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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

WETRA’s annual Halloween Spooktacular was a hit

- new sensory tent was well received -

by Kyle Reid

Thousands of families made their way out to the Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Association’s (WETRA) facility on North Malden Road on Friday and Saturday evening to enjoy the organization’s 14th annual Halloween Spooktacular.

  The family-friendly event has become a huge attraction for parents and children around Halloween, and this year was no different. There were plenty of smiling faces and colourful costumes taking part in the Halloween farm-themed fun, including horse rides, magic shows, games, and tasty snacks.

  And, while the horseback rides were undoubtedly the main attraction of the event, with long line-ups of eager children waiting for a turn, this year’s event featured a new, more inclusive attraction, which was well received.

  “We have a sensory tent this year,” WETRA Executive Director Becky Mills noted. “We found that what we were lacking over the years was something that was really interactive for people with special needs…It’s pretty good, it’s been lined up quite a way out the door.”

  Mills explained said the tent was a welcomed addition to this year’s festival, and aligns well with WETRA’s programs, which offer horseback riding therapies for children with special needs and disabilities.

  The inclusive sensory tent provided children an opportunity to make their way through the small structure and interact with different Halloween-themed sounds, touches, and colourful lights. The tent offered an inclusive supplement to the event’s already family-friendly Halloween fun.

  The event also featured a costume contest as well as an appearance from the farm’s “Headless Horseman.” All funds raised went to support WETRA programing as well as care for the horses and the facility.

  Since the Spooktacular’s inception, Mills said she has seen the event grow tremendously to feature new games and attractions every year.

  Over 70 volunteers are needed each evening of the two-night event to make the Spooktacular successful.

  In doing so, the Spooktacular has become one of WETRA’s most successful fundraisers. However, the organization is always looking for new and creative ways to raise funds and entertain families throughout the year, Mills said.

  “A lot of people are doing Halloween now. So, we’re not sure how long we’ll keep doing it,” Mills said. “We will come up with something else innovative so that everyone has something fun and unique to do.”

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