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Accessible trick-or-treaters get an early start on Halloween in Hillhurst

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Hundreds of Calgary kids went to Hillhurst Saturday afternoon to take part in an accessible Halloween initiative. 

It's the second year the Treat Accessibly Halloween Village project has taken over the community. 

The afternoon is dedicated to helping children who identify with a mobility, sensory or intellectual disability. Halloween evenings can get a little tricky for those who may not be able to climb up front steps or ring doorbells. 

Nicole C. brought her daughter Avalee in from Harvest Hills. She says the event was a revelation.

"Last year she really couldn't get up to many doors and it was hard for her," she said. "So this (year), it's just so nice to be able to be included in the communities and do things like this."

The Hillhurst village event was scheduled weeks in advance to make it easier for parents and caregivers to plan and organize. 

It was all free to attend. 

The Hillhurst village event was scheduled weeks in advance to make it easier for parents and caregivers to plan and organize.

Jeryn Edwards collected candy with her sons Jackson and Joseph, who are both in wheelchairs. 

"We're always looking for different things to do that they can do and have some independence doing," she told CTV News. "This is one of those things and it's just great to see them so happy and excited to be here."

Calgary's wasn't the only Treat Accessibly Halloween Village in the country. Curbside events were also held in Edmonton, St. Albert, Surrey, Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Oakville and Hamilton. 

And the pre-Halloween villages are only part of the push. Treat Accessibly has spent the last six years encouraging all Canadian families, homeowners and communities to celebrate the day in an inclusive way. 

Simple changes, like handing out candy from the driveway, can go a long way to the more than 400,000 Canadian children living with disabilities. 

Anyone can get involved; free signs can be found online that signal to trick-or-treaters that the property is accessible. 

"A lot of times these holidays cause anxiety for families like ours, because events aren't planned and organized with our kiddos in mind," mom Julie Rubin said. "But we're feeling really safe and comfortable being here."

The initiative is growing quickly. 

In 2020, the organizations says 40,000 homes participated. Last year, that number jumped to 150,000 homes.

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