got over worrying about what people would think since he couldn't say, "Trick or Treat" or walk and took him out in his wheelchair. I hooked up his communication device to the foot rest on his wheelchair and programmed in my voice to say, "Trick or Treat". Then I had to train him and tell him that we were going Trick or Treating and telling him that he should push the button with his foot (his left foot was the easiest way for him to operate the communication device since he didn't have any use of his arms/hands) to say, "Trick or Treat" and then people would put candy in his pumpkin. I had to get a special hook for his wheelchair to hold the pumpkin since he couldn't hold it and I couldn't push the wheelchair and hold it. We had a ball. Of course, it wasn't easy. He'd hit the button with his foot when we were between houses and then when we'd get to the door, I'd tell him to say, "Trick or Treat" and hit the button and he wouldn't, lol. We did this through the neighborhood. When people would see him, they would comment on how cute he was and he would smile. He loved all of the attention. Then they would put a million pieces of candy in his bucket. I would tell them he couldn't eat it but I swear, most people would put a giant handful of all kinds of candy in his bucket. That was then.