From haunted houses to scary costumes and delicious treats, Halloween presents an opportunity for unique charity fundraising ideas that you simply can't do at any other time of the year. As with any other fundraising effort, Halloween events need planning. Getting the word out early will make sure everyone knows about your upcoming fundraiser before they make alternate plans for the night.
Gather the most creative people in your group of friends and make some Halloween costumes in the weeks before the big night. Display them in a local business window or post photos on your website, and run a silent auction during the month of October. If your charity is related to animals, you can do the same thing with pet costumes at a nearby pet store. Set a minimum bid to cover your expenses for each costume. Make sure to ask people for their contact information so you can deliver the costumes to them before Halloween. After the auction, call everyone to thank them for participating -- perhaps those who didn't win might want to donate time or money anyway.
Turn your house, garage, community center or school gym into a haunted house for the night and charge a cover fee for a tour. Cover the walls with dark green or black garbage bags and decorate them with spiderwebs. For an office or school gym, use wall dividers to make a path through the haunted maze. Dress mannequins as monsters, ghouls and mummies and have your volunteers dress the same so no one will know which monster might jump out at them next. Dry ice or a fog machine will add to the night, but reserve them early -- the machines are in high demand at Halloween.
Selling Halloween treats can help raise money while spreading awareness for your charity throughout the community. Ask everyone in your organization to bring in small chocolates, mini-cupcakes and other small treats, then combine them to make halloween grab bag with your organization's name on the bags. You can also make your own treats by using a melon baller on a cantaloupe to make mini-pumpkins. Add some marshmallows and place them on skewers and then decorate them with melted chocolate to make ghosts and jack-o-lanterns. Keep them refrigerated overnight and then sell them to people in offices or at your school.
Charity Costume Party
Host a monster-sized Halloween party and, if possible, tie its theme into your charity. For a women's shelter, tell everyone -- men included -- to dress as their favorite heroine. For a children's charity, use a cartoon theme for costumes. Ask local businesses to donate prizes for the best, the scariest and the worst costumes. Don't forget to the dance music and pumpkin decorations. For a Halloween punch, mix fruit juice with ginger ale. The night before, fill a couple of rubber gloves with water and put them in the freezer. When you cut off the gloves, the floating hands will keep the punch hauntingly refreshing.
A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.