BEL AIR — Halloween is a time for kids to let their imaginations run wild. Dressing up in costumes and trick-or-treating is a popular tradition for many families. Yet, for some children who use a wheelchair this can be a challenge. To make these kids’ dreams come true, volunteers and sponsors are needed to build costumes for an inclusive Halloween event at Ripken Stadium this October, sponsored by Harford County government in partnership with the Aberdeen IronBirds and the Harford Center.
Children who use a wheelchair as their main form of mobility are welcome to participate for free, but space is limited and applications must be received by the Harford County Office of Disability Services by Monday, Sept. 9. The application and additional details are on the county website at www.harfordcountymd.gov/2737/Costume-Workshop.
Kids will help create the designs and teams of volunteers will work to transform their dreams into costumes that can be wrapped around a wheelchair without impeding its function.
Costumes will be built at the stadium in Aberdeen from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. On the second build day, children will be fitted for their costumes and have the opportunity to go trick-or-treating at the stadium with the entire community from 4 to 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome to trick-or-treat.
Businesses and other organizations that would like be a part of a design team, volunteer, contribute materials or participate in trick-or-treating should contact Rachel Harbin, Office of Disability Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Our vision is to create an unforgettable day for kids who use wheelchairs,” Harford County Executive Barry Glassman said. “It’s important for 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 have the opportunity to enjoy these memorable childhood experiences.”
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 brought iCanBike Camp, a five-day clinic that offers bike-riding instruction to individuals with differing abilities. The program hosts 32 riders each summer.
Earlier this year, the Glassman administration was recognized with a 2019 National Association of Counties’ Best in Category Award for the Schucks Road Sensory Trail, designed for individuals with sensory sensitivities. Glassman has also designated land at Schucks Road Park for Harford’s first Miracle League baseball field. The field will be 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.
More information about opportunities for citizens with differing abilities is on the Harford County government website, www.harfordcountymd.gov.