Spookfest to scare up fun for all

| 20/10/2017
CNS Local Life

Participants at last year’s Spookfest

(CNS Local Life): Pedro Castle is again turning into a Spookfest for Halloween with the organisers this year arranging for an early entrance for special needs children to enable them also to enjoy the festivities. The second annual celebration is taking place Saturday, 28 October, from 11am-3pm, with all little ghosts, ghouls and goblins invited to the castle for a day of scares and lots of treats.

Hosted by DMS Broadcasting and the Tourism Attraction Board (TAB), organisers expect to hand out more than 4,000 pieces of candy and will be offering an array of entertainment including spooky games, a craft-making station hosted by the Visual Arts Society, a ghost story corner, a haunted house, face painting and bouncy castles.

This year, SpookFest will open its gates at 10:30am for families with special needs children to make the event more accessible for those youngsters, stated a TAB press release. Dr Mona Kazemi, clinical director and occupational therapist at Theraplay, spoke of the need for more inclusion of children with special needs at public events.

“Our community goals this year includes helping families who have children with different needs to have more accessibility to community events,” she said. “Families can feel uncomfortable taking their children to community events because they feel like their child may be misunderstood if they are unable to speak, use eye contact, navigate the environment as expected, or engage in activities as expected. A lot times, children with differences have difficulties in sensory processing that can make community events trigger a meltdown due to being overwhelmed by crowds of people or loud noises.

“Our purpose for requesting Spookfest to be opened earlier specifically for families with children with special needs is to ensure they feel welcomed and know that persons working at the event will be understanding of their child. I truly believe that families with special needs children will be beyond grateful for this step towards inclusivity.”

Shayma Hamdi- Romanica, TAB marketing coordinator, echoed the importance of accessibility for all children. “One of the main goals at the TAB, is to ensure our national attractions are accessible to our youth, and to encourage children of all ages and abilities to interact with our local culture and heritage, and to be proud of it,” she said.

“SpookFest enables us to bring history to life for the day, and allows children to connect with the attraction, building fond memories of the sea views, playing with friends, trick or treating, making crafts or exploring the haunted house. It’s a truly Caymanian Halloween experience, and we are delighted that special needs families can be a part of that this year.”

TAB director Patrick Thompson spoke of expanding access to other events. “We are grateful that Dr Mona Kazemi raised this issue with us, as it too often slips our minds. We hope that the exposure raised from SpookFest will encourage other event organisers to include special needs children in their itineraries, particularly on holidays such as Christmas, Halloween and Easter.”

Any families with a special needs child who would like to attend SpookFest, call (936-0193 or 927-4070) or email the Tourism Attraction Board

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Category: Events

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