Illinois boy with cerebral palsy impresses with Beetlejuice Halloween costume

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Thursday, October 18, 2018
Melrose Park boy dresses up as 'Beetlejuice' for Halloween
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On Halloween, 9-year-old Anthony Alfano is a star.

MELROSE PARK, Illinois (WPVI) -- On Halloween, 9-year-old Anthony Alfano is a star. His costumes have included Mini-Me, a Blackhawks goalie, Zoltar, and even a Lincoln Memorial snow globe.

But for a Marine Park, Illinois, boy living with cerebral palsy, Halloween is more than a day of dress up. It's an escape.

"He's always seen as Anthony the boy that can't do nothing," dad Tony Alfano said. "I just want to make him not be seen that way. Halloween costume is like the best disguise."

Each year, Tony designs and builds costumes for his son from scratch. Then mom Deanna Alfano puts on the finishing touches.

"It's a nice break from the everyday watching other kids run down the block, kick a ball, play with their friends," she said. "You can tell he wishes he could do those things."

Anthony can't dress or feed himself like other kids his age, but looking past their daily struggle, the Alfanos make the most of trick-or-treating. Word is Anthony always goes home with a full bag of candy, and M&Ms are his favorite.

This year, Anthony's costume recreates the famous waiting room scene from the movie "Beetlejuice." Dad built a mock couch around Anthony's old wheelchair, with mannequins flanking Anthony's seat.

"He has like a stigma for having special needs," Deanna said. "So this is a way that they look at him and they see this like bright, happy kid, and it makes them feel good. In return puts a smile on his face, when he gets all the attention."

Last year, he was the Wheel of Fortune -- complete with a spinning wheel just like on the show. The costume garnered lots of attention, including a stop by Windy City Live, where Wheel of Fortune invited Anthony to visit Los Angeles.

"We got to go and see and meet Pat and Vanna and watch two live tapings," Deanna said. "Anthony was ecstatic."

Tony Alfano described it as "the best feeling ever," comparing it to "watching your kid hit a home run in a baseball game."

Each year, Tony Alfano's handiwork seems to get more complex, and more detailed too. This year, he took it up a notch yet again, creating a "Betelgeuse" lawn sign that lights up.

"There's room for more," he said. "He motivates me to do what I have to do as a dad."

Anthony is inspiring others too, recently being featured in an Easter Seals fashion show when his physical therapist was honored.

"It's kind of like we've built this platform for other families," Deanna said. "It feels like this was kind of like our purpose to bring Anthony into people's lives and homes and to brighten their day and put a smile on their face."

On Halloween, there's no smile bigger than his.


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