Trick-or-Treat Others The Way You'd Like to Be Treated

When you’re young, fairness might be something that comes up on Halloween, especially when it comes to candy: “It’s not fair that my sister/brother/friend got 32 pieces of candy and I only got 27 in my bag.” But, as you get older, your understanding of fairness starts to change and so do your Halloween activities. You might even graduate from trick-or-treating all together. How old is too old to be trick-or-treating anyway?!

By now you’ve begun to understand that sometimes fairness isn’t about everyone getting the same thing. Sometimes to be truly fair, you have to think about each person’s specific needs. Individual differences and unique circumstances determine what’s necessary and important for them. Here’s one way to understand it in a Halloween scenario: You can cover a lot more ground than your younger sister/brother/friend. It is no wonder you have more treats in your bag because you can get to houses more quickly. You slow down so that they can walk with you, and now you visit the same number of houses together.

“Fairness does not mean everyone gets the same. Fairness means everyone gets what they need.” ― Rick Riordan, The Red Pyramid

In the spirit of fairness - no, we don’t mean ghostly spirits - what can you do this October to trick-or-treat others the way you’d like to be treated and create a safe and fun Halloween for all? What can you do to help others this Halloween season? We’ve conjured up a few ideas:

How can YOU get involved? SIMPLE!

Option #1: Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF holds a donation drive each Halloween. Sign up to collect donations instead of candy as you walk around the neighborhood. The funds support all of UNICEF’s programs which aim to improve the lives of children around the world through projects around health care, education and disaster relief, for example.

Option #2: Host a costume drive for Spooky Sunday. This event hosted in Los Angeles helps kids in underserved communities enjoy all the fun of Halloween. Not every kid has a safe neighborhood to trick-or-treat in or enough family funds to buy a costume each year. This Halloween party gives them both! Volunteers decorate their cars at the nonprofit’s headquarters and children “trunk-or-treat.” Kids also get the chance to take home a new or gently used costume (which are collected through costume drives organized by people like you)!

Option #3: The Teal Pumpkin Project is a campaign to raise awareness about food allergies, which can be particularly difficult for kids who are unable to accept candy that is dangerous for them. This project asks neighbors to provide safe, non-food toys as an alternative to candy. Kids with food allergies know a safe treat option is available when you put a teal pumpkin in front of your home.

These ideas give you a chance to put yourself in another trick-or-treater’s shoes. What are the many ways kids might experience Halloween differently and how can you support them? See what you might come up with to help them have an even more spook-tacular Halloween this year.

This piece was written by Marissa Nadjarian. We are proud to have Marissa as one of our main contributors and Mentor Me Learning Advisory Board Members. She is a service-learning specialist, educator, mother and founder of Philanthroparent. Learn more about Marissa and her work at