The Happiest Halloween 2016

I wanted to give a big shout out to Laura Hacker-Dawson, who has started a new Family Service Club in Rhode Island. I am so excited for her, and her group has already had a great first service project: picking apples to donate. Please let us know if you are interested in starting a chapter, and we can help you get going!

My local chapter in California also has an exciting project this October. We are doing the same project as last year, so I thought I would repost my article from last October.

Here it is:

A few weeks ago, my friend Amanda posted on Facebook asking friends to donate Halloween costumes for a good cause. I scrolled past the message, not thinking much about it. A few days later, as I had been ruminating on what to do for our October Service Project, I thought back to her post and decided to ask for more information. I’m so glad I did. Amanda works with a fantastic organization called Childhelp. Childhelp is dedicated to 24-hours-a-day treatment of abused, neglected, and at-risk children. The Childhelp Merv Griffin Village in California houses as many as 84 children, and they provide many services for them, including a chance to celebrate Halloween.


Every year, a seamstress volunteers her time to turn used Halloween costumes into costumes the kids can use and enjoy for a Halloween event. Amanda’s post asked friends to donate used or new costumes as well as fabric to make costumes. I was inspired by the idea, and I decided the Family Service Club could help! We are in the process of collecting costumes from their wish-list, and, to me, this is far more exciting than trick-or-treating.


1. Find an Organization:  There are many places that could use some donated halloween costumes, the first step is to find one. I found this article that might give you some good ideas as you start looking.

2. Get the kids involved: Ask them to help you clean out your closets to look for used costumes. You can also go to goodwill or a Halloween store to buy things to donate. This is a great way to make Halloween about more than just collecting sugar.

3. Get your friends involved: Even if you don’t have much to donate, your friends might. I have found that people are really excited to get involved in this project, so post about it on social media, or just call friends and family and get more people excited about making someone else’s Halloween a good one.

4. Share your Story (Optional): If you get a chance to do this project, share your experience. You might inspire someone else to do the project as well.


We are donating our Halloween costumes for kids who have been abused. If my son was a little older, I would use this opportunity to talk to my son a little bit about abuse and how to prevent it. Since this is such a sensitive (and scary) topic. I might use a book like this to help us work through it.


It’s MY Body: A Book to Teach Young Children How to Resist Uncomfortable Touch (Children’s safety series & abuse prevention) by Lory Freeman: in this book “children learn safe boundaries, how to distinguish between “good” and “bad” touches, and how to respond appropriately to unwanted touches.” It looks like a powerful tool to help parents discuss this topic with their children. 

It is really hard for me to think about the things that some children are dealing with on a daily basis. I also have a hard time knowing how to help with young kids of my own at home. I can’t wait to send a big package of costumes to Childhelp in a few weeks, and I hope this will be the beginning of many more projects like this in the future. Do you know of any helpful organizations serving kids in need? Do you have strategies that help your kids to be empathetic towards other kids who are struggling? If so, please let us know. Also, again, if you are interested, click here to start a club of your own.


About Kellie Van Atta

Kellie Van Atta is a wife, a mom of two, and a teacher of English. She lives in Southern California and is passionately dedicated to teaching her kids to love others.

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