Tuesday, October 16, 2012

accessible dinner theatre in the street

“… For the times they are a-changin'.” Bob Dylan

It’s been 49 years since Bob Dylan penned that verse. Yet Monday night while we pushed and rolled through the staging of Carlisle’s Halloween parade I personally was startled at the number of wheeled people participating.
Carlisle Halloween Parade 2012
We discovered two floats sponsored by care facilities escorted by several rolling residents. … plus a float promoting a local autism school including parents and students for grades K – 12. ... and our personal favorite kids roasting marshmallows on a trailer. 

When able bodied people plan or organize anything, people with disabilities physical or mental can become unintentionally marginalized and/or largely invisible…. It is a rare community of people who can be genuinely inclusive.

While the visual impact was revolutionary for our years of parading … when you factor in a dependent population due to increasing chronic illness and age plus the reality of 1 in 88 kids with autism growing in leaps and bounds from childhood to young adulthood … if anything this parade was also a peek into the future.

Of course both in Carlisle above and pictured below in Mechanicsburg  there was still an overwhelming representation of fairy tale creatures, zombies, marching bands, cheerleaders, and the limitless creativity of Halloween.
Mechanicsburg Halloween Parade 2012
Small town America, at least here in South Central Pennsylvania, turns into the land of Halloween Parades in October. Just within a 20 minute drive of Patti’s care facility are seven such parades.

Patti’s Multiple Sclerosis visual impairment (legally blind) prevents her from seeing the distance from the curb to the center of the street so last year we began arriving about an hour before hand and push and roll through the staging area as floats are assembled, groups organized, and last minute costume adjustments made. Patti can see up close and enjoy interacting with participants

MS fatigue and her preferred bedtime of 7 PM becomes less of a problem as we are heading her to bed about the time most parades are kicking off.

Five more to go! As we always combine an outing with carry out finger food (which we have been praciticing with for months), it’s kind of like dinner theatre in the street. J

by Patrick Leer
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @ http://caregivinglyyours.blogspot.com/


  1. Your towns do Halloween parades much earlier than ours! Looks like everyone had a great time. What was the finger food this time?

    1. Hey Muff, at least in Patti's opinion the best of possible street food :) a holster of McDonald's french fries and a box of chicken tenders.

  2. That looks like a fun parade Patrick!! I like how you have perfected the perfect parade experience for Patti in getting there early, mingling with participants, and incorporating eating finger food! I'm sure it is enjoyed by Patti! I just can't imagine we're already doing the Halloween parades though; this year flew for me.


    1. Betty, to be honest, I am actually enjoying this method of parading as much as / if not more than Patti. It sure beats sitting on a curb waiting for the parade to pass you by.


Blog Archive