When trick-or-treating was cancelled in many parts of Canada in 2020, the UNICEF Canada team put our heads together to come up with a fun and safe alternative for children and their families across the country to celebrate the spookiest of seasons. Why? Because so many milestones that make up important parts of childhood were paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we wanted a way for families to keep the Halloween spirit alive!
This year we’re expanding on the UNICEF Canada Halloween Walk-a-thon, so we’re here to answer your questions about the Walk-a-thon, how you can get involved, and why exactly UNICEF Canada loves Halloween so much!
1) Why Halloween?
Did you know that Halloween played a big part in UNICEF Canada’s founding? In 1950, a minister in Pennsylvania, Clyde Allison, his wife, Mary Emma, and their kids started asking for coins, as well as candy, when trick-or-treating, to send to children in Europe who’d been impacted by World War II.
In 1952, news of this new movement had spread to Canada, and Canadian families also began collecting coins on Halloween and mailing them to the UNICEF USA fund. The interest was so strong that in 1955, UNICEF opened UNICEF Canada, to help Canadians organize and fundraise on Halloween (and beyond!)
2) What is the Halloween Walk-a-thon?
UNICEF Canada stopped sending out the orange Halloween collection box in 2006, but following the relaunch of our Halloween campaign in 2019, we created the UNICEF Halloween Walk-a-thon in 2020. The Walk-a-thon helps kids and their families celebrate Halloween while fundraising for UNICEF through the whole month of October.
To take part, you can sign your child or family up, set a goal for distance walked, and then get family and friends to sponsor you. To learn more and to register for your Halloween Walk-a-thon, click here >>
3) How do I walk the Walk-a-thon?
This Halloween season, we’re asking Canadian families to walk their hood to do some good by turning their trick-or-treating steps into a walk-a-thon for the world’s children. We know that Halloween might not be the same for everyone in every city and province, but we’re encouraging families to dress up and do their walk any way that they feel comfortable on Halloween (October 31).
Just because it’s called a Walk-a-thon doesn’t mean you have to walk it though. Kids have hopped, skipped, ran, rode bikes and skated skateboards and roller skates, all in the name of raising money for other children around the world.
4) Who are the Halloween Heroes?
Parents and grandparents might recognize the four Halloween Heroes from when they appeared on the orange Trick or Treat for UNICEF boxes, going all the way back to the 1970s and 1980s!
The Halloween Heroes represent four key areas of UNICEF’s work – including water, health, nutrition and education – that every child needs to have a happy and healthy childhood. When you take part in the UNICEF Canada Halloween Walk-a-thon, you’re helping raise money to support programs in these four areas all over the world.
5) Why should I, and my family, take part in the UNICEF Halloween Walk-a-thon?
Canadian kids are – and always have been – UNICEF Canada’s secret ingredient. You put your energy, optimism and confidence behind activities and fundraisers to improve the world for all children, which aids in furthering help children who rely on UNICEF’s support for important resources like education and healthcare.
For many years, Halloween was Canadian kids’ first introduction to philanthropic giving – and many kids who took part in Trick or Treat for UNICEF grew up to be UNICEF supporters (and employees!) UNICEF Canada wants the Halloween Walk-a-thon to be a way for kids and families to come together for a fun activity, while also doing some good for other children around the world.