Like many parents around Halloween, Tony and Deanna Alfano, from Melrose Park, Illinois, work hard to make sure their child has the perfect costume for trick-or-treating.
But finding the right costume for their 8-year-old son Anthony can be a challenge: he is confined to a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy.
But they never let that stop them. The Alfanos want their son to experience the joys of Halloween like any other kid, and not let his disability get in the way.
It all started when he was a baby, and dressed as Elvis:
From a young age, the family decided not to ignore Anthony’s disability, but to have a sense of humor and let it inspire some great costume ideas, like Pinocchio:
When he began using a wheelchair, they began building the costumes around that—and as a result, they stepped up their game, creating more and more amazing, elaborate costumes.
“Since he’s in the wheelchair, we look for things for sitting,” Deanna told Inside Edition.
And they don’t seem to be running low on ideas….
From the Zoltar machine from Big:
To a horse jockey:
…Anthony’s costumes get more impressive with every passing year.
“People started really responding to Anthony’s costumes and expecting it every year,” Deanna told Inside Edition. “My husband growing up was really into Halloween so it just kind of snowballed.”
Anthony’s parents say that although he’s nonverbal, they can tell by the look on his face that he loves the yearly tradition.
“Once he’s in his costume he totally he laughs and smiles and definitely loves the attention,” Deanna added.
The Alfanos made headlines last year when they unveiled their most elaborate costume yet: a Lincoln Memorial snow globe.
“Right after Halloween last year we thought about the Lincoln Memorial and we were like, ‘What can we do to take it a step further?'” she explained to Inside Edition. “And we thought of the snow globe.”
Tony did the construction, Deanna did the makeup… it was an intense labor of love, but it was worth it to create an awesome memory for their son.
“You got to make bubbles if you’re in a snow globe,” Tony told ABC7.
“It’s a lot of work. Every day is an adventure, and you just gotta take what’s given.”
“Halloween is just a day when we can just stop looking at the actual wheelchair and look at the boy in the costume,” Deanna added.
So what’s in store for this year? How do you top the Lincoln Memorial?
Well, the Alfanos took inspiration from Anthony’s favorite TV show…
…And created the set of Wheel of Fortune!
He’s such a big fan of the game show that they knew they had to make him a contestant.
“We watch it every night in our house with Anthony,” Deanna told Inside Edition. “He loves hearing the alphabet, but he has a love for most game shows.”
They predict that this year’s costume will be the biggest hit yet—people won’t be able to resist trying out the real spinning wheel.
“He’s an amazing kid and we get such a kick out of doing it for him,” Deanna explained.
“We almost do it as special thing for all the other kids too. It’s a chance to have other kids rally around him.”
All this work ensures that Anthony will not feel left out on Halloween—on the contrary, for at least one day a year, he’s the star of the show.
“He’s not going to be our superstar baseball player,” Tony told ABC7.