SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – With Halloween around the corner, the yearly surge of haunted houses and eerie experiences is in full swing. Frightmare Farms in Fulton, New York, is celebrating their season, but with an inspiring twist that separates them from every other haunted house in the world.
As of 2019, Frightmare Farms is home to the world’s first and only sensory-inclusive haunted house. Sensory processing disorder is a condition that hinders the brain from processing and responding to information that is picked up by the senses. It’s common among children, and some of the major symptoms are hypersensitivity to loud noises and bright lights.
Subsequently, the lights and sounds that have become staples of haunted houses are prone to causing sensory overload in children with this condition. In 2016, Frightmare Farms and its production director Nicole Kinsburg set out to separate their haunted house from the rest.
Kinsburg has a seven year-old son that suffers from sensory processing disorder. Growing up, babysitters weren’t an option, and his tantrums were far from the traditional tantrums of a toddler, despite how it looked on the outside. Finding inspiration in her own son, Kinsburg set out to provide that “extra layer of options” to families dealing with this condition.
One of those extra options has become the haunted house at Frightmare Farms, as of this year. In 2016, Frightmare Farms partnered with non-profit group KultureCity, a group dedicated to the acceptance and inclusion of all individuals. KultureCity provided them with all of the resources, information, and training programs needed to establish themselves as a sensory-inclusive environment. Three years later, and the entire staff at Frightmare Farms is sensory certified and they have made a pledge to make every future Frightmare experience sensory-inclusive.
If someone deals with this condition, Frightmare Farms has created a variety of amenities that allow them to enjoy the experience like everyone else. From light-sensitive glasses that assist those at risk of epilepsy, to noise-cancelling headphones that alleviate jarring noises to those suffering from PTSD, to simple fidget toys that can remedy feelings of anxiety, the sensory-inclusive goodie bag provides a dynamic opportunity that was virtually impossible for so many children before Frightmare Farms.