Creative Halloween costume puts boy with cerebral palsy in the driver's seat

Nonprofit group helped family construct Caden's ice-cream-truck look

By Layron Livingston - Reporter

SUNRISE, Fla. - When kids are trick-or-treating, getting the best Halloween candy depends on having the best costume, but for 4-year-old Caden Rucker, it's about much more than that.

Caden suffers from cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to get around. Thanks to a Kansas-based nonprofit organization, Caden’s wheelchair has been incorporated into his Halloween costume this year.

Move over, Good Humor man. There’s a new ice cream man in town. This Halloween, Caden drove the ice cream truck while his twin brother, Caleb, dressed as an ice cream cone.

“People come up to the costume because it's so cool and something different, and the kids are amazed by it so, Caden's not noticed for his disability," said Rachel Rucker, the twins' mother. "I try my best to give them both a great experience in life -- not to hold one back because the other may not be able to do everything."

One day, Rachel came across a Facebook link for Walkin-&-Rollin Costumes, a group that makes custom costumes for children who use special equipment.

Walkin-&-Rollin volunteer Bill Bernhagen lives in Texas and went to work building Caden's ice cream truck from scratch. He shipped it to Florida along with the assembly instructions.

It was Bill's first time fabricating a costume, but not his last.

“It was such a neat opportunity to make someone smile and be included in what we take for granted every day," Bernhagen said.

The costume even comes apart so that Caleb can easily get it in and out of the family’s car, which makes life a lot more convenient for his mother.

"It's been so nice to connect with somebody like that to a total stranger who would do this for my child," Rachel said of Bernhagen.

Caden's ice-cream cruiser was the hit of his Halloween parade, a yearly tradition for preschoolers at Arc Broward -- a nonprofit serving people with disabilities.

"They have all of the same thoughts and feelings as we do," Rachel said. "As a family, we get to go out and do something like every other family would do."

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