Harford Promotes Inclusive Halloween With ‘Wheelchair Costume Workshops’

Dressing up in costumes and trick-or-treating is a fun tradition in many families, but it can be challenging for some children who use a wheelchair. To make these kids’ dreams come true, Harford County is asking for volunteers and sponsors to build costumes for an inclusive Halloween event this October at Mt. Zion Church in Bel Air.

At the event, sponsored by Harford County in partnership with Mt. Zion Church and the Harford Center, kids will work with volunteers to transform their ideas into costumes that can be wrapped around a wheelchair without impeding its function.

2019 Wheelchair Costume Workshop participants and volunteers (photo courtesy of Harford County Government)

“Our inaugural Wheelchair Costume Workshop in 2019 was outstanding and resulted in 12 children getting dream costumes made for them by over 100 local volunteers, and our vision is to create another unforgettable day for kids who use wheelchairs,” County Executive Barry Glassman said. “We want all children in our community to feel included and have a chance to join in activities with their peers. Whether it’s trick-or-treating, riding a bike, spending time at our award-winning Sensory Trail, or learning to play baseball, every child should experience the joys of being a kid.”

According to a County press release:

Costumes will be built at the church from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, October 29 and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 30. On the second build day, children will be fitted for their costumes and can go trunk-or-treating in the parking lot with the entire community from 4 – 7 p.m.

Everyone is welcome to trunk-or-treat. Businesses and other organizations that would like be a part of a design team, volunteer, contribute materials, or host a trunk-or-treating station should contact Rachel Harbin, Office of Disability Services, at raharbin@harfordcountymd.gov.

Expanding recreational opportunities for individuals with differing abilities has been a priority of the Glassman administration. In 2016, the Harford County Office of Community Services first sponsored iCan Bike Camp, a five-day clinic that offers bike riding instruction to individuals with differing abilities. The program hosts 32 riders each summer.

In 2019, the Glassman administration was recognized with a National Association of Counties’ Best in Category Award for the Schucks Road Sensory Trail, designed for individuals with sensory sensitivities. County Executive Glassman also designated land at Schucks Regional Park for Harford’s Miracle League baseball field. The field is the first of its kind in the region, designed so that individuals of all abilities, including those in wheelchairs, can participate in baseball games with their peers.

Harford County children who use a wheelchair as their main form of mobility may participate for free, but space is limited, and applications must be received by Wednesday, September 1, 2021. The application and additional details are on the County website.