SC firefighters push for more inclusive Halloween experiences
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Professional Firefighters Association of South Carolina wants the Lowcountry to know the “tricks” to “treat” others with kindness this Halloween.
The group is encouraging more neighbors to go the extra mile in creating a more inclusive experience, whether that contribution is big or small.
Halloween, a widely celebrated holiday for many in the United States, is a time filled with all things sweet and spooky. However, it can be a difficult season for children with intellectual or physical disabilities to navigate.
The PFFASC claims motor skills, non-verbalities and sensory issues associated with disabilities can often affect a child’s trick-or-treating experience. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state one in six children aged three to seventeen have one or more developmental disabilities.
This is why initiatives have started both close to home and around the nation to bring further awareness to the topic.
Some homes will participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, placing blue pumpkins or baskets on their doorsteps to show support for the cause and provide various food or non-food options for children.
A community member can also make small changes to accommodate, including creating clear paths to the candy bowl and removing obstacles, reducing intense lights or decor and being outside to assist a child if needed.
PFFASC Executive Board member John Baker says it can be a bonding experience for neighbors and a positive impact in the long term.
“It creates community,” he says. “I think that’s something that has lacked in different places throughout the United States. Not only are you involved in the community by doing that, you allow for an easier time for a family who may have a special needs child in their group.”
Baker adds it is important to create a safe space by being patient and understanding.
“Be involved in the community, know who your special needs children are. Get on the child’s level,” Baker says. “If we can give off a calm presence, hopefully that can help a child or whoever is going through that.”
The International Association of Firefighters provides PFFASC with a Halloween toolkit, which you can access here.
The toolkit details safety information for all families to “trick-or-treat” safely.
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