Oh, sure, All Hallows’ Eve may have spooky origins. But since 1950, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, the original Kids Helping Kids® campaign, has transformed October 31, teaching children across America the fundamental value of helping others.
While it’s fun for kids to get candy on Halloween, it’s downright empowering for young people to know they can help make the world a better place. For over six decades, the core message of Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF has remained constant, and constantly compelling: there is no age limit for people to make a difference. Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF has raised over $170 million to support UNICEF’s lifesaving work, by leveraging this simple message and making it relevant through generations.
The earliest Trick-or-Treaters for UNICEF covered milk cartons with orange wrappers as they walked from door to door collecting change for a good cause. They asked for coins instead of candy and ignited a revolution in global citizenship. Back then, every dollar collected through Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF could purchase enough powdered milk to give ten children a glass of milk a day for a week. Today, Trick-or-Treaters can track their progress with friends and family online through the hashtag #TOT4UNICEF and carry their own orange box on Halloween night. For every $1 Trick-or-Treaters collect this Halloween, UNICEF can provide 35 protein biscuits for a hungry child.
Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF’s founders, Reverend Clyde and Mary Emma Allison, saw untapped potential in the annual tradition of trick-or-treating on Halloween night. They pioneered a movement to help UNICEF – the United Nations Children’s Fund – achieve its mission to reach the world’s most vulnerable children and provide them with emergency shelter, clean water, lifesaving medicines and education.
The power of Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF doesn’t lie in its age (though we think it looks pretty good for 63!) or its connection to a holiday at all. The true success of any child-focused volunteer program lies in its ability to empower children with the knowledge that they can and should make a difference for the most vulnerable members of our society and that all people are members of one global community – whether across the street or across an ocean.
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF has redoubled its efforts to keep this spirit of global citizenship and youth empowerment at the heart of what we do at Halloween each fall. This year, the campaign introduced the first-ever School Challenge, which will bring winning elementary school teachers to witness UNICEF’s lifesaving programs in Tanzania firsthand. These teachers will be able to show their students, more concretely than ever before, how their Halloween donations, big and small, make a difference. Now that’s a holiday tradition to remember.