By hmcalister

It’s mid-September and we’re just a few weeks out from Halloween. Are you still looking for fundraising ideas for Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF? Here’s a low cost idea to host on your campus: Truck-or-Treat.

What is Trunk-or-Treat? Trunk-or-Treat is a safe alternative to door-to-door Trick-or-Treating. Instead of going from house to house in a neighborhood, children come to a parking lot (closed to incoming traffic) where the cars have their trunks open and decorated for Halloween. The children go from car to car in a parking lot and trick-or-treat. Families with small children love this alternative to traditional trick-or-treating because children do not have any streets to cross and the trick-or-treating area is confined to a parking lot.

These are some important tips for organizing a Trunk-or-Treat on campus:

1. Ask your college or university for permission to close one parking lot on Halloween for your event. Determine the hours for your event and ask the facilities department if they can provide barriers to block off the parking lot to traffic during those hours.

2. Make sure the parking lot is close to restrooms that are easily accessible to people of all mobility levels. Check with your college or university to ensure the restrooms can be left open during your event and if your club will need to assume any financial responsibilities. Will the club need to pay for cleaning after the event or for consumable items such as paper towels, soap and toilet paper?

3. Invite other campus organizations to participate by decorating their cars and passing out goodies to participants. The number of participants depends on how you arrange the cars in the parking lot. Figure out how many cars you can accommodate before extending invitations. Participants provide their own car decorations and goodies.

4. Decide what other activities your club will offer. Many organizations will offer fun activities such as face painting, bobbing for apples, Halloween crafts, and games. Can you solicit local businesses for donations? If you have games, can a local business offer your club prizes at cost or for a discounted rate? Let donors know you will acknowledge their contribution through signage at your event. (Example: Have a large banner or display board with each donor’s name listed and urge those in attendance to patronize those businesses in the future.)

5. Will your club serve food? If so, what will you serve? Can you partner with local businesses to buy food items at a discount? Some ideas are hot dogs, chips, hot apple cider, candy apples, and donuts. This is a perfect time to partner with a Circle K Convenience Store in your city. Ask if they could provide hot dogs, chips and bottled water at a discount. Use that branding confusion to your advantage!

*Donate the profits from food sales to Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF

6. If you’re going to offer food, make sure you have plenty of trash cans and recycle bins available near the food area and around the parking lot.

7. Determine if your club needs other decorations such as hay bales and pumpkins to make the event more festive. Ask the local pumpkin patch of you could purchase those items at a discount.

8. What is the schedule for the event? What time will the parking lot need to be empty so your club can decorate? What time will the truck-or-treat cars need to arrive to enter the parking lot? How many volunteers will you need for set-up, food and games, and clean up? Use that information to determine when members will work and what tasks they will be in charge of for the event.

9. How will you get the word out to the community? Have some club members develop advertising for the event that can be sent out to the community. Do you need to run an ad in the local paper? Can your college or university post information on their website? Is your sponsoring Kiwanis club able to help you spread the word? Can you post informational fliers in the businesses who donated items?

10. Consider setting up a photo booth or area where families can have their photos taken by a member of your club. Print the photos and ask for a donation of US$2. Put the photos in cardboard frames with a message on the back “Thank you! Your donation saved and protected the lives of one mother and her future babies from Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus. To learn more visit:”

11. Have members walk around with Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF boxes collecting donations during the event.

12. Consider having a costume parade and awarding prizes for the best costume in categories such as: scariest costume, funniest costume, most original costume for different age groups.

13. Also consider awarding a prize to the person with the best decorated trunk. Set up a table in the middle of the parking lot. Have cans with photos of the trunks on the front. Ask the families who are in attendance to cast a vote for their favorite decorated trunk using spare change. The trunk with the most money at the end of the voting period is the winner. The change collected will be donated to Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. Let those in attendance know how many lives they saved and protected when you announce the winner.

14. When your event is complete, be sure to clean up the lot and the surrounding area before leaving. This helps your club maintain a positive relationship with campus officials and gives everyone a positive image of Circle K!

We know that is a lot of information, but a successful event requires a lot of planning.

Does your club host a trunk-or-treat? We would love to see photos and hear your story! Send your photos and your story to Heather McAlister. You might find your club featured on the website or CKI social media!