Sensory-Friendly Halloween Festival Saturday in McPherson

By Jolyn Johnston-Myers
October 27, 2016

A first-ever sensory-friendly Halloween event is going on this weekend in McPherson.

The sensory-friendly fall festival is being organized by Steven and Kara Hatton, a local family who’s gearing the event toward children and adults with special needs.

“We are aiming to put on an event that caters to the disabled community,” Steven explained. “Holidays such as Halloween, Christmas, even Easter, sometimes are hard for people with disabilities to be a part of, and they often get excluded from them.”

The Hattons themselves have three autistic children and know first-hand how difficult holiday celebrations can sometimes be for people who struggle with sensory overload.

“We’re going to have a de-sensing tent for those who do get over stimulated,” Steven said. “Anyone who has a disabled child knows that if an autistic child gets over stimulated, it can take you two or three hours to calm them back down. So we’re going to have a calming tent set up so that their parents don’t have to worry about all that.”

The event will also feature games and special lighting, sounds, textures and smells that appeal to the sensitive senses of those with special needs.

“Just bring them in as a part of everything,” Steven said. “Let them feel normal, which is all they really want to do, is feel normal like everybody else.”

The Sensory Friendly Halloween Event is free and open to the public to attend this Saturday, October 29, from 5 to 10 pm.

The festival will stretch for two blocks on North Elm Street in McPherson, between First and Allison, near Lincoln Elementary.

Hamburgers and hot dogs will also be served for a suggested donation amount.

If you’d like more information on the event or would like to volunteer to help, Steven and Kara Hatton can be contacted at 580-665-6308.