Flamingos, Gingerbread, and Pancakes… Oh My!

By: Eric Stroud

Halloween has come again! Time for tasty treats and cool costumes. Every year children and adults alike dress up to show off their spooky spirit. It’s a time where everyone can dress up for an evening of tricks, treats, and tons of fun. Thanks to the internet, it’s not a difficult task to find a creative costume idea to put together for the big night. This includes special costumes for those who might need to make some adjustments to accommodate for limb-difference or amputations. Motivational speaker Josh Sundquist had this in mind when he started to embrace his amputation and turn it into a way to make others smile. Through what? Costumes!

The Man Behind The Mask

Josh Sundquist was a healthy young boy from Virginia. When he turned nine, he was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer. He endured several years of chemotherapy, medical treatment, and eventually achieved remission when he turned thirteen. But his battle with cancer did not come easily. In his treatment, doctors were forced to remove his left leg to prevent the spread of the disease. Rather than resigning to his fate or giving up, Josh decided to chase his dreams. Three years later, he moved to Colorado to begin training as a ski-racer. Josh eventually became a Paralympic athlete for the US slalom ski team at the Paralympic games in Turino, Italy. He also played for the US Men’s Amputee Soccer Team before becoming a motivational speaker and author. His book, “Just Don’t Fall”, is an international bestseller, and his second book, “We Should Hang Out Sometime” is being adapted into a movie. He also has over a million followers across his social media platforms, partly due to his books, partly due to his speaking, and partly due to his annual hobby…

Creative Costumer

In 2010, Josh created a costume of a one-legged gingerbread man to “make his friends laugh”. The costume is a gingerbread man with a partially eaten left leg to mimic his own. It was apparently a big hit with them, and the following year his girlfriend challenged him to dress up like the leg lamp from “A Christmas Story”. The image went viral on social media, and Josh eventually found himself receiving national media attention. Since then, he has created a new Halloween costume every year and posted them online for the world to see. So far, his lineup has included characters such as Lumiere from “Beauty and The Beast”, Tigger from “Winnie The Pooh”, a DQ Blizzard, and most recently, Genie from “Aladdin”. He has also done some more humorous designs such as a field goal post, a flamingo, and an IHOP sign, to play off of an old amputee pun. On his blog, Josh writes that he believes he’ll never top his flamingo costume, which uses his crutches as the bird’s legs, and his single leg as a long neck ending with his shoe as the head. To see his 2019 costume, click here to check out his Instagram page.

Image Source

Humor and Inspiration

All of Josh’s costumes are meant to make people laugh. When he started out doing his gingerbread costume in 2010, he just wanted to make his friends smile, and his message hasn’t changed. Each costume uniquely incorporates Josh’s single leg in a humorous manner. Oftentimes, his costumes would be impossible to pull off if he had two legs. He has decided to embrace his uniqueness and turn it into something he can use to bring joy to others. Whether that be through his costumes or his stand-up comedy acts. He also books speaking engagements to encourage others and use his story to inspire them. Ultimately, his goal is to encourage and motivate others through his unique story, and his costumes are just one of the many ways he is accomplishing that goal. Happy Halloween!

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