Halloween is a memory maker for kids. The fun of dressing up in costumes, trick or treating, parties, they're all part of the fun of Halloween. But, what about the children in hospitals? What do they do? West Michigan organizations and parents are making sure that a hospital stay or wheelchair doesn’t get in the way this year.

Something very special is happening at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. They are partnering with Owen-Ames-Kimball (OAK), both celebrating their 125th anniversaries and are joining forces to make some Halloween magic by way of the Halloween for the Rest of Us program. Grand Valley State University (GVSU) engineering students are pitching in to design and build wheelchair costume foundations. Then the OAK and Mary Free Bed volunteers will create and construct the costumes. How cool is that?

Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

It all comes together on Saturday, October 29 as Forest Hills Central High School sends in their pep band to lead a Halloween parade. Children and adults currently hospitalized at Mary Free Bed are all included in the parade fun.

Jane and Chris Weatherford are the linchpins of this program. Their 9-year-old son, Cam, has cerebral palsy and uses a power wheelchair to get around. For the past several years, Jane and Chris have transformed the chair into a fire engine, school bus and army tank. This year, Cam is going to be a Grand Rapids Police SWAT officer. His “car” comes complete with lights and sirens.

Saturday, October 29 at 4 p.m. is the big parade, which will be around the Mary Free Bed block (Jefferson Avenue and Wealthy Street) – Cam Weatherford as Grand Marshall

Everyone is welcome!

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