A woman born with one hand has gone viral after sharing photos of her Halloween costume which embraces her disability.
April Hill from Chicago, 28, loves Halloween because it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate being different by incorporating her disability into her costume.
Putting her imagination and creativity to good use, April taught herself special effects make-up techniques to zombify herself, making it look like her hand was chewed or pulled off.
Born with amniotic band syndrome, when April was a foetus fibres from the torn amniotic sack wrapped around parts of her body preventing them from growing.
This means she has underdeveloped feet, which April describes as ‘toeless ankles’, and a stump where her left hand should be.
While April admits her disability would ‘usually be a kind of hindrance in life’, Halloween has helped her realise she is special and unique – something she should be celebrating.
At the age of 19, April realised her disability was actually a ‘huge asset’ and something she could use to her advantage to create the creepiest and most spectacular costume for Halloween.
Googling ‘gore make-up tutorials’, April began learning various techniques which would help transform her into a terrifying zombie.
Speaking to UNILAD, April explained she has ‘a lot of fun’ with the make-up and tries to improve every year:
I have a cheat code with Halloween costumes. This is my ninth year doing gore make-up so I have had plenty of practice now.
It began with me finding some actual trauma room photos to ensure realism and using basic material like liquid latex, scar wax, spirit gum and face paint.
Eventually I incorporated other things like tissue paper for texture or broken plastic cutlery for bones. There are so many variations possible with a missing limb and I’ve had quite a lot of fun with it over the years!
Fresh zombie, decaying zombie, some sort of accident, last year I rigged up a costume where I could pull a magician’s scarf from a fake wound on my face and also had half of a magic wand sticking out of my left arm. A little creativity and a lot of horror movies for inspiration go a long way.
You have to admit her costumes are incredible and also very spooky!
While April’s friends aren’t that impressed anymore as they’re used to ‘a bit extra’ every Halloween, her costumes still have an impact on others.
Because the majority of people are immediately confused at how exactly she hid her hand, April loves watching the cogs turn in their brains when she tells them due to her disability – there was no hand to hide in the first place.
Confusion then switches to surprise before turning into amazement as everything clicks into place leaving people astonished at April’s handiwork.
April admits she can ‘never pass up the opportunity to have fun on Reddit’, and shared an image of her latest Halloween zombie costume on October 29.
With the caption ‘Halloween is Christmas for us amputees’, the post quickly made its way to the Reddit homepage receiving over 115,000 upvotes at time of writing (October 31).
While April is happy with the positive reaction her picture is getting, she is more delighted that other disabled people have been sharing their Halloween stories and costumes.
User Luey_Hewis shared a story about what him and his mum do for Halloween:
My mom is a double amputee and when older trick or treaters come she has me pull her prosthetic arm off and run around with it.
One person responded by explaining what he does for Halloween:
I’m missing half my right leg. Halloween two years ago I would lay on the floor in front of the front door in a pool of fake blood and my girlfriend would answer trick or treaters with blood on her shirt and a fake meat cleaver. Reactions were priceless.
Another user simply thanked April for the inspiration:
I hate Halloween but as a reasonably recent amputee (nothing this dramatic – I’m missing part of my right middle finger because I got into an argument with my table saw) I feel like I need to capitalise on it now.
Thanks for the idea!
April told UNILAD she was surprised but glad her post started such an embracing discussion on disability, saying:
I’ve occasionally posted a Halloween costume to Reddit before and they seemed to go well. I think self-deprecating humour is kind of popular these days.
This is quite the explosion though, if I’d known it would be on this scale I would’ve posted it earlier in the day so I could be awake for it all!
I’m very happy that it seems to have prompted discussion about disabilities from those who have them to those who are learning about them to those with loved ones affected by them. Overall it’s been a surprisingly wholesome experience.
The internet really can be a marvellous place sometimes!
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.