Canes and Costumes

Kelly Coleman stands in a red Halloween costume holding her white cane.

Canes and Costumes

There are those that have a hard time accepting a cane, and for a long time I was one of them. I was told it made me “look blind,” which was something I wanted to avoid at all costs. No kid likes feeling different, and I was no exception.

But while I didn’t grow up loving my cane, I did, and still do, love Halloween. I enjoy the opportunity to dress up, to be someone else for a day, and to put my own spin on a costume.

Through the years, along with self-confidence and training, I have found ways to make my cane, which is practical in terms of navigation, something fun. For example, I like to incorporate it into my Halloween costumes. This gives my costumes a fun extra prop, but also can help educate others at a party, or when I take my nieces and nephews trick-or-treating.

The actual decorating was tricky at first. I always want to make sure it’s decorated well, but that it’s light enough to use. This requires some trial and error. However, that doesn’t mean decorating my cane is expensive.

One year, I dressed up as a witch and made my cane into a broom. I wrapped brown duct tape around it to create the handle, and taped straw near the bottom so it looked like a broom (but I could still tap it). Another year, I dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood and my cane became a sign that read, “WANTED! Hunters to find a granny-eating wolf. Reward in basket.” I wrote the sign on a little piece of cardboard and stuck it on top of my cane.

I think the year I gained the most attention was when I was Darth Vader and made my cane a light saber simply by wrapping it in red glow-in-the-dark tape. It was longer, brighter, and more powerful than any toy.

I like to think those who asked about it were shown that a cane isn’t just used as a tool for navigation, but can also be a fun way to enhance a costume. I hope it made them less nervous around blind people and people with disabilities in general.

Happy Halloween!