Saturday, October 10, 2020

Halloween Is Not Just About the Candy

When I was a kid, every year on Halloween I carried a little cardboard orange box with me when I went trick-or-treating.  So did most of the other kids I went around the neighborhood with or saw walking along the streets.  Collecting money for UNICEF was as much a part of Halloween as wearing a costume and getting candy.

(This post has been updated for Halloween 2020.)

Bring Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF to your students with their collection boxes & classroom resources.  Help kids participate in a worthy cause this Halloween!
Official logo; source: Wikimedia Commons

After I got home and dumped all my loot on the floor in the family room, I opened that little orange box and counted how much money I’d gotten in donations.  Whatever the amount was, it always made me happy that I would be able to help some less fortunate kids elsewhere in the world.

The great thing about candy is that it can't be spoiled by the adult world. Candy is innocent. And all Halloween candy pales next to candy corn, if only because candy corn used to appear, like the Great Pumpkin, solely on Halloween.
Graphic created by: The ESL Nexus

Looking back, I’m sure that carrying that small container in my left hand, the hand that didn’t hold the bag I hoped to fill with candy, played an important role in inspiring me to work overseas in development, first as a Peace Corps Volunteer helping people in West Africa grow more food and then in Asia teaching English so university students and professors could speak English with foreigners and read the journals that would help them help their communities improve their standards of living.

Halloween has changed a lot over the years.  Lots of cities and towns in the U.S. proscribe which day and what time kids can go out trick or treating.  Giving unwrapped food such as fruit is no longer an option.  Many costumes are bought, not hand-made.

And now, of course, with the coronavirus pandemic, celebrating Halloween will be even more different this year.  Most kids probably won't be going house-to-house asking for candy nor will people be attending Halloween parties.

But one thing is still the same: You can still go trick or treating for UNICEF!  However, in 2020, it will be completely virtual.  Instead of using the well-known little orange boxes to collect donations, this year UNICEF is collecting money virtually.  The way it works is teachers, parents, or groups sign up on the UNICEF website to get a digital collection box.  You can also sign up as an individual and get a digital box.  Then, you follow their instructions to ask for donations.  In 2020, the collection period runs from October 1st to November 15th.

In addition, the UNICEF website has various activities that kids can do to learn about UNICEF and how its Trick-or-Treat program supports children around the world.  You'll also be able to choose where you'd like to send the funds you collect from a select list of organizations.  In addition, participants will receive a certificate acknowledging their participation at the end of the program period.

And if you'd like to do something in class on the actual day of Halloween, October 31st, your students might enjoy these Halloween resources from my Boom Learning store.

Find Halloween resources for students in The ESL Nexus Boom Learning store.
You can find them HERE and HERE