'Not so Haunted House' offered for all with special needs in Austintown
Gateways to Better Living, a non-profit organization that works with people with developmental disabilities, is ensuring everyone can take part in the fun this Halloween weekend with Friday and Saturday's "not so haunted house."
The group held a preview day Friday for local day programs and schools that serve the special needs population. On Saturday, the event will be open to the public.
"We just wanted to offer something a little bit different," Kristie Murphy, Gateway's Community Engagement director said, "to give kids of all ages that have a little trouble with super scary stuff, a place to go."
The house is specifically for children with sensory issues like those on the Autism spectrum.
Organizers say it provides a safe environment for Halloween fun, especially for those who may get overwhelmed by your typical haunted house.
There are several Halloween-related activities that teach kids about using their senses.
First, attendees will go through the "Neon Radical Road," which is a black light experience to show various glow-in-the-dark decorations, followed by the 'Monster Mash' dance party for the sense of hearing. It's a dark room with lights and classic Halloween tunes.
You can also make your own potion to taste at the mad scientist's laboratory.
There's also the 'Ghostly Gas' station for sense of smell, where attendees can try and guess the smell's in different jars. And for touch, there's the 'witch's brew' station to reach into the cauldron and grab some prizes.
The group is also offering a practice 'Trick-or-Treat' station.
"Some kids don't know how to say 'Trick-or-Treat' or have trouble just with even dressing in costume because of the tactile sensitivities," Murphy said.
There are even some informational cards that children can take to show neighbors as a way to explain that they may not Trick-or-Treat in the same way as other kids, but they're still appreciative, Murphy said.
The event is free and located at the old Casals Building in the Austintown Plaza.
All ages are welcome. The not-so-scary experience will be open from 12 p.m to 3 p.m.