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5 Spooky Cool Ways to Give Back on Halloween

Happy Halloween! Today marks the spookiest time of the year, when ghosts and goblins walk among us and vampires search for their next victim… hypothetically of course. Halloween is one of the most creative and fun-filled holidays of the whole year, so why not get creative in how you celebrate it?

While we’re out enjoying Halloween, there still exists families and people in need of support from our community. If you’re interested in living a more altruistic lifestyle and helping those in need this Halloween, check out these five spooky ways you can give back.

1. Buy your costume from a nonprofit.
If you’re looking to save money and give back to a cause this Halloween, consider buying your Halloween costume from a local nonprofit. Some organizations, such as The Salvation Army or Goodwill Industries, are nationally known and have a huge variety of costumes to choose from or create. Others are smaller and more locally known. Whichever you pick, your costume can help support others, so they enjoy their Halloween just as much.

2. Trick-or-treat for a cause.
Help your children get involved in the action by showing them how to trick-or-treat for a cause. For example, since 1950, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF has helped raise over $144 million for children. You can participate in a national trick-or-treat fundraiser, or even see if local nonprofits in your area have any events going on. You’re already planning on going trick-or-treating, so you may as well have fun while raising money for a cause at the same time!

3. Donate leftover candy.
If you’re concerned about your post-Halloween waistline, consider donating leftover candy to both national and local nonprofit organizations. The Ronald McDonald House takes candy donations to give to families in their programs; others, such as Operation Shoebox, sends leftover candy overseas to those serving in the military. You can even check with nonprofits in your community to see if they’re collecting candy to give to clients or families in need.

4. Give old costumes.
Once Halloween is over, don’t let that old costume take up valuable closet space. Why not give it to someone else? Several nonprofits and shelters will take clean and gently-used Halloween costumes in order to provide them to children of families who couldn’t otherwise afford them. So once you’re done scaring people, try giving back by letting someone else use your old costume next year.

5. Volunteer at a trick-or-treat alternative.
Many community programs and local schools will offer Halloween trick-or-treat alternatives to provide a safe environment for children to have fun in. These programs are mostly run on a volunteer basis by individuals who can distribute goods and candy in a more controlled setting. Check in your community to see if anything nearby you is hosting a trick-or-treat alternative event, and see how you can get involved to help make a difference.

This Halloween, do more than just trick-or-treat; live altruistically and give back to those less fortunate. Try out some of these fun alternative celebration ideas for you and your family to have a fun and spooky Halloween.

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Creative Fundraising Ideas to Try this October

Pumpkins on every doorstep, changing colors in the trees and spooky decorations around every corner… it’s that time of year again! October is often celebrated for its hayrack rides, pumpkin carvings and haunted houses, but what about its philanthropy opportunities?

How can you use this time to raise money for your favorite causes? Make October about more than just pumpkin spice lattes and costumes. Check out some of these ideas on how you can give back this month.

Have a bonfire.
Bonfires are always a blast, especially during the fall. There’s just something about that chilly night air in stark contrast to the warm fire. See about hosting a community bonfire and ask for sponsorship from local businesses willing to donate to the cause. Be sure to promote the event and the organization it supports beforehand and sell tickets to neighbors. The bonfire can be as big or small as you want it; no matter what, guests will have fun and know their money is going to a worthwhile cause!

Play in a football tournament.
Of course, what’s the most important part of fall? Football season! Get in the spirit by asking friends, family and neighbors to participate in a football tournament. Let players get teams together and pitch in a small amount of money to give to the organization in order to participate in the tournament. Who knows? If you get enough players you could even have multiple divisions, or get creative and host a Harry Potter quidditch tournament. Afterwards, everyone can enjoy drinks and snacks together while watching the real football players on TV.

Promote a pie eating contest.
Everybody loves pie, and everybody especially loves eating pie during fall! This October, try promoting a pie eating contest within your community. Ask for donated pies from local bakeries or even homemade pies. Participants can put in a small amount of money to participate, or viewers can bet on who they think is most likely to win by donating money. Afterwards, the winner can receive a small portion of the earnings, with the rest going towards a local nonprofit. Really want to get creative? Try hosting a pie baking contest beforehand to get even more participants and have the eaters enjoy the best tasting pies around.

Trick or treat for a cause.
Getting to dress up in funny costumes and getting free candy? Trick or treating is the best! This Halloween, your kids can have a great time trick or treating while still helping out for a cause in their community. Check with local nonprofits in your area for flyers or information beforehand, then hand them out during the trick or treating time. Ask for donations and see if neighbors are willing or able to donate. You get to enjoy Halloween while raising money for those in need.

Host a Halloween party.
And of course, the classic: host a Halloween party. Great Halloween parties tend to go down in history as legends, and yours can be a part of that by raising money for a cause at the same time. Host a party for friends and neighbors, and ask them to bring money, needs items or food for entry to give to a local charity project. Then, dance the spooky night away feeling confident in helping others in your community.

This October, make the month about more than just pumpkins and ghost stories. Give back to your community by trying out some of these spooky awesome fundraising ideas. You can help make someone else’s Halloween just a little bit better by practicing altruism this October. Because when we all help each other out, it’s scary how great things can be.

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6 Ways to Teach Your Child About Giving

If you’re a parent, you know how easily kids soak up information. They pick up on stuff faster than we care to imagine, and take in the world around them like little sponges.

We all want our kids to grow up to live happy and healthy lives, but what about altruistic lives? Values and beliefs instilled now flourish into actions later. What can you do to instill philanthropic values in your children? To get you started, here are six ways to teach your child about giving.

1. Volunteer as a family.
The greatest way to teach your child about giving is to let them see you giving. Volunteering or donating as a family is a fun way for everyone to be involved in the process. Your kids will see firsthand how you help in the community and the effects giving has on those in need. When you volunteer as a family, your children see an altruistic lifestyle in work, and feel those values instilled in their own lives.

2. Allow them to pick the cause.
One great way to get your children excited about giving is to let them pick the cause you give to. Have some fun with it! Go online and research different non-profits in the area, ask your kids how they want to help others and let them choose the charity to give back to. When your child feels involved in the initial decision process, he or she will be ready and willing to be involved in the actual giving process.

3. Let them choose items to donate.
If your family decides to donate to a local shelter or home, let your child be involved in choosing which items to donate. Go through their clothes and toys together and ask which ones they would like to give to help other children. Focus the process on helping others, rather than on getting rid of their items. Your children will see just how impactful they can be by giving to others in need.

4. Run a lemonade stand.
Lemonade stands are always a fun time, and giving can be too! Help your child set up a lemonade stand on the corner to make some money, with some of the proceeds going to a local charity of their choice. Your kid will learn the value of hard work and living an altruistic lifestyle all in one event. And who knows? Maybe they’ll decide to donate all of their earnings!

5. Bring giving into activities.
An easy way to get your child excited about giving is to bring it into family events. Birthday parties, holidays or even fun get-togethers can be great times to incorporate giving. Ask guests to bring canned food or clothing items to donate when hosting a party at your house. Or, have all the kids work on a craft they can send to a local charity. Not only will your child feel more engaged with philanthropy, but you’ll be promoting charitable altruism in the community as well.

6. Emphasize the outcome.
Most importantly, emphasize the outcome of giving back with your child. Talk about who volunteering and donating goes to, and how it benefits those in need. Let your child see success stories of people who have been helped by non-profit organizations, and focus on how your efforts are helping them. When kids see the actual results of giving, they’ll be even more inclined to continue the practice for years to come.

When it comes to giving back, don’t just stop with yourself. Help instill philanthropic values in your children’s lives by teaching them the joy of giving to others. What your kids learn now they will become in the future, so help them to lead an altruistic lifestyle from the very beginning.

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October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month!

They’re cute, they’re cuddly and they always do what they’re told… kinda. There’s a reason they’re known as man’s best friend. If you’re a dog lover, you know there’s nothing better than coming home to a furry companion who loves you more than life itself.

Dogs are the best, and this month you can celebrate them even more, because October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month! This month-long celebration seeks to commemorate all the shelter and rescue dogs who are still out there looking for a home. If you want to celebrate our favorite canine friends this month, check out these fun furry tips!

Adopt a shelter dog.
Of course the most obvious way to celebrate Adopt a Shelter Dog Month is to adopt a dog! In fact, adopting a shelter dog has actually been proven to be really good for you. According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), a recent poll suggested that people who adopt a dog from a shelter are more likely to have an overall positive feeling about the experience than people who purchase from a pet store.

If you’re in the market for a new furry companion, help save a life by adopting from a local shelter or rescue group. And don’t forget: old dogs and big dogs need love too!

Volunteer with a shelter.
If you don’t have the capacity to take in a new furry roommate right now, fear not! You can still celebrate Adopt a Shelter Dog Month by volunteering or donating to your local animal shelter. Contact and ask if they have a donation wish list, marketing materials they would like shared in the community or any immediate needs they may have.

Volunteers are always useful to have around taking care of the pooches and helping out employees. Check it out and see how much fun you can have celebrating this month.

Share the news.
When it comes to helping out your community shelter, friends and family are an invaluable resource. Be sure to share the news about Adopt a Shelter Dog month with your contacts on social media, work or school.

If you want to be even more involved, go bigger by hosting a pooch party for some of your fellow dog lovers, and use it to raise money or needs items for a shelter or canine rescue group. The more people who know about Adopt a Shelter Dog month, the more furry friends will be saved and adopted into loving homes.

Spay or neuter your dog.
Finally, don’t forget about the importance of spaying or neutering the dog you currently have or your newly adopted puppy this month. Spaying and neutering prevent the possibility of unexpected—and potentially unwanted—puppies in the future, lowering the number of animals who end up in shelters in the first place. In fact, according to American Humane, spayed and neutered animals have even been shown to lead longer, healthier lives than their counterparts.

If you’re a dog lover or animal lover of any kind, go big this October by celebrating National Adopt a Shelter Dog month. You get to enjoy the love of our furry companions, all the while making an impact on a homeless animal’s life. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, so be a force for good and adopt today.