Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Dan Sadowsky, a former TeachUNICEF team member and current independent writer of curriculum, professional development courses, and educational media. You can follow him at @dan_sadowsky.


If you became a parent recently, chances are the first time you saw the phrase “Trunk-or-Treat,” you thought it was a typo. But no, it’s actually a real thing that was meant to be a safer alternative to the trick-or-treating we all grew up with. And now my kids have both. Seriously, they need even more candy? There must be some good to come out of this, I thought. And there is: Trunk-or-Treat for UNICEF.

I had been “trick-or-treating for UNICEF” with my daughters since the eldest was old enough to say those five important words. I felt great to see her learn about generosity through this original Kids Helping Kids campaign. So Anna and I decided last year to bring this spirit to the School #2 Trunk-or-Treat event as a “trunker” family. But as the ones manning our car’s trunk, we couldn’t ask kids to give money; we were giving candy instead. What if we showed people the power of giving to UNICEF, we thought, through a fun game to earn candy? Thus was born our “Coin Toss for Good.”

Recalling the inspirational story of “Caine’s Arcade” that went viral several years ago, I figured that kids might really line up to play an old-fashioned homemade carnival game. Especially if they played with house money, maybe then they’d be encouraged to contribute their own. A donated pizza box became the coin toss board, with each circle representing something Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF contributions can help buy: vaccines to protect against deadly diseases, bicycles to deliver medicines to children, and others. Hit or miss, each coin dropped into a huge collection box made from an old computer box. Anna helped build the game and added her artistic touch to it. It looked great; would it be the hit I imagined, though?

I don’t think any carnival game in history was busier than we were that night! Throngs of kids massed in front of our trunk, waiting impatiently to be given three nickels to throw in “peanut paste” and the other targets. And my hunch was correct: Periodically kids would come with coins and bills of their own to contribute. For every four nickels we supplied, they gave three. And the parents loved it for giving their kids something to do, as well as learn and help in the process.

“Coin Toss for Good” will make a triumphant return to Trunk-or-Treat this year. Kids will still get three free nickels to play with, but for a dollar contribution they’ll get ten! With more Halloween bling, Anna and I know it’ll #BeScaryGood. We have a hunch it’ll be even scary-better than last year!

If you have fun ideas planned to go trick-or-treating for UNICEF this year, please share them with us on our Facebook pageBe sure to tag #TOT4UNICEF and #kidshelpingkids!

**UPDATE** Anna and Dan’s Coin Toss for Good was a smashing success!

Anna gets all set-up for this year’s Coin Toss for Good!

A trick-or-treater plays the coin toss and discovers he can #bescarygood by helping other kids!