11 Halloween Fundraising Ideas That Work

Halloween lands on October 31st and is the perfect opportunity to host a fun - and spooky - Halloween fundraiser. The best Halloween fundraising ideas are engaging, creative, and related to the spirit of the season. If you're running a little low on creativity this spooky season, we have you covered with 11 Halloween fundraising ideas to make your creepy fundraiser a success!

11 minutes read
11 Halloween Fundraising Ideas That Work

Are you looking around for fun and spooky Halloween fundraising ideas for your nonprofit?

Halloween is the time of the year when you can really get creative and allow yourself to go all out with entertaining activities for donors and supporters of all ages. Plus, Halloween is a great time to connect with lapsed and new donors and get them interested in your mission before the end-of-the-year giving season.

This Halloween, you can organize a big fundraiser or run small fundraising activities to raise some additional funds for your organizations, school, club, shelter, and more.

Everyone is up for some fun this time of the year – and you can raise funds for your cause at the same time! Win-win.

11 Halloween Fundraising Ideas to Help You Fundraise this Fall

1. Pumpkin Sale

Starting with the basics… Nothing says autumn like pumpkins. That’s why this fundraising idea is perfect for Halloween, but also for fall and Thanksgiving fundraising.

Host a pumpkin sale to benefit your nonprofit by ordering pumpkins in bulk from a local farmer. Then, sell those pumpkins at an appropriate public space (like a farmer’s market) at a higher price to raise money.

You could share the proceeds with that local farmer – this way the partnership will be mutually beneficial. Otherwise, you could get a big farm or a company to donate the pumpkins in which case all the proceeds will go to your nonprofit.

To go the extra mile, turn your pumpkin sale into a proper pumpkin patch where you will offer pumpkin carving (see below), fun activities for families, warm beverages, and more. You can also have a concession stand selling candy apples, popcorn, and other fall favorites!

Pro tip: Promote your sale and the pumpkin patch online. Create collages and creative graphics to showcase your pumpkin patch. Circulate the images among your family, friends, and communities. 

2. Pumpkin Carving

Another traditional Halloween activity, pumpkin carving can bring in a lot of funds to your nonprofit. It is believed that the tradition of carving faces into vegetables dates back to the Celts. As part of their autumnal celebration, they wanted to light the way to their homes for the good spirits, so they carved faces into vegetables such as turnips and squash.

You can organize pumpkin carving as an event within a pumpkin patch (see the first idea) or as a separate event. Kids will love these events and so will parents.

To organize pumpkin carving, you’ll need to source a location (a field or other outdoor space would be ideal) and recruit volunteers to help on the day. Purchase pumpkins or get them donated and then have visitors select a pumpkin and carve it.

For the guests to carve their own jack-o-lanterns, you’ll need pumpkin carving tools and patterns in addition to the pumpkins. You could also offer pumpkin painting for a fun twist!

Your volunteers should be present at all times to help families and other visitors with their designs and carving efforts.

Charge an entry fee (reasonably high) since you’re providing all the implements to make a jack-o-lantern on the spot.

Pro tip #1: Many pumpkin carving patterns can be downloaded off the internet for free.

Pro tip #2: To reach a wider community, take your pumpkin carving virtual! To enter your online pumpkin carving contest, they can donate a small amount, say $5. Host a Zoom Halloween party and display all the entries. At the end of the party, pick a winner and award them an attractive prize. The below example is a great inspiration for online pumpkin carving campaigns. You can use a donation page like this to raise money with your virtual as well as hybrid and in-person thanksgiving events. 

Create an Online Fundraising Page

3. Decorate Your Porch Contest

This unique and creative Halloween fundraising idea is sure to create interest and buzz amongst your supporters or within your local community.

This idea will probably work best for community organizations, schools, and small local nonprofits, but nonprofits of all sizes can try it. It’s also a very low-cost idea that can bring in a lot of donations for your nonprofit.

Have your supporters send you the photos of their porches decorated for Halloween. Charge participants for entering the contest and award the winner.

This Halloween fundraising idea can also be turned into a social media campaign. Make sure you have a specific hashtag for the campaign to drive awareness of your brand and your cause.

4. Haunted House

Everyone loves a good scare on Halloween. And creating a Haunted House is a great way to achieve that (and attract donations your way)!

Source a location (a school, an office building, a big house – whatever works for your specific circumstances) and get started on transforming the space.

  • Halloween (October 31st) is a great day to run the Haunted House, but you can choose any date close to October 31st. Make sure you announce the date several weeks in advance so that your potential guests can plan for it.
  • Plan your path in the Haunted House. How will the path/maze look? This is a good time to think about your audience. Consider who will be coming and then design your path appropriately. (Less scary if your audience is all kids, more scary if your audience is all adults!)
  • Think of a theme and a story. Why is your Haunted House haunted? Perhaps there was an old lady murdered in the house or a family on their vacation. Perhaps the house was built on an old graveyard or it was an asylum. Get creative!
  • Cover your walls in fake spider webs, fake blood, bones, or anything Halloween-y. Make sure the lighting is dark and the music is ominous. The atmosphere should be eerie with creepy sounds and occasional moments of silence.
  • Enlist volunteers to act like ghosts, goblins, monsters, etc. Have them jump out at guests and make scary noises or laugh maniacally. They can even grab at guests’ shoulders.

If you want to make your Haunted House less scary and more fun, you could have your actors act silly, hit walls, or organize activities like Musical Zombies or bobbing for apples.

Charge admission fees and set cauldrons across the Haunted House (especially at the exit at the end of the tour) in case guests want to donate more. Since most guests are unlikely to have cash, set up a donation kiosk using the Donorbox Live™ Kiosk app. This app helps you turn your tablet and card reader into a powerful donation magnet that can collect card, smartphone, and smartwatch donations – perfect for events where guests might not have cash on them.

Donorbox Live™ Kiosk interface, which can help raise more money during your cornhole fundraiser.

Raise More With A Donation Kiosk

 5. Spooky Party

A Halloween party is a great way to organize a fundraiser catered towards adults during a holiday that can sometimes seem ‘childish’ – and the theme is already picked out for you!

Halloween parties can also be an excellent opportunity for parents to get away from their children for an evening – which is usually appreciated.

Put together an event team or a fundraising committee to start organizing the party. Make them in charge of everything from the name to the venue. They’re the ones that will contact sponsors, decide on catering, select decorations, and more.

We have a handy event planning checklist to help you make your spooky party a success.

Start making your event fun right off the bat by sending out Halloween party invitations. Promote your event online and by distributing flyers – depending on the size and presence of your nonprofit and depending on your fundraising strategy.

Some things you can do to make your spooky party a hit:

  • Award and give prizes to the scariest, funniest, and best overall costumes. You can also think of more categories. Those who come without a costume should pay a higher fee (all proceeds going towards supporting your programs).
  • Hold a contest for the evilest or scariest laugh.
  • Organize a scary treasure hunt.
  • Sell Halloween-themed drinks. Charge more for “drink specials” with googly eyes and fake blood dripping off them.
  • Set up a photo booth with a Halloween-themed backdrop for guests to take photos and share on their socials.
  • Create a stockade and if a guest gets caught and locked in a stockade, for example, they must pay to get out.

There are tons of ways you can make a Halloween party fun and filled with activities that are going to attract a lot of donations throughout the night.

6. Obstacle Zombie Race

Runs can be a successful fundraiser for any time of the year. To make a run or a race Halloween-appropriate and to add a fun twist to it – make it a Zombie Race.

Have all participants come dressed up as zombies and race to the finish line. Alternatively, you can organize a walk instead of a run. Bonus points for zombie moves!

This is also a fundraising event that can generate a lot of buzz. As word of mouth spreads around, you’ll have registrations pouring in.

Also, consider:

  • Awarding the best zombie costume/overall look;
  • Organizing a zombie afterparty;
  • Organizing a zombie karaoke;

To make it even more interesting, you could organize the run/walk at night and have your volunteers come out at certain times and scare the participants.

For alternatives, you could organize a zombie mud run dividing participants into humans trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world and zombies looking to feed off them.

If you’re a nature lover, an environmental charity – or you just want to completely flip this idea around, organize a Zombie Hike. Consider charging a $25-$30 admission fee.

Here’s an example of a virtual zombie run to raise donations for Street Homeless Animal Project.

Start an Online Fundraising Campaign

7. Pumpkin Spice Latte Workshop

It’s the season of a warm beverage brought to popularity by Starbucks – the pumpkin spice latte. Some couldn’t wait for this time of the year, and some believe it’s an offense to all things coffee.

Whatever side you’re on, the popularity of the drink is unquestionable. And not only the drink; there are also pumpkin spice candles, body washes, soaps, chocolates, and more… pumpkin spice everything!

Those who want to keep their processed sugar intake low or just don’t want to drop $5 per day on pumpkin spice latte do not need to worry! There are tons of homemade recipes for pumpkin spice lattes, and these can be very delicious.

You could host a tiny workshop where you teach community members how to make their own pumpkin spice latte, and add their own Halloween twist to it. You could sell a Halloween-themed mugs during the workshop. Charge an entry fee, and ask for donations during your event.

Use Donorbox Text-to-Give to get more donations during your pumpkin spice latte workshop. All your donors have to do is text your custom keyword or unique campaign ID to the text-to-give number or shortcode. Then they’ll receive a link to your donation form, where they can quickly checkout. Plus, when you enable UltraSwift™ Pay, you give them the option to check out four times faster with their preferred digital wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay.

If you want to make this idea bigger, partner with a local coffee shop, or even a coffee shop chain. Create a special Halloween warm drink with them and have the proceeds (or part of them) go to your nonprofit.

8. Horror Movie Night

As the days get colder and Halloween approaches, our inner cinephiles wake up and are ready to cozy up under our blankets and watch a good movie.

To capitalize on this sentiment, organize a big horror movie night and charge admission fees to raise funds.

First, consider your audience. There are so many different types of horror movies out there, and some are not appropriate for children. You can either go with the classics or play on novelty. If you decide to go with something new, look for a horror movie that came out within the last year.

Choose a venue and make sure there’s enough seating for your audience. Chances are the weather won’t be warm enough to organize a movie night outside, but if it is – consider it as an option.

Otherwise, look for a movie theatre ready to donate the space for the night or another big space where you can put up a movie screen. Decorate the space with the colors of the season (black and orange), as well as cobwebs, fake blood, goblins, zombies, witches, and more.

To raise even more funds, sell Halloween candy and popcorn.

Pro tip: Any showing of a film for profit will put you in violation of copyright laws. To book a film for public showing, you must contact an independent film broker who will get you the film, charge a fee for the process and report your box office receipts to the owner of the film.

Since these fees can sometimes be steep, you’ll need to raise money to cover the costs and meet your fundraising goals. You’ll raise money primarily by selling tickets to your movie night. Donorbox Events makes selling tickets online easy. Create as many ticket tiers as you need (for example, you can include a higher ticket level with admission, candy, and drinks), ask for additional donations on top of ticket sales, and show the tax-deductible amount for each ticket tier to drive more sales.

Here’s an example of an online event page with a ticketing form selling movie tickets.

Events example for a Halloween Fundraising Idea

Sell Tickets with Donorbox Events

9. The Witch Project

We can’t forget about the witches when talking about Halloween!

Organize an entirely witch-themed event. You could start with a witch parade (everyone dresses up as witches and warlocks) ending in a witch party. Serve drinks out of cauldrons, and have brooms and spell books lying around.

You could even organize live owl demonstrations and themed activities including potion-making and spells.

Charge an admission fee and sell tickets for the other activities. Have vendors come to sell fun witch-themed merchandise and charge a vendor fee.

You could also sell customized potions and spells to participants (of course, it’s all just for fun – so make sure everyone knows that!).

In addition to the parade and the party, you could organize a spooky witch workshop for broom-making and wand-decorating.

10. Sell Halloween Candies

Selling Halloween treats is a simple and popular way to raise money while spreading awareness for your nonprofit.

You could either have a local baker or a sweets shop donate Halloween baked goods and treats that you can then sell: mini cupcakes, mini pumpkins, marshmallows on skewers decorated with melted chocolate to make ghosts and jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin pops, Halloween lollipops, googly candy eyes and more!

If you want to take it to the next level, there are many companies out there that will sell these for you or that you can order from in bulk.

Packaged chocolate bars are by far the most popular fundraising candy both in terms of popularity with customers. However, put a little research into fundraising candy sale options. Review previous fundraising statistics to determine what the best sellers were in years’ past!

Happy candy fundraising!

11. Spooky Trivia Night

Trivia is very popular these days, can be tailored to most audiences and is relatively simple to organize.

Choose a theme and questions that are Halloween-themed. All participants should pay an admission fee. Prepare an award for the winner.

When thinking of the theme and the questions, think of scary movies, Edgar Allan Poe stories and poems, and other classic scary literature. Another fun one could be Harry Potter!

Find a venue large enough for your group and publicize the event in your community.

Encourage your participants to dress up according to the theme. Hire a band to add to the fun and the atmosphere.

Consider adding some of the following to your Trivia Night:

  • Silent Auction – including items from some donors from your community;
  • Door prizes;
  • Snacks and refreshments;
  • Awarding teams BONUS POINTS for each team member that is wearing a Halloween costume.

You can sell tickets using Donorbox Events, the way this organization did for their fun trivia night –

Halloween Fundraising Ideas example for selling tickets to trivia

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If you are looking for more ideas, we have this mega guide of 100+ fundraising ideas for nonprofits.

Bonus Virtual Halloween Fundraising Ideas

Halloween is a great time to connect with your audience virtually through fun, seasonal activities that will help spread your brand and your mission before the end-of-the-year giving season. Here are some Halloween fundraising ideas to widen your audience and connect with new donors.

1. Halloween Art Contest

A classic fundraising event, simply done online. Organize a Halloween-themed art contest, promote the event among your target youth group, school community, or otherwise. Charge an entry fee for participation. Provide a theme template to all participants once they enter. Let all the participants create artwork based on your theme. Consider conducting the contest as a social media campaign. Let the campaign run for a few days for increased participation, maybe your art contest goes viral! Announce a winner at the end of the contest and give them a prize or a percentage of the amount raised.

2. Spooky Story Contest

Host an online spooky story contest. Create a set of guidelines for the story, like it should be a 1,00o word story or a short story! You can get creative and provide an interesting and compelling premise for your participants to work with. Let all participants enter with a fee and then share with them the guidelines. Ask them to share it over social media with the correct hashtag or direct email to you. Announce the winner and award them a prize from the money raised.

3. Halloween Costume Contest

Ask all participants to dress up in their spookiest, funniest, and most noteworthy costumes and join your costume contest over a Zoom call, from their homes. As you are hosting your contest, ask all participants to donate a minimum amount in order to participate. Take votes to decide a winner- assign a number to each participant, ask everyone to send your votes as a private message, without voting for themselves.


Halloween is an ancient tradition that has become a thriving multi-billion dollar industry. This makes October a great month to hold fundraisers. When it comes to securing funds for your organization – especially during Halloween – don’t be afraid to get creative!

While it’s important to do what’s tried and tested, this time of the year calls for innovation and fun. Think about what your donors and supporters would appreciate and enjoy and give yourself the opportunity to go outside of the box when it comes to this year’s Halloween fundraising.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to come up with unique Halloween fundraising ideas that have the potential to be successful, but we hope this article helped you begin to understand your options so you can start planning your Halloween fundraising.

Donorbox has the tools to make your spooky season fundraising a success. With customizable donation forms, event ticketing, peer-to-peer fundraising, and in-person giving tools like Donorbox Live™ Kiosk and text-to-give, you have everything you need to scale your organization – and take the fear out of fundraising!

Check out our Nonprofit Blog for more nonprofit resources and tips and subscribe to our monthly newsletter for fresh fundraising know-how delivered right to your inbox.

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Raviraj heads the sales and marketing team at Donorbox. His growth-hacking abilities have helped Donorbox boost fundraising efforts for thousands of nonprofit organizations.

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