Children wearing costumes trick-or-treating (© David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)
Children receive treats by candy chutes while trick-or-treating for Halloween in New York October 31, 2020. (© David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

While Halloween dates back 2,000 years to the Celtic festival of Samhain, in today’s America it has evolved into a celebration characterized by child-friendly activities like dressing in costumes, trick-or-treating and carving pumpkins.

For many of the 73 million children in the United States, trick-or-treating involves not just asking for candy, but also asking for support for UNICEF, or the United Nations Children’s Fund, which helps children and women in developing countries. For 72 years, costumed American children collecting coins have raised $195 million to keep children around the world healthy, educated and safe.

QR code with pumpkin in center (© UNICEF)
QR code for UNICEF’s trick or treating campaign (© UNICEF)

This year, the “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF” campaign is going digital, inviting people of all ages to access a QR code through its website that lets those who scan it donate directly to the fund.

Trick-or-treating children can still show the code to grown-ups in their neighborhoods. And now, parents can use the code all month long as a background on their smartphones or on social media.

UNICEF hopes the digital campaign encourages new supporters. Donations of $55 can pay for an emergency hygiene kit for a family of five in Ukraine. And $19 can provide a tarp of heavy-duty plastic to protect people from winter winds.