“Halloween is not cancelled. It’s just going to look a little different this year,” declares UNICEF. That’s sure to provide relief to many kids who have already been through a world of changes this year. Now many children may fear they’ll miss out on the pure joy of dressing up in a carefully chosen costume for trick-or-treat fun, but UNICEF has some alternative suggestions to save October’s cherished holiday.  

Trick-or-treating for UNICEF has been a time-honored tradition for many altruistic children since the Halloween season of 1950. Since then, over $180 million has been raised for UNICEF, which is also known as the United Nations Children’s Fund, through a program they call Kids Helping Kids.

The way it works is usually pretty simple. The organization sends out little orange boxes that children bring with them as they go trick-or-treating from door to door on Halloween night. Instead of requesting candy, the children ask for donations to UNICEF.

This year, instead of encouraging children to go trick-or-treating during the ongoing pandemic, UNICEF is helping kids celebrate in new, creative ways. Children can now have a more international experience; they can now virtually travel around the world to celebrate Halloween with a variety of activities. It all starts with signing up at the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF page. You can sign up as an individual, a family, a classroom, or as another group who wants to fundraise and celebrate together.

Then the fundraising part is just about as simple as ever. After you sign up, UNICEF will automatically create a fundraising page that the child can share with friends, family members, and others. It can be easily shared on social media and in email signatures, too. Whenever someone donates to the page, the money will go directly to UNICEF. The donations also count as Trick-or-Treat Coins that children can “spend” on the site later.

Children then have the power to choose how they want UNICEF to spend the money people have donated via their Trick-or-Treat page. They can choose from uses such as safe water tablets, immunization vaccines, or N-95 masks. This part of the experience can help children see how their hard work can have a direct, positive impact on others.

UNICEF guides children through various ways they can get the word out about their fundraising page. It offers everything kids need to host a video get-together that’s supervised by parents or guardians. Whereas children are limited to trick-or-treating locally during a typical year, this year they can host loved ones who are literally anywhere in the world in one virtual get-together. They also suggest that children can do a virtual costume reveal to show their loved ones around the world what they want to dress up as for Halloween this year. Parents may help children prepare comments about why they chose their costume and what it means to them.

Kids can also earn coins on the website by clicking game-style extensions on the site to learn more about the organization, discover the history of the 70-year-tradition of trick-or-treating for UNICEF, or learning more about the heroes of healthcare.

More complex interactive activities include a portal that takes kids on a step-by-step lesson to make their town more child-friendly, an opportunity for them to ask a healthcare worker questions that might be on their mind, and the chance for young people to draw their own vision for how they think the world should be for children.

You aren’t limited to celebrations before or on Halloween night. The virtual Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF program will last until November 15, 2020. Children may choose to do one activity each day until then to raise money and celebrate Halloween at the time. If you don’t know any kids involved in the fundraiser, you can still donate directly to the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF program through a secure donation page.

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