The Autism Project of Southern Ohio has been serving the community for years, but now they want to serve up scares, fun and funds for the work they do.
The first ever Halloween Ride for Autism will showcase an array of things for the community to do, as they celebrate the season and raise funding to continue their mission.
The day will consist of a motorcycle run, a sensory-friendly trick-or trunk, a chili cook-off, train rides along a Halloween path, raffles, crafts, a bake sale, games, and more.
The chili cook-off is open to the public. Anyone can join by bringing a chili of their own creation. Registration is at 2:30 p.m., with tastings from 3 to 4:30 p.m. There are no rules to the contest and the group will be giving a People’s Choice Award. The chili is free, but tips are encouraged, because the award will go to the chili that raises the most donations as votes.
The motorcycle run registration will be at 2 p.m., with kick stands up at 3 p.m. A rider can register for $15 and a double rider can register for $25.
“Anybody can join along if you have a motorcycle. Usually, a lot of motorcycle clubs come, but anybody is welcome. They’ll get to ride along and enjoy a scenic view, likely through Shawnee State Park. They will wrap around and then come back, hopefully, to enjoy some chili,” Michelle King, treasurer of the Autism Project of Southern Ohio, explained.
The group will also be having a trick-or-treat aspect.
“We want to do a big, sensory-friendly, all-inclusive trick-or-treat. That is what we will gear up towards—the finale,” said King. “We will have a good crowd to pass out candy and it will be for all people with special needs and their family.”
King said that this aspect is very important to her.
“You know, as these children get older, they still want to trick-or-treat and there are, sometimes, difficulties with that,” King explained. “So, we want to provide a fun, safe, sensory-friendly atmosphere they can enjoy and still be able to trick-or-treat no matter the age.”
The group is asking for community members to visit and pass out candy to the participants, but the sensory-friendly rule is important.
“There won’t be loud noises. It is really about your senses. Your hearing, vision. There won’t be any strobe lights or scream tracks with loud music,” King said. “These things can bother people with special needs and we want the atmosphere to feel fun and safe so these folks can still trick-or-treat.”
The trick-or-treat will be held at 5 p.m.
The day is filled with fun and games, but King did iterate that another goal is raising funding.
“We want a fun day for the kids first and foremost. The secondary goal is raising funding for our organization, as we are non-profit,” King said. “We are a support group for families having a member on the autism spectrum.”
The group has a facility they have to care for, where they advocate, educate, and support. The group also hosts specialty events for people on the autism spectrum and even provide scholarships.
“We do things all seasons and even support local sports leagues, like Challenger Baseball, bowling, basketball, and various options for people with disabilities,” King said.
The Halloween Ride for Autism, along with the trick-or-trunk, games, and chili cook-off will be held October 22 at Earl Thomas Conley Park. People are encouraged to bring chili, candy, and their purses.
“It is important for multiple reasons,” King claimed. “As a parent with a child being diagnosed, it can be overwhelming and you really need that support from other parents in the area, to guide you, and be there for you, as you educate yourself about autism and the best care for your child. This is what events like this fund. It is about community for all.”
Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved