Coolest Homemade Ben and Jerry’s Banana Split Wheelchair Costume
The college where Grandma worked got all new Gateway computers and Grandma wondered if we could use the cool cow motif boxes for Halloween somehow. That got us thinking…
Years ago we read a suggestion in Exceptional Parent magazine to incorporate the wheelchair into the Halloween costume. Obviously, we needed to figure something with cows in it. It occurred to us that if we added a fence to the box and some grass at the bottom, it would look like a whole bunch of cows behind the fence. Then we could make a cow costume for Christopher so he could be one of the cows in the field.
Then the question was what to do for his sister Sarah’s costume. We didn’t want to do the same thing, but we wanted the costumes to coordinate somehow. So we decided that Sarah would be a Ben & Jerry’s Banana Split and Christopher would be a Field of Ben & Jerry’s Cows!
First, Mom and Dad sacrificed themselves to do some “market research” and went to Ben & Jerry’s for ice cream and to get a couple of small Ben & Jerry’s ice cream dishes! (It’s a tough job but someone has to do it!)
Next we took the bottom out of the dish and opened the dish up to lie flat. We made copies, gradually enlarging the images until the scale was appropriate for the box around Sarah’s chair. We taped pieces of cardboard together to fit around Sarah’s wheelchair. Then we covered it with plastic blue and green tablecloths to match the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream dish. We cut the letters and cows out from the templates we had made and started attaching them to the box, referring frequently to our sample dish for accurate placement.
The box easily folded flat for transporting when not around the wheelchair. We attached string loops to the inside of the box for hanging the box from the wheelchair. The loops in the back were adjustable to be able to adjust the height/level of the box. A small piece of 1×1 can be used the inside edge of the box to add stability if the long side is bowing too much.
Sarah wore a pink turtleneck and sweatshirt to be strawberry ice cream. Then we filled a brown paper bag and a white paper bag with crumbled newspaper and placed them on the wheelchair tray as the chocolate and vanilla ice cream. We used an electric carving knife to carve two pieces of foam into banana shapes. We found dark brown textured fabric that we cut into “dripping” shapes for the chocolate sauce. We draped some over the “bananas” and ice cream bags. We cut a head-sized hole in another piece to put over Sarah’s head and hang over her shoulders. Fluffed up batting became the “whipped cream”. The cherry on top was made from the hood of Sarah’s Ladybug costume. We removed the antennae and added a red pipe cleaner as the cherry stem.
(Side note: Sarah’s Christmas ornament this year was a Ben & Jerry’s Banana Split! We used one of the small ice cream bowls. The ice cream scoops were small Styrofoam balls rolled in white, brown and pink paint. The bananas were peapods (for scale) painted a creamy pale yellow. Brown fabric paint was drizzled on top and wisps of batting were glued on. The cherry on top came from a Hi-Ho Cherry-O game. It is one of our favorite Christmas ornaments!)
These two costumes, along with Christopher’s Leaf Pile costume, were the most favorite costumes we ever made. In 2005 we took copies of the photos to give to Ben & Jerry’s when we went on a factory tour!