kate atwoodBy Kate Atwood

“Trick or Treat” – three words that can ignite such anticipation and excitement around this time of year. With Halloween coming up, I find myself settling into fall and preparing for the holiday celebrations that will fill the months to come.

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays: the costumes, the pumpkins, and the fervor of kids collecting candy around each neighborhood. Halloween is also a great opportunity to give back in a creative and fun way. Here are some ways you can do so:

For adults: Getting dressed in a Halloween costume never gets old. Need a fun excuse to do so? How about hosting a Halloween Party for charity?  Instead of host gifts, ask guests who attend to bring a donation to help your efforts. Put the charity’s website on the invitation so your guests can learn more about the cause. You can further your efforts by having a costume contest as part of your bash. Simply collect a pot of cash from participating guests. The contest winner gets half of the winnings and the other half goes to charity.

For kids: UNICEF runs one of the year’s most successful Halloween collection programs. You can still collect your candy, but along with your own treasure, you have the opportunity to raise money for other children who need help. Trick or Treat for UNICEF includes a signature orange collection box that makes it easy to be a part of traditional Halloween festivities.  For more than 50 years, this program has raised over $188 million to provide medicine, education, emergency relief and other support to children all over the world. To find out more: youth.unicefusa.org/trickortreat.

For families: For those who really like to get into the Halloween spirit, visit Atlanta’s own Historic Oakland Cemetery for its annual Halloween tours on October 24 through 26. Although the cemetery is open year-round, Halloween is the only time the gates stay open after dark.  “Capturing the Spirit of Oakland” tours give you the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts about Atlanta’s past. You’ll also see gorgeous candlelit mausoleums in this one-of-a-kind annual tradition. Guests are encouraged to bring a flashlight, wear comfortable shoes, and leave any jitters at the gates. Tickets must be purchased in advance. $15 Adults, $5 Children 12 and under – and all go to support the Oakland Cemetery Foundation. To find out more, www.oaklandcemetery.com.

Kate Atwood is the founder of Kate’s Club. Visit her new blog at http://www.kateatwood.squarespace.com.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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