A new Halloween event started for some of McDowell’s most special trick-or-treaters is hoping to come back every season.
The Special Night for Special Kids is an indoor trick-or-treating event held at New Manna Christian School exclusively for children with special needs and their families.
Monday’s event, sponsored by Bennick Enterprises, LLC , was the first in what is hopefully an ongoing trend for the community.
The event is the brainchild of New Manna pastors and Mark Tinsley, a parent at the church with a 10-year-old son born on the autism spectrum.
“As the parent of a special needs child myself, we know what a challenge it is for the children to have a safe environment, to have a night just for them, where they’ll be the center of attention and not compete, ” said Tinsley. “There’s so many volunteers out here ready to provide the safest and most fun atmosphere.”
Inside the school, children of all ages and their parents went along to different classrooms and tables set up with candy and Halloween decorations while the auditorium was surrounded by bounce houses and inflatables.
Tinsley’s wife Ula, an advocate for autism and special needs, spoke on behalf of the church’s open arms for the event as well as expanding their special needs ministries.
“We’re very excited that New Manna opened up to the special needs community – they’ve had some before with physical disabilities and Down’s Syndrome, but now that autism is more frequent in diagnosis, we wanted to come and be a part of this ministry,” said Ula. “We want to encourage people to come to this church; we offer help, counseling and any support families may need.”
Ula is a contributor to the autism-based research and education website ICare4Autism, which offers parental blogs, information on diagnosis and updates on upcoming events and international conferences.