Local Dad Building Bonds with His Children Through Halloween

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GALLOWAY, N.J. -

Each year on Halloween millions of children wander the streets in search of sweet and sugary goodies.

Unfortunately, for some children, due to health issues or other limitations, they spend their Halloween night inside instead of roaming the neighborhood.

For one Galloway family, they've made it their mission to make Halloween a family excursion.

Halloween is one of the Southrey family’s favorite holidays and for three years the father of two has worked to build custom costumes for his kids. Little did he know, these costumes would be a big reason why his family has the opportunity to bond on this spooky night.

“He doesn’t build them, like ‘oh, my son can’t walk. So, what am I going to do for him?’ It’s just this is our family, this is how we do Halloween. My husband really loves Halloween, we all do," said Alexandra Southrey.

Alexandra and Brian Southrey's son, Brian Jr., was born with an endocrine disorder, but was misdiagnosed at a very young age. He is now almost three years old and despite not being able to walk or talk, his parents said he’s just like any other kid — maybe even more so on Halloween thanks to his custom costumes.

“It’s really helpful for him because we can just drive him around instead of carrying him all over the place," said Ava Southrey, Brian's older sister. 

This year, the entire family will be dressed as pirates with their own life-like pirate ship.

The ship was once an old piece of playground equipment that was shaped like a rocket. Brian Souththrey said as soon as he saw it, he knew it was meant to be a ship. Luckily, Brian used his welding skills to build the ship large enough to hold both Ava and Brian Jr. to life. 

“She can hop off and she can run to the houses and do the whole trick or treating," said Alexandra. "Last year she said, 'My brother is in the tank can I have a piece for my brother?' And Brian and Brian would be on the sidewalk.”

Last year, Ava and Brian Jr. took on the superhero theme as Brian Jr. road in is own life-like tank. The year prior was Star Wars. Alexandra said that the siblings share a very special bond. 

“I think for her, it’s just normal," said Alexandra. "We do so much together that it would be really odd if one of us stayed back with him or he was just in a costume but we didn’t bring him up to the door because he can’t ask, he can’t say ‘trick-or-treat.’”

The pirate ship is made of 80-percent repurposed materials thanks to friends and family.

Brian said that each year the costumes get bigger and better and they’re already looking forward to seeing what’s in store for 2019.

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