Spook-tacular Halloween Campaigns

Two halloween pumpkins with faces illuminated in the dark

Spook-tacular Halloween Campaigns

Research Officer Tapinder Sidhu reflects on two Halloween charity campaigns she has noticed which really get in the spirit of things.
Tapinder Sidhu
Spooky season is upon us! As we approach Halloween this Sunday, we wanted to share two quick examples of fa-boo-lous Halloween campaigns from the charity world. Read on if you like hearing about charities raising awareness, fundraising ideas, and eerie-sistible puns (I would share a skeleton one here, but I don’t think you’d find it very humerus).
The first comes from across the pond. In 2019, UNICEF Canada launched a thrilling throwback to its trick-or-treating traditions. Canadian children used to collect donations for UNICEF along with their sweets at Halloween, giving many their first interaction with a charity. Now UNICEF Canada have taken the legacy online to revive support from younger generations. The four characters that used to be displayed on the donation boxes, representing water, health, nutrition, and education were turned into “Halloween Heroes”. Kids choose which to collect for, then friends and family sponsor their efforts to support UNICEF’s mission. Once reaching their fundraising goal, participants were inducted into the ‘Hall of Heroes’ and awarded a Hero’s Crest. The campaign aims to help teach young people about global issues and the positive impact they could have. Typically, from our research we know many charities’ supporters skew towards older generations – UNICEF Canada found a great way to increase their awareness and grow a new generation of supporters. Doesn’t that just lift your spirits!
Image of 'Trick or Treat for Unicef' box of cards

Trick-or-Treat for Unicef Original Branding

Unicef Canada Halloween Hero Image with 4 child characters in costume

Unicef 'Halloween Hero' Promotional Material


Some of you might remember that a few years ago retailers were selling “Mental Patient” costumes for Halloween (how are incredibly offensive costumes such as these ever seen as okay by the way!?). As a positive response to a negative action, Time To Change launched a social media campaign calling on people to upload pictures of what a real ‘mental patient’ outfit looked like, with the hashtag #MentalPatient. What ensued was a viral campaign with not-so-scary posts of people in their slippers, or dressing gowns, or your average h&m jacket. Time To Change is all about ending mental health stigma and discrimination, and this was such a fang-tastic way of challenging the stereotype and myth that people with mental health issues are dangerous or scary. The campaign gained such momentum that retailers were forced to pull the costume. This is a niche, timely, and responsive example, but it illustrates the benefits of engaging with existing and potential supporters via social media. Social media is intertwined into so many aspects of people’s lives, and charities should no doubt use their platform to raise awareness on the issues important to them. So, what are you waiting for? Give 'em pumpkin to talk about!

Whilst there’s plenty of inspiration for online methods, it seems post-pandemic fundraising will also be very much about navigating the traditional larger-scale events safely. In fact, there’s one happening this week – the London Halloween Walk. Several well-known charities are encouraging supporters to take part in the hair-raising hike while dressed to distress. Getting into the Halloween spirit is frighteningly fun and bigger-picture events and attractions like these never fail to draw in people who want to get involved. But charities shouldn’t forget about those who might still want to avoid these events. Halloween is also a great opportunity to provide creative ideas and downloadable fundraising packs for those who would prefer to sink their teeth into some fundraising festivities on a smaller scale or from the comfort of their homes. Plenty of small local charities often get in on these creative endeavours. Be sure to check them out and have a happy and charitable Halloween!

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