It’s official: school is back in session. Returning students signal another season of activities and events for booster clubs to sponsor. Tap into the spirit of giving with these 8 super creative spooky Halloween fundraising ideas.
Running a successful social gathering takes a clearly defined plan, backed by a dedicated group. Use this list of Halloween fundraising ideas to create your vision, then assemble your team of heroes, volunteers and administrators for a night or weekend of frightful holiday fun. Approximate levels of difficulty and costs are included, so you can scale these spooky fundraising strategies to get the most benefit for the school and community you serve.
The grading scale is as follows:
Ease of Administration — Simple, Moderate, Difficult
Overall Cost (to administer) — Cheap, Pricey, Expensive
Rate of Return — Low, Medium, High
Screams on Screen
Everyone loves a good movie, especially when it’s scary. Host a Halloween movie screening inside the school’s auditorium or outdoors on a big screen – weather permitting. Let the film be the theme and invite attendees to dress as their favorite character. Build interest for the Halloween fundraising ideas on social media and with movie-style posters at the school and with partner businesses around town.
Raise money with ticket sales and holiday concessions. To turn the show into a real night out, ask a few tailgate-ready parents to come prepared for a cook out. Set up portable grills and serving tables with a portion of their sales going to the booster club.
Costs for this will vary depending upon the location, and could be next to nothing if the school or venue donates use of the space. The really expensive part comes with getting permission to show the desired movie due to copyright laws. Obtaining the rights to screen it can set you back $250 – $800 for one showing. Stay compliant by contacting the licensing studio or other independent film broker to obtain a public screening license. Check out the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation for more details.
Ease of Administration: Moderate to Difficult (easier indoors vs. outdoors)
Overall Cost: Pricey to Expensive (dependent upon film licensing and venue leasing)
Rate of Return: High (more people equals more ticket sales, food, drinks and donors)
Halloween Who Done-It
Haunted houses are everywhere because they’re a popular holiday treat. Take it to the next level and run a halloween fundraiser that challenges and scares its participants. Create a haunted murder mystery escape room. This one can be for adults only, or allow teenagers to join, so long as there’s a clear understanding of the rules in place to protect younger attendees.
Escape rooms are becoming more and more popular, with independent companies and theme parks rolling out different versions every year. The booster club Halloween fundraising haunted mystery experience can take place in the home of a donor, a classroom at the school or be hosted by the professionals.
Charge $20 – $30 per person, and keep the room and clues simple but chilling. Each round of play should last about 30 minutes, so others don’t have to wait endlessly to enjoy a turn. A quick search on the internet for room themes, sample clues and spooky decor will turn up Halloween fundraiser ideas for constructing your own.
Ease of Administration: Simple (much like a setting up a haunted house)
Overall Cost: Pricey (dollar store decor, volunteer decorators or rent a venue)
Rate of Return: Medium (depends upon number of players run in a timely manner)
Halloween Fundraising Ideas: Pets-tival of Terror
This spooky fundraising idea is for all the pet lovers in your community. Organize an ador-rifying pet costume party featuring devil dogs, hell cats and other scary animals.
The location and event times will be weather and pet-friendly venue specific, so plan accordingly.
Like any good parade, you can incorporate small balloons, bicycle-led floats, and even the schools’ marching band. Be sure to coordinate with city officials and law enforcement if the location goes down busy city streets. Keep in mind large parking lots (mall or shopping center), civic plazas and other public parks where parking is ample and foot-traffic is encouraged.
Money is raised from donations, pay-to-play games (S-C-A-R-E think BINGO), horror movie trivia, popcorn and candy sales. Be sure to involve your local animal shelter and ask them to set-up a $1 puppy-kisses booth.
Ease of Administration: Moderate to Difficult (location, logistics and live animals)
Overall Cost: Pricey (partnerships can reduce costs, but venue and extras add up)
Rate of Return: High (people pay-up for pets, and who doesn’t love puppy kisses?)
Halloween Pick a Patch
No list of spooky Halloween fundraising ideas is complete without a great patch of pumpkins to play in. Frighten guests and collect money from the sales of this seasonal fruit (yes, it is a fruit!). Get donors hyped and involved by setting an aggressive monetary goal that encourages more people to buy your club’s gourds.
Keep costs low by connecting with leaders and volunteers within the community. Use a church, shopping center or other favorable parking lot as your non-profit Halloween fundraisers’ headquarters. Partner up with local businesses to have them donate the pumpkins to sell or get them from a wholesaler.
Turn up the fright factor with scary music playing from a streaming device on a set of rented speakers. Volunteers can add some horror decor and act as the costumed characters haunting the event. Consider having a jack-o-lantern carving station as a way to have fun and earn additional donations.
Ease of Administration: Moderate to Difficult (location, weather, sales software)
Overall Cost: Cheap to Pricey (low pumpkin supply, budget for hosting a sale, decor)
Rate of Return: Medium (volume of customers, additional donation sources)
Halloween Fundrasing Ideas: Fan the Flames
Of the more unique Halloween fundraiser ideas, this one is sure to burn it up. Be bold and construct a Fire and Brimstone themed bonfire. Costumed attendees will fright and delight as they gather to talk, eat, drink and be scary.
Make money from admission tickets of $15 – $25 per person, with a discount for students, emergency service and military personnel. Older folks and children under 10 are free. Reach out to local warehouses, shipping companies and grocery chains to ask for wood and pallet donations.
The safety of everyone in attendance is paramount, so partner with your local Fire Department well in advance. Have them walk your leaders through safety protocols and be a presence on the day of the function. Organize outdoor games (bag toss, sack races, ghost story telling) set up donation collection stations in key locations and have a short Halloween horror music performance by a local school band. Don’t forget to put together little s’mores making kits and sell them.
Ease of Administration: Difficult (face it, you’re playing with fire; logistics and safety)
Overall Cost: Expensive (venue rental, fire extinguisher rentals, safety personnel)
Rate of Return: High (food, ticket and club merchandise sales, donations stations)
A-Maze-ing Hay Rides
Utilize the fall season in your holiday fundraiser to host a hay ride and halloween haunted maze. These blend the better aspects of Halloween, with people gathering outdoors to enjoy the arrival of fall and the company of others. And happy people tend to donate more, so have fun with your maze design.
Draw more community members in by offering free admission. That’s right, no tickets sales. Instead, advertise this as a food drive to collect non-perishables for the needy and financial donations for the club. This is an ample time to sell logo’d merchandise too, like tee shirts, cups or holiday candles.
Non-profits in rural areas should easily create their own haunted maze and hay ride. Urban dwellers may find it more challenging to pull this off, but even major cities have access to hay and a large enough space to design a holiday maze. Keep your food and beverage menu simple or collaborate with a neighborhood food truck to provide provisions.
Ease of Administration: Moderate (tractor or horse-drawn rides, sufficient maze area)
Overall Cost: Pricey (cost of hay, rental of equipment, prep and tear-down timeline)
Rate of Return: Medium to High (sales of club items, number of participating donors)
Dig up your favorite dance shoes and dust off those ghoulish moves with a spooky dance party. Your dance themed Halloween fundraiser ideas can include some Thriller-esque costumes, a monster’s ball or a coven of witches and warlocks. Announce the dance across social platforms with a voting contest for the style party goers would like most.
Successful dances are DJ run, so research and book one in advance. Money from ticket sales is key, but consider holding an auction too. Packages up for grabs should focus on giving the winning bider a memorable experience – like a sky diving trip, massage gift set or day of stand-up paddle boarding.
Hold the holiday dance at the host schools facilities, or other reasonably priced rental space (hotel meeting room, dance hall or party venue). Speak with your DJ as they may recommend a location they’re familiar with. Provide Halloween finger foods and refreshments. Get more people to give to your group with costume judging. Set-up a $1 per vote boxes, where donors put money toward their choice. The person with the most money votes wins a gift card, and your club wins with more funds collected.
Ease of Administration: Moderate (dance chaperones, auctioneer, DJ)
Overall Cost: Pricey (venue rental, DJ, holiday refreshments)
Rate of Return: High (scalable event, high dollar auction items, donation stations)
Hit the streets and own the night with a booster club Halloween fundraising ghosts and ghouls scavenger hunt. Part ghost tour, part trick or treat, and all scary fun. Attendees form groups and race (at their own pace) to find key markers and submit a selfie to the booster club’s social media holiday feed. Supporting business, donors and the community raise money digitally and through collection stations at the event.
Promotion of Halloween fundraiser ideas like these takes place on your booster club Facebook and Instagram pages. The photos, shares and interactions help spread the word in real time, which urges friends and followers to join the fun. Whether they arrive to your event in person, or participate virtually, the exposure means more donors are able to contribute via the apps or on the club webpage.
Get started by canvassing local hot spots along a main street where people already gather. Ask business owners to participate with gift coupons, food and beverage samples, and access to their facilities. Keep it kid-friendly by selecting stores and shops in a walkable part of town. If your area doesn’t flow this way, consider hosting it at a mall or shopping center parking lot. Have food vendors and trunk or treat attendees on hand to provide holiday food and treats.
Ease of Administration: Simple to Moderate (stores help with logistics and safety)
Overall Cost: Cheap (marketing is mostly digital, businesses provide refreshments)
Rate of Return: High (donations come online and in-person)
Spook-tacular Halloween Fundraising Ideas
The key to creating a successful holiday event is to have fun while planning your non-profit Halloween fundraisers. Get the community together through sponsorship, volunteerism and financial support of your club’s activities. The size of your function and it’s location is dependent upon the number of people you can reach and potentially host for the occasion. But the amount of money you can raise with these spooky Halloween fundraising ideas is limitless.