It’s the season of giving out treats, but many of the people (and animals) who need them most will be definitely treatless this All Hallows Eve. While you’re stuffing your treat bag full of goodies, it’s a great time of year to also take some time and do something sweet (in mostly the figurative sense) where it’s really needed. While no volunteer effort or charitable task goes unnoticed and unappreciated, we have some ideas for some seasonally special chances to make a difference.

Donate Sweets and Necessities to Your Local Foodbank

The hunger crisis is very real in America even if it’s shockingly not talked about all that often. Food banks are desperate for your donations. In addition to that, many parents who rely on foodbanks for a significant portion of their food likely don’t have the resources to treat their children to Halloween goodies. This is true for seniors as well, who sadly often also rely on food banks. But we don’t just want you to drop off candy at your local food bank. Sweet treats are nice, but they don’t make the world go round. Pair up a candy drop-off (this is a time when bulk shopping can make a difference) with a donation of necessities, too. And while any foodstuff is always appreciated, keep in mind that most food banks are always in need of diapers (both baby and adult) and baby formula.

Donate to Kids: Who Need More Than Candy

We have two different ideas on ways to donate to kids with something more meaningful than candy. One is to take the money that you would normally spend on Halloween treats and donate it to a nonprofit such as Save the Children or a local charity that helps children in need. The twenty, thirty or even fifty dollars that you’ll spend on candy this Halloween likely won’t make a bit of difference to the children who receive it, but that same amount of money can make a massive difference to children who are less fortunate than those in your local community Halloween parade.

A second idea is to partner with a local teacher and use your Halloween candy money to instead provide supplies to a classroom in need. It’s no secret how much money teachers spend out-of-pocket to provide basic school supplies to their students. You can ease that burden significantly by giving some lucky students the treat of proper school supplies.

Treat Yourself…to an Animal in Need

So many animals would love your attention this Halloween. While the ability or opportunity to adopt an animal and give it it’s forever home isn’t right for everybody, if you can make it work it will ultimately be the perfect Halloween treat for both you and the animal you save. But even if you can’t adopt, you can be a difference maker in an animal’s life. Volunteer to pet or play with animals at your local shelter or turn your Halloween candy budget into a shelter donation.

Volunteer to Organize a Neighborhood Post-Halloween Recycling Collection

After Halloween, the number of recycling opportunities that are unique to the season are many, but the number of households that take advantage of them are often few. You can change that though, with one of two projects. The first project is to lead up an effort to collect or provide a collection point for post-Halloween pumpkins that are at the end of the jack-o-lantern life and then ensure that they make their way to a compost pile. When organic waste goes into a trash bag, it may biodegrade but the trash bag keeps it from recycling back into the earth seamlessly. The second way is to lead a community-wide collection of Halloween recyclables like treat bags, costumes, masks, plastic decorations and paper decorations. You can then be the one responsible for sorting them and making sure that items that can be donated are donated and items that can be recycled are recycled.

Deliver Treats to Your Local Seniors

Partner up with your local Meals on Wheels organization or a care home to deliver treats to seniors in need. If you truly want to brighten their day, partner with a local school or youth organization to have children show off their costumes to the seniors. It’s not only the very young who enjoy Halloween festivities, it’s also the older generation. And while seniors often get plenty of visits and contributions for the winter holidays, Halloween is frequently overlooked.

Did we miss an idea for a way to volunteer and make a difference this Halloween that you want to share with us? If so, just tell us about it on one of the social media channels below.

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