COLUMBUS, Ohio — Four years ago, it all started with a school bus costume for Blake Mompher.
Every October since, the attention-getting Halloween costumes for the Delaware, Ohio, resident with spina bifida have become more elaborate and creative, gaining hundreds of likes on social media. There was a fire truck, a local TV meteorologist, and even Kraft macaroni and cheese — which led to him getting a year’s supply of the comfort food from the product’s maker.
The big question this Halloween was what the 9-year-old and his family were going to think of next. The answer: McDonald’s golden French fries.
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Blake’s costume caught the attention of McDonald’s, and a representative reached out to the family to offer him a certificate for a year’s supply of French fries, according to a post from the Team Blake Facebook page, which chronicles Blake’s day-to-day activities.
Blake had originally wanted to be an airplane for Halloween, but he changed his mind about a week before the costume was going to be made, according to his dad, Aric Mompher.
“It’s always a last-second thing,” he said.
Elaborate Halloween costumes a way for Blake to have fun
Blake’s custom Halloween costumes have become an annual tradition for the family, since it can be difficult to find costumes that offer enough mobility in his wheelchair, Aric said.
“They have to be fully functional,” he said. “He has to be able to wheel around by himself and not necessarily pushed around.”
Blake was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly, according to the Mayo Clinic. The condition has left him paralyzed from the waist down.
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“Every year its gets more stressful,” Aric said. “I get a week or two into it and I say, ‘I don’t know how this is going to come together.’ But every year, my wife gives me a little pep talk and we get it done.”
To complement Blake’s costume, Aric dressed up as a burger, while Blake’s younger brother, Chance, wore a ketchup costume.
In addition to the free supply of fries, the Mompher family got to enjoy a Halloween party Sunday at a McDonald’s restaurant in Delaware. During the party, staff pulled up a video from Ronald McDonald announcing the news about the certificate, Megan said.
“It’s fun for Blake to see people get excited, and it’s also fun for us because we can bring awareness to spina bifida and see the possibilities of the wheelchair, what he can do,” she said. “It makes all the hard work pay off.”
Aric added that since Blake’s costumes have become a hit online, it’s helping other families with spina bifida come up ideas for their costumes.
“If what we do can help somebody else out, give them an idea to do that for their kids … then it’s worth it,” he said.
Follow Micah Walker on Twitter: @micah_walker701