HAVERHILL, Mass. — Every Halloween a 12-year-old Haverhill boy becomes a star in his neighborhood.
Tommy Hardy has cerebral palsy and autism and every year his father builds him the best costume in town around his wheelchair.
This year's masterpiece took almost two months and nearly 50 hours to build.
"We try to step it up each year," said dad Tom Hardy.
Tommy will cruise his neighborhood in a Star Wars X-Wing Fighter, complete with lights, his name, and R2-D2.
Because of Tommy's cerebral palsy and autism, he is nonverbal; his eyes let his dad know how happy he is with the costume.
"His body movement, his smiles, us walking around the neighborhoods, everybody looking at him. He knows he's the rock star of the day. All the work we put into it - it's well worth it for him," said Tom.
Tom has been going all out on Halloween for years. Last year, Tommy was the Red Baron from Charles Schultz’ Peanuts. Before that, he was a pirate and SpongeBob SquarePants.
"When I got home from work one day they had a smaller version of--you know he had a smaller chair at the time and they built a front loader. I thought it was great, and then the ideas start coming. I kind of took it on after that trying to get bigger and more creative each year," said Tom.
Gary Sewell, one of Tom's friends, helped build the x-wing fighter using cardboard and PVC pipe.
"I'm hoping it means as much to him as it does to us. I mean, it gives me the chills just thinking about it. It's just special. It's really fun to do," said Sewell.
"You know him being in the wheelchair, sometimes we get looks from other kids or he gets looks from other kids and not a positive light. Halloween night all the kids are looking at him wanting--, 'wow, that's the greatest thing.' so it's great for him to be seen just as a little boy. Very positive and happy," said Tom.
Tom says the only challenge is finding a way to top themselves next Halloween.
Cox Media Group