Halloween is the time of year to dress up, go out and have fun — and get scared senseless! As the years go by and you get older, it feels as though that rush of Halloween slowly passes into oblivion; at least that is what happened to me. Being “too old” for Halloween shouldn’t stop anyone from still doing activities pertaining to Halloween. I would say it would be awkward for a 23-year-old in a costume to knock on a house for candy. But for non-perishable food items or a donation to organizations such as UNICEF or Free the Children’s “Halloween for Hunger”? Not so awkward.
Instead of asking for candy from door-to-door, ask for non-perishable food items or a donation that goes towards an organization aiding those in need. Now that we are older and most of us fulfilled our desire to get candy on Halloween, let’s support a great cause as our treat. I only mention UNICEF and Free the Children as just two of the many other organizations one can get involved in.
The “Treat-or-Treat for UNICEF” fundraising tradition first originated in the U.S. in 1950. Children from elementary schools in Philadelphia started it off. They took the initiative in aiding the less fortunate by going door-to-door on Halloween night, collecting money donations instead of the traditional candy. The total amount raised was $17, which may not seem like a lot now but has since grown to a campaign that raises millions annually for UNICEF.
Collecting for UNICEF is like giving a treat for the less fortunate. It is something to feel great about. UNICEF provides medicine to help cure the sick, better nutrition to improve health, safe drinking water and education to those who do not have the opportunity to learn in environments like ours.
The Free the Children organization was started by a 12-year-old named Craig Kielburger in 1995. His goal was to combat the evils of child labour after being inspired by a newspaper article he had read. Enlisting the help of 11 school friends, he began the organization. It was through him that this organization flourished into one that now has more than a million young people in 45 countries involved.
The goal of Free the Children’s Halloween Hunger is to collect non-perishable food items. The turnout for this organization has been extraordinary. There were 182,825 youth participants in 2010 and 609,225 pounds of food were donated. It shows how just one Halloween night can make such a significant difference. This 609,225 pounds of food could sustain 119 families of four for a full year. Imagine if that statistic is beaten this year; many more families would be fed.
The thought of getting candy and chips still sounds tempting to me even at this age. Although I do not see myself parading around in a batman costume, knocking on doors and saying “trick-or-treat.” I can, however, see myself in a Batman costume trying to collect donations. After all, there might not be bad guys for me to fight but that doesn’t mean I can’t make a difference!