Man Who Lost His Leg to Childhood Cancer Creates Unique Halloween Costumes
Josh Sundquist creates fun Halloween costumes that highlight his amputated leg
The motivational speaker and comedian was raised in a “really religious” household that avoided the heathen holiday altogether. “We literally locked the doors and turned all the lights off so no one would trick-or-treat at our house,” Sundquist, 33, tells PEOPLE.
Plus, Sundquist, who had his left leg amputated at age 9 as part of his treatment for a rare bone cancer, used to be embarrassed about his one leg — he would never have crafted a costume to highlight it as a teen.
“Growing up, I was really self conscious about the way I looked,” he says. “I always wore an artificial leg and I didn’t want anyone to know I was an amputee. So I think my teenage self would be very surprised to know that not only am I pretty comfortable with my appearance now, I even call attention to what makes me different with these costumes.”
“It’s certainly an unexpected plot twist of my life that Halloween has become such an important holiday for me.”
Sundquist started making single-leg costumes in 2010, just “as a way to make my friends laugh at Halloween parties.” His first one was a partially-eaten gingerbread man, and his wife, Ashley, came up with his 2012 costume of the leg lamp from A Christmas Story. Since then, he’s incorporated ideas from the internet and people he meets on tour.
“In recent years, the internet has made that party a lot bigger,” he says.
Someone on Reddit inspired his 2017 costume, Tigger, with his leg as the bouncy tail.
“I thought it was a hilarious idea,” Sundquist says. “The illusion is uncanny, the concept feels appropriate since I do a lot of hopping in real life, and, of course, Tigger is a character I loved growing up.”
He ordered supplies for Tigger this summer, and then fashion designer and seamstress Ivy Vining put it together over the past month.
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Sundquist says that he doesn’t enter costume contests — “this may sound weird, but I kind of feel like being an amputee would be an unfair advantage to the two-legged people who are competing,” he says — but he and Ashley go to parties and plan on spending Halloween night at Disneyland.