Our family loves Halloween-the decorations, the spooky factor, the costumes, and for the kids-the candy! The ultimate culmination of Halloween is trick or treating. My husband and I are both wheelchair users and we don’t live in a neighborhood with sidewalks. Even if we did though, most porches would make it impossible for us to accompany our two little ones to the many doors of strangers.
A few years ago, we realized that trunk-or-treat events offered the perfect opportunity for tradition and accessibility. Trunk-or-treats are planned events-often by churches, schools, or community organizations. They involve a gathering of cars in a parking lot and disbursement of candy from trunks (or the back of cars) instead of the front door. Some people decorate their trunks with elaborate themes that may stretch out beyond the car. For wheelchair users, the parking lot is flat. It’s usually well-lit but the kids’ also still get the chance to trick-or-treat outside.
Last year, we realized another benefit of trunk-or-treat as we took our new son (adopted from China at the age of 7) trick-or-treating for the first time. Eli has achondroplasia (dwarfism) and his legs tire easily. Truck-or-treat allowed him to experience just as many interactions as a neighborhood without the fatigue of walking long distances. For kids who may find it more difficult to learn/demonstrate the process of trick-or-treat, trunk-or-treat events give kids the chance to practice and get reinforced in quicker succession. If you’ll allow me to wear my psychology background hat for a bit, the trunk-or-treat set-up may allow many children to learn and then enjoy the routine of trick-or-treat quicker than the traditional house-to-house approach.
Since this new(ish) twist on tradition benefits our family, we’re fortunate to live in an area that seems to be expanding in trunk-or-treat opportunities. For the last few years, we’ve attended an event organized by a large church in our community. This year our kids’ elementary school also hosted a trunk-or-treat. There were over 100 cars and even a DJ that our tiny vampire and Evie from Descendants definitely enjoyed. Our kids had a blast seeing their friends and teachers dressed in their costumes.
When I envisioned parenthood, there were a few stuck points that I knew we’d need to navigate and I wasn’t always sure how. Trick-or-treating was one of those challenges and I’m thankful we’ve found an opportunity that works for us. Our family is always learning-especially from other parents with disabilities. What ways have you found to make holiday traditions more accessible?