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This Montreal kid turned his wheelchair into the Mars Rover for Halloween


Halloween is Emile Laliberte's favourite holiday. Since he was young, he always took great pride in his costumes, but this year's is truly out of this world.

"It's incredible," said the beaming 15-year-old Laliberte, who will take to the neighbourhood streets this Halloween in a special-made Mars Rover costume. 

Laliberte uses a wheelchair, which means some costumes are not a great fit. At least, that was the case until he met handyman Robert Murphy and his group, Duct Tapers Anonymous.

In 2018, they got the idea to build a bespoke costume for a child with reduced mobility.

"So we grouped a whole bunch of people, designers, 3D artists, to start working on this," recalls Murphy from his garage workshop.

That's when they met Emile.

"We built a costume according to his specifications, and he wanted to be a dragon, which he named Chad."

The dragon was custom-made to fit around Emile's wheelchair.

Murphy gets emotional when he recalls the first time Emile transformed into Chad, the dragon.

"I go back to that video," said Murphy, his voice cracking. "And I see his face again, just laughing so much. So, yes, it's all worth it."

Emile Laliberte poses in his Halloween costume in Montreal, Sunday, October 28, 2018. In Halloweens past, 10-year-old Emile struggled to find costumes that wouldn't be hidden by his wheelchair.But Laliberte looks to be the envy of all the children on his block as he sets out trick or treating on Oct. 31 as a green dragon with 3D-printed scales, motorized wings and glowing animated eyes to watch over the Styrofoam castle that surrounds his wheelchair.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes


From that, Rolloween was born. On Duct Tapers' website, the organization says it will "keep making even more costumes until eventually, we have squads of happy kids rolling all over the Montreal area."

During the pandemic, they took a hiatus but are now back, and so is Emile -- who still loves Halloween.

"We asked him if he still likes to get dressed up, and he told us he did," said Murphy. "So we asked what his dream costume this year would be.'

Emile answered that he now has a new passion: outer space.

He asked if they could turn him into the Mars Rover. The answer was an emphatic yes, and for weeks, the team has been working to nail every last detail.

"Next year, he'll pass it on to another child as we build another costume," said Murphy. "Every year, we'll probably build one more, maybe two more, so eventually, we'll have an entire flotilla of costumes, just rolling on the streets of Montreal."

Murphy hopes Rolloween will inspire others to use their talents to help others.

"Make something nice for someone. Build something, fix something, help a neighbour," he said.

Laliberte plans to do just that. He was so touched by the Rolloween gang that he now wants to become an engineer so one day. he can make someone else's smile beam from ear to ear.

Just like his alter ego, Chad, the dragon. Top Stories

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