Eleanor Roosevelt launches UNICEF Halloween “Trick or Treat” program at the United Nations with Captain Kangaroo, 1957.
The program was documented in Eleanor’s “My Day” column:
I went to the United Nations the other afternoon to be photographed with some of the children who are taking part in the Halloween Trick or Treat program for the benefit for UNICEF.
UNICEF stands for the U.N. International Children’s Fund. The “E” used to be for “emergency,” but while it is still left in the alphabetical name, the program is no longer an emergency program. It goes on every day, all year around, feeding children who are hungry, wherever it is possible to do so throughout the world, helping people to feed their children better with local foods, and in cooperation with the World Health Organization putting on campaigns against diseases which attack children.
The idea of making Halloween serve two purposes has become very popular and on October 31 last year 7,500 communities from Alaska to Florida and from Hawaii to Puerto Rico participated. A million and a half youngsters had the pleasure of dressing up and ringing doorbells, holding containers into which pennies could be dropped to help the world’s children.
Mothers, and even fathers, have gone out with their children so that they could go more extensively throughout their neighborhoods, particularly in country districts.
It has become a real community undertaking, and instead of people being afraid of tricks that might be played upon them and real vandalism, which often did occur in days gone by, we now know that with the pennies we have saved to give, something can be done for children in the world. And often added to the pennies are cookies and candies for the children who thoughtfully go about collecting for youngsters in other parts of the world.
Five cents provides enough penicillin to cure one child of yaws. One cent provides the vaccine to inoculate one child against TB, and one cent provides five large glasses of milk made out of milk powder.
And if you want to know how many children in the world were reached through the efforts of UNICEF last year, we are told that 37,000,000 children and their mothers were helped in almost 100 countries and territories. And for every dollar of aid which came through UNICEF, the governments of these countries put up a matching dollar.
Of course, the hope is that the countries eventually will finance their own programs and themselves do what needs to be done for their children, but they need initial guidance and inspiration.
Halloween is upon us. But if you want material for a UNICEF celebration, the U.S. Committee for UNICEF at the U.N., New York City, will send you on request and for one dollar a kit with all the supplies you need. It will furnish 25 youngsters with the containers and many ideas the adult helpers may be glad to have.