Treat Someone Else This Halloween


With just a ghost of an effort, Halloween can conjure the same spirit of giving as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Below are six fabulous projects that let your family give back this Halloween. Any one of them can become a new family tradition that puts more meaning -- and more fun -- into your festivities. Plus, your feeling of satisfaction will remain long after your stash of candy corn is gone.

-Jenny Friedman, Executive Director


Making a Difference...

Trick or Treat for UNICEF. As you go door to door, take along a collection box to raise funds for UNICEF. Children have been pitching in this way for over six decades. Order a free collection box from their website or print out a wrapper to tape around a container of your own. Your entire family can help too by creating a fundraising page. Watch this video about the impact your contributions will have. You will be inspired and educated.

Donate your Halloween candy! If you get more candy than you can handle, why not share it with those who are serving our country? Two organizations that support deployed troops, veterans and first responders, Operation Gratitude and Operation Shoebox, both have programs to send candy to service members overseas. Instructions are on each website.

Decorate. Hand out cheer this season by putting up Halloween (or fall) decorations at a local senior center, homeless shelter or hospital children's wing. Or create a few extra carved pumpkins and donate them to a local facility. Check to see what opportunities already exist for decorating, or to find a local agency to contact.  

Host a Halloween FUNraiser. Create a haunted house or throw a "giving back" Halloween party. Then charge admission -- or ask friends for donations of canned food, socks or mittens to gain entrance. You might also host a Halloween card-making party and deliver your devilish creations to a local veteran's hospital to cheer the residents.

Donate old costumes. Dig out your children's old costumes to donate -- or even better, hold a costume drive. Deliver the costumes to a local Boys and Girls Club or a family homeless shelter. In addition, this year encourage your children to wear a costume that represents a cause they care about.For example, dressing as Captain Planet can enable them to deliver a quick environmental message to your neighbors.

"Trick or Eat." A Canadian youth started the program Trick or Eat, which encourages people to use Halloween as an opportunity to collect nonperishable food for local hunger-relief organizations. You can apply the same idea to your local food pantry by helping your children collect donated canned goods as well as candy this Halloween. Get other families in your neighborhood to join in, and maybe you'll start a new tradition in your community.


Talk About It...

Any holiday can become an occasion to give back. Talk to your family about the possibilities.

    • What do you think about using holidays as an opportunity to make a difference in our community?

    • What do you like about Halloween? What would it feel like if you were not able to celebrate Halloween the way we always do? How could we share our usual fun with others who might not be able to celebrate?

    • Can you think of ways we could do for others during other holidays or birthday celebrations?

    Learn About It...

    Halloween is the perfect time to talk about managing fears, raising courage, and helping others enjoy this holiday. Spark some conversations with these five great Halloween stories.



    "There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch."

    -Robert Brault, American writer