Trick or Treat for UNICEF

by Melody Morrow

Halloween is a fun time of year for many so doing good while “treating” ourselves makes the holiday even sweeter.

For more than 60 years and several generations, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF has served as the Original Kids Helping Kids Campaign. In 1947, right after UNICEF was founded, a minister and his wife, Mary Emma and Clyde Allison, from Pennsylvania wanted to turn trick-or-treating into something other than just what was good for the taste buds so they created an effort locally and used hand-painted milk cartons to hold the coins. Beginning in 1950, children in the US were inspired to collect coins for UNICEF to help children in other parts of the world who endured World War II’s after-effects. After it’s successful start, by 1960, Canada, Haiti, France, Japan, Iceland and Spain all joined in. In 1967 President Johnson made Halloween National UNICEF day.

This is not just a Baby Boomer memory, but a very vibrant campaign which has endured and continues to teach all age groups a valuable lesson in giving. Putting away your costume, sorting the candy and counting up all the change to donate was to me better than any video game you could buy. Today if you get an apple in your bag it is probably more valuable than candy, but we all know that acquiring as many candy bars to last you a month is more coveted!  Especially when you want to trade them with a sibling, friend or cousin. Baseball cards were good to trade for the players and gum, but not if you were a staunch candy collector.

I know the coin boxes have “change-d” over the years and maybe even became more eco-friendly, but one thing remains–and that, is everyone can make someone else’s life a little sweeter even if they are on the other side of the world.

Now you can gather up Halloween money online, or on your smart phone. Also there is a Costume Party with Heidi Klum, premiering for the first time this year, in addition to the traditional door-to-door method.

UNICEF’s program inspired me to continue to reach out to other organizations and fundraise for them as I grew up and to recognize that holidays are a way to remember those who can’t celebrate in quite the same way as you. I went on to sell cookies in uniform and special holiday foods for charities. However there was no brand after that which conjured up the famous and very memorable slogan…Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.

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