Harrison's Halloween Costumes
Eight-year old Harrison Mylowe, a resident of Hopewell Express, dresses up in a unique Halloween costume each year that is designed specifically to accommodate his wheelchair. Mylowe’s family and aides help design this costume to assure that his cerebral palsy does not hinder him from enjoying Halloween from much as every other child.
The idea first came to Mylowe’s parents five years ago, during Hurricane Sandy. “When Harrison was five, he wanted to dress up for Halloween as a mail carrier, and we had nothing to do since the lights were out due to Hurricane Sandy, so we took a cardboard box and built (the mail carrier) around his walker,” Harrison’s mom, Carolyn Mylowe said.
For the first two years, the costumes were built out of cardboard, and only took a couple of hours to create. However, as Harrison’s dad Nick Mylowe explains, “Once we got into the bigger ones, they would take a couple full weekends.”
The Mylowes face their fair share of obstacles when creating these costumes each year. “One of the obstacles is making sure that the costume is maneuverable with the wheelchair in it, because he’s trick-or-treating so we’ve got to go up and down curves and on sidewalks. It also goes to the school parades, so it has to be small enough to move down the hallways and for us to push it easily without running into anything large,” Nick Mylowe said.
However, through this hard work, the Mylowes have come up with some unique costumes throughout the years, as Nick is “very talented, and I’m somewhat crafty and creative,” Carolyn Mylowe said. In previous years, Harrison has dressed up as a firefighter truck, an ice cream truck, a UPS truck, and a garbage truck, just to name a few. These costumes add to Harrison’s already enjoyable Halloween experience; according to his mom, he is “a chocoholic.”
Along with his parents, Harrison’s four-year old sister Adelaide Mylowe also lends a hand in creating the costumes. “She helps us paint the decorations. His sister loves (making the costumes) and sometime she even rides on the back of the trucks,” Carolyn Mylowe said.
The appeal of these costumes is heightened by the effort from Harrison’s school aide, who in pre-school was Debbie Burd. “When he was a mail carrier, she was a letter. When he was a UPS truck, she was a package, and when he was Mr. Softie, she was ice cream cone. (That year), she even handed out ice cream.”
“Last year, when he was a firefighter, his aide at school dressed up as a dalmatian to go along with it, which was great,” she added. Harrison’s current aide is Mike Saraison.
In fact, last year’s celebrations were special for Harrison’s father, a teacher at Montgomery High School. “Last year, word spread around that Harrison was dressing up as a firefighter. My wife is friends with a local firefighter down in Titusville, so her and two other paid full-time firefighters in the township decided that they would go see Harrison in the school parade,” he said.
“When I got there, I noticed that one of my old students, who is now a full time firefighter, was there, and he came when he noticed the last name Mylowe because he know it’d be me and my son. So it was very moving to see an old student of mine supporting,” he continued.
Other than the school parade, Harrison and his costume occasionally enter and even win some competitions. “Well he does the school parade. We also did a parent at my parent’s house. A couple of years ago, when he was a garbage truck, he won the Vito’s Pizza costume contest and got a gift card for pizza.”
After trick-or-treating in various neighbourhoods around Hopewell and collecting some of his favorite candy, Twix, Harrison and his family donate the costumes to other special needs children. “After sitting in our family room for a while, they are advertised on Facebook pages for other families of special needs children, and I mention what wheelchair we use so hopefully it could work as a costume with their wheelchair,” Carolyn Mylowe said.
“Plus we want somebody else to have the opportunity. Harrison becomes somewhat of a local celebrity by using them and we want other kids, who maybe don’t have the handiest dad in the world, to be able to have the same experience,” she added. Usually, the costumes are donated to families around New Jersey, however the garbage truck costume was donated to the Hopewell Valley Safety Town program.
Harrison added his own perspective on the value of donating, mentioning that he wants others with special needs to enjoy Halloween as much as he does. “My parents can advertise them to the community and it’s a great experience for me.”
The Mylowes already have some ideas of what sort of costumes they want to make in the future. “We’ve talked about doing a school bus, the tram car from Wildwood, and an ambulance,” Carolyn Mylowe said.
Overall, the Mylowes enjoy the experience of creating and donating these unique Halloween costumes.“It gives him a lot of pride. He’s so different in many ways and he’s in a mainstream school, so it’s really cool to get recognized and to be pretty awesome,” Carolyn Mylowe said.
“As long as he feels he can be part of Halloween like every other child, that’s my (goal). I want him to enjoy the night just as every other kid,” Nick Mylowe adds.
“It feels good to dress up. I thought I’d never get to do something like this, and Mom and Dad have been very helpful,” Harrison concludes.
Harrison, 8, is in second grade at Stony Brook Elementary School in Pennington. He is a part of The Miracle League for baseball and the Club Scouts. He also likes to swim and spend time with his family. Aledaide, 4, is currently in preschool. Carolyn Mylowe, 37 is a nurse practitioner, and Nick Mylowe, 36, has been a Technology Education teacher at Montgomery High School for the past 14 years.
View Online Publication
View Print Publication