Treat Accessibility North America hosted a trick-or-treat event for children with disabilities in Surrey on Saturday (Oct. 22).
The organization has had similar events across the country for the past five years, but Saturday’s event was the first of its kind in the Lower Mainland.
Over 25 homeowners registered to hand out candy and 1,200 people registered to treat, in Newton near 69A Avenue and Bristol Place.
Rich Padulo, founder of Treat Accessibility, said the event, “is basically like Disneyland of Halloween. All the homeowners have decorated their home early and people get to treat from each home.”
Padulo came up with the idea in 2017 when he and his daughter were putting pumpkins on their steps and saw a child in a wheelchair across the street. They realized he would not be able to trick-or-treat at their home because of the stairs. This is where it all began.
“The entire day is dedicated to supporting children with disabilities for everybody who’s treating,” said Padulo. “All the homeowners are treating from the end of their driveways to make it fully accessible and barrier-free.”
Homeowner Bruce Davidson said he thinks the event is “awesome. It brings the community together.”
His grandson, Edson, was visiting him at the time, and was able to take in the festivities.
Edson has autism. “It would be pretty tough to be taking our grandson around on a rainy Halloween night, trying to keep tabs on him,” Davidson added. “So this is one way to have him be able to celebrate Halloween.”
Padulo encourages people to reach out to him by email (email@example.com) if they want to create their own accessible Halloween event in their neighbourhood. He has a whole array of resources to share.