Knoxville group builds Halloween costumes for wheelchairs

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KNOXVILLE. Tenn. (WVLT)-- Sawing, hammering, and drilling are all sounds you would expect to hear in a workshop. Those same sounds could be heard every Wednesday night in October at First United Methodist Church in Knoxville.

But Pete Capell, the founder of Power of Play, said his shop is a little different. Workers were building costumes for kids in wheelchairs.

"To get kids with and without disabilities hanging out together," Capell said.

Capell said the program was especially important for kids like 6-year-old Eli who has Spina Bifida and sometimes uses a wheelchair.

"The sight of a wheelchair is a little bit daunting," Capell said. "Sometimes it puts kids off."

So Capell and his crew tricked out Eli's ride with a Halloween costume. In 2016, Eli rode a blue dragon.

"If you take that wheelchair and turn it into a dragon, then all of a sudden the person riding that dragon is the center of attention," Cappel said.

Capell said 'Power of Play' in Knoxville aims to foster friendships with kids of all abilities. Halloween of 2017 brought the program's second wheelchair costume contest.

"For a night, they get to feel what it's like to be the cool kid," Capell said.

Last year's judges saw everything from Back to the Future to Cinderella represented in costumes.

In 2017, teams were building costumes for eight children.

"Kids come running, they want to hang out, they want a turn," Capell said. "It's a really nice social way to make some friends. Anything tho make it fun and inclusive at the same time is a good recipe to get people with and without disabilities hanging out."

The public event with a costume contest was scheduled for October 25 at First United Methodist Church in Knoxville.

More information can be found here.