Flammable costumes, sugary naughtiness and overpriced pumpkins, there is no doubt that Halloween has become a creepy crawly, commercial nightmare. But there are many ways of making the eve of All Hallows a more positive festival by finding ways to be charitable and teaching the little ones that even in times of great indulgence they can find ways to give back.
Here are some charitable activities you can try with your family this Halloween that will hopefully develop into a long-lasting generous, autumnal tradition.
Cards of kindness
Many children are too ill to go out trick or treating. Make homemade Halloween cards for hospitalised children with life-threatening illnesses and mail to a child through Post Pal a small charity run solely by volunteers who are dedicated to making seriously ill children and their siblings smile by the sending of cards, letters, little gifts, support and friendship.
What can you do with those costumes of Halloweens past that are simply collecting cobwebs in your closet? Donate them. Many local charities take costume donations so check in with your neighbourhood favourites to see if they could use your costume stash. If your chosen organisation doesn’t have a charity shop near you try using Clothes for Charity.
“Trick or feed”
The latest figures published by the Trussell Trust show that over 1,000,000 people have received at least three days’ emergency food from the charity’s foodbanks in the last twelve months, more than in any previous year. Help continue to break food bank records by throwing a Halloween-themed party where the ticket to enter is a can of food. Or distribute flyers and posters around your neighbourhood letting others know you will be collecting canned food during trick or treating. To find your local food bank visit the Trussel Trust.
Perform a "treat"
The classic egg on the doorstep and knock and runaway tricks are so overrated. Forget the trick and instead perform a treat or a random act of kindness. Bake a pumpkin pie for an elderly neighbour, deliver a handwritten thank you note to a local service provider or organise a leaf brigade and rake some gardens in your community on Halloween afternoon. To find other acts of Kindness visit Kindness UK.
Collect for UNICEF
The tradition of 'Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF' began in 1950 in the United States, when Philadelphia schoolchildren first went door-to-door at Halloween collecting money in decorated milk cartons to help their global peers.
Since then, the campaign has brought in millions each year to help UNICEF provide medicine, better nutrition, safe water, education, emergency relief and other support to children in more than 150 countries.
But in these campaigns, children go far beyond trick or treating in scary costumes with the familiar orange collection boxes in hand. Children and young people take part in various fun and educational events that help them gain a better understanding of child rights and the challenges facing children around the world – including poverty, killer diseases and armed conflict.
So witches, vampires, zombies and the rest, have a great Hallows eve and help to raise money for a worthwhile cause whilst you are at it.