Students build wicked costumes for Mary Free Bed patients

a photo of students building.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Jane Weatherford
Students participating in Halloween Heroes.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Jane Weatherford
a photo of students building.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Jane Weatherford
a photo of students building.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Jane Weatherford
a photo of students building.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Jane Weatherford
a photo of students building.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Jane Weatherford

For the third year in a row, a group of students from Grand Valley partnered with Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital to design and construct Halloween costumes for children who use power mobility devices, like wheelchairs. 

The 27 costume requests this year ranged from a mermaid, a princess and a pony to Batman, a flying magic carpet and the Polar Express train. About 40 Grand Valley students, including many engineering majors, designed and built the costumes during two build days on October 13 and 20. 

Jake Stephens, an engineering graduate student from Lowell, helped organize the team of student volunteers. He said traditional Halloween costumes are often hidden when a child sits in a wheelchair, so their costume designs incorporate wheelchairs and other mobility devices used by the young patients. 

"The best part is seeing the joy on the kids' faces when they put on their new costumes," said Stephens.

Students will put finishing touches on the costumes October 26 before the children show off their costumes October 27 in a Halloween parade at Mary Free Bed. 

The project, Halloween Heroes, is a collaboration among between Mary Free Bed, Grand Valley and Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. The costume-building effort is organized by Mary Free Bed Guild member Mary Krauss and Jane Weatherford, whose son, Cam, has cerebral palsy.