Neighborhood haunt goes sensory friendly

Trish Hartman Image
Monday, October 22, 2018
Neighborhood haunt goes sensory friendly
Neighborhood haunt goes sensory friendly. Trish Hartman reports during Action News at 10:30 p.m. on October 21, 2018.

CROYDON, Pa. (WPVI) -- This is crunch time for the folks at Croydon Haunted Hollows. It's a Halloween experience in Croydon, Bucks County that started with just a few neighbors. It has grown to a cast of 50.

"We just wanted to be that house in the neighborhood that attracted everybody and it's really been fantastic," said Colleen Prendergast, Executive Director of Croydon Haunted Hollows.

Last year, neighbors say more than 1,000 people dared to enter the free walk-through. This year, they're adding something: a special sensory friendly hour with professionals on hand - inspired by a mother with autistic children.

"She said she could never take them to places because they never tone it down. And I said, I want to do that, and I feel like we can provide that," said Prendergast.

The traditional, scary version of Haunted Hollows has fog machines and strobe lights. But for the sensory friendly version, they'll turn off the fog and the strobe lights, making it easier for children with special needs to walk through.

Jacqueline Breault-Straffe of TB Children's Services explained, "Having it sensory friendly, toning everything down makes it more enjoyable and they're not covering their ears. They're not having to wear their headphones." She'll also be on hand for the event.

Three-year-old Noah - who has autism - will be there with his father, John Duerson.

"I thought it was fantastic," said Duerson. "We do try to take him places. We take him plenty of places and you end up finding out that it's not autistic friendly or special needs friendly."

Cast member Jarrod Bolton has Asperger's Syndrome, and can't wait to take part in his first haunt.

"The fact that they're willing to take time to make that difference and make that change that no one else will... it's just amazing," said Bolton.

The sensory friendly haunt is set for Saturday, October 27th at 5:00pm at 507 Girard Avenue in Croydon. The event is free, but donations are accepted.