October is here, and that means the Halloween preps are beginning. Costume pop-up stores are open, party suppliers are amping up their advertising, and spooky movies and programming are hitting the cinemas and television.
It seems each year, the tendency be more extreme and get more from this day increases, be it tricks or treats.
However, there are those to take the opportunity mix philanthropy and giving with their happenings and haunts. Here are three Halloween-centric charitable efforts whose work is anything but frightening:
Zombie Pumpkins charity donations: Zombie Pumpkins has been one of the best sources for unique printable pumpkin carving patterns for all skill levels for more than 10 years, but they have also shared their wealth with various charities each year since 2005. The first recipient was American Red Cross in 2005, shortly after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and each year they donate a portion of their proceeds from their online memberships to a different charity, including Make-A-Wish, My Stuff Bags Foundation, Free Arts and Heart Hope. Those who join can not only get the latest on carving the best pumpkins, but help to carve out a better future for others.
Spirit Halloween’s Spirit of Children: Spirit Halloween is known for some pretty terrifying props, but they don’t want children to have to face the real scary challenges of life alone. This includes the all-too-frightening experience of being hospitalized during the Halloween season. Since 2006, Spirit of Children, in partnership with Child Life Departments within children’s hospitals, has raised more than $22 million to help bring a little fun to children in more than 130 children’s hospitals in the United States and Canada. This, of course, includes Halloween parties and goodie bags, but also financial support for other Child Life programs from music therapy to training specialists to work with family support. Their goal for 2015 is $6.735 million. Spirit also strives to make sure donations from a particular area remain local, helping one of the spookiest seasonal stores create a less-scary environment for children.
Haunts Against Hunger: Haunts Against Hunger began in 2010 as a way to encourage haunted attractions and events organize food drives in their area. Celebrity spokesperson for the non-profit is former horror queen Linda Blair, who today runs the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation, which rescues neglected and bused animals. As a result of Blair’s involvement, Haunts Against Hunger now encouraged donations for both people and pets. There are currently drop-off locations in nine U.S. states, but everyone is encouraged to help host a Haunts Against Hunger food drive in their area. They’ll even help participants determine a deserving local food pantry, so that participants can do their part in helping feed the hungry long after the season of “treats” has passed.
Looking for more reasons to give? Here are some ways to make harvest and haunts season one of giving, as well:
- Collect nonperishable goods for a local food bank in addition to or — or instead of — candy while making the trick-or-treat rounds.
- Many schools, organizations and places of worship host fundraising “Trunk or Treat” events. Attend one near you, and help have fun while helping them reach their fundraising goals.
- Trick-or-treat at a participating nursing home, as suggested by GeekMom contributor Judy Berna.
- Organize a safe neighborhood block party for families and children, and make the price of “admission” a blanket, toiletry or other needed item for a local rescue mission.
- Promote literacy by leaving age-appropriate scary books around as part of the fantastic All Hallows Read campaign. Neil Gaiman will approve.
- If your school or organization is hosting a haunted house or similar attraction, talk to United Blood Services in your area about partnering with them to set up a blood drive during the event. What better place to give blood?
- Remember those little Unicef Boxes you can carry with you on Halloween? They still have them! Unicef has been doing its Trick-or-Treat for Unicef campaign with graded K-12 since 1950, and has raised millions for its charitable causes. This year’s campaign celebrates The Peanuts Movie.
Halloween is supposed to be spooky sometimes, but this year, make sure no one, especially children, have to face the real monsters of life alone. Use this spooky season to help create a safer and less scary world the rest of the year.
Originally ran on MinionFeeding101.com Oct. 3, 2015,