Mother turns home into haunted house to raise funds for charity

Joanne Whelan has also set out buckets of treats and sweets for children passing by the house in Dublin.

The mother of a young boy who has autism has turned her Dublin home into a haunted house for Halloween to raise money for charity.

Joanne Whelan spent weeks decorating her Donaghmede home and garden with ghosts, skeletons and spider webs.

Giant ghosts float from the wall of her home while skeletons wrapped in bin bags are scattered across the path leading up to the front door.

She has also set out buckets of treats and sweets for children passing by the house.

Joanne Whelan at her home in Dublin, which she has decorated for Halloween to raise funds for St Michael’s House (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ms Whelan is raising funds for Dublin-based St Michael’s House, which provides a range of services and support for people with intellectual disabilities.

Her son Alex, who has autism, was severely impacted by the Covid-19 restrictions earlier this year.

Link services – a branch of St Michael’s – has provided 10-year-old Alex and his family with the care and respite they desperately needed in recent months.

Ms Whelan decided to put on the display at her home for local children and to raise funding for the service provider.

“I decorated the house for the kids because I felt so sorry for them as there is nothing for them this year, there isn’t even trick or treating,” she said.

“I’m filling the bucket with treats and lollies and the kids are coming along and having a ball.

“It’s been a great success so far.

“The Link group have been amazing to us throughout the pandemic. Alex has struggled since this all started and is still struggling.

“Alex can be difficult but the group take him for walks, to the park and on day trips when they are able to.

“I have two other kids and two grandchildren so it allows us to have some time to go shopping after being in lockdown.

“Alex was out of routine when the schools closed – it has been horrendous.

“I think he has regressed by about five years, it’s unreal what this pandemic has done.”

While Alex returned to school in September, he has completed only two full weeks because a classmate was diagnosed with Covid-19.

Ms Whelan said she is still adding to the display outside her home.

“The kids here still want to have a Halloween so I thought this would be a safe way to do it,” she added.

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