GROVETOWN, Ga. (WJBF) – It got spooky at Patriots Park in Grovetown on Monday.
NewsChannel 6 and our Giving Your Best partners hosted Halloween with a Heart, a 25+ year old trick-or-treating event for children from special education classes in the CSRA.
The event had to be canceled last year due to COVID-19, but it’s now back in full swing.
“It’s a great event, I’m glad it’s back,” said Shannon Matlock, a Giving Your Best partner and human resources manager at Solvay. “Because we didn’t do this last year, it was a little different. We went to the classrooms last year.”
Community members and sponsors set up booths for the children to grab candy, toys and other goodies from.
“The kids, to see the look of joy on their face when they come through, and they see a character that they know,” Matlock said. “They love it, and they get very excited.”
Buses full of children dressed as superheroes, princesses, cartoon characters and more took over the recreation center for a safe place to trick or treat.
Some children that attended have certain sensitivities that could prevent them from going traditional door-to-door trick or treating, so booth operators made sure to keep that in mind.
“I really just tried to purchase things that were soft, squishy, things that wouldn’t hurt them, no sharp objects,” said Tamika Lampkin, the director of communications for Jefferson Energy. “I tried to get candy that was gluten free, no allergies, things of that nature, just to make sure that we covered all bases.”
Lampkin said the atmosphere of the venue was also meant to give the students a sense of comfort.
“I have special needs children in my family, and a lot of times they are light sensitive or they’re sound sensitive,” she said. “So, being able to be inside the gym and not a lot of loud noises and too many scary characters, it makes it easy for them to feel comfortable to be able to trick or treat, and for them to be safe.”
The most rewarding part of the event, volunteers said, is the happiness it brings to the children.
“It’s when the kids come around and you see their faces light up, and just candy is exciting for them,” said Jayla Williamson, an HR representative with Augusta ENT. “It just, I don’t know, it just gives you a warm feeling, and it’s heart touching.”