Halloween may traditionally be a time for zombie stories, haunted houses and horror movies, but this year one woman decided to turn a scary night into a time of giving. Andrea Miller gathered a group of friends and family for her Night of Horror Halloween shindig at the Halton Navel Veteran’s Association in Burlington, ON, on October 25. The event, which included cash prizes for the best costumes, raised $1,000 for Make-A-Wish Canada.
“My family and I love Halloween,” Miller relays, “and we usually go to a party or a club, but this year we wanted to have a Halloween party and be able to give back to a good cause as well. This was our first fundraiser. All the family members chose their favorite charity and put it on paper. We put all of them in a hat, and Make-A-Wish won.”
Miller says she was eager “to gather good friends and help raise money for a good cause,” and Make-A-Wish is certainly that. The organization grants wishes for kids with “life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.” An affiliate of Make-A-Wish International, Make-A-Wish Canada boasts eight regional chapters and four outreach offices to grant wishes from coast to coast.
In 1980, when Christopher Greicius, a seven-year-old with cancer, was given his own official Arizona Highway Patrol uniform, the first wish was granted, giving birth to the foundation. Canada followed three years later when Robb Lucy and Nigel Brown, both hailing from British Columbia, personally paid for a 13-year-old leukemia patient to visit her grandparents in Germany.
Thirty years later, over 5,200 wishes have been granted across Canada. Make-A-Wish International, founded in 1993 to support countries outside of America already granting wishes, currently serves children in almost 50 countries from its 37 affiliates around the world. To date, over 310,000 wishes have been granted worldwide.
Miller says that advertising through social media, a spot on the local news and the events section of the community newspaper helped boost sales for her event. Since “dressing up for Halloween is always fun and memorable,” Miller feels the best part of the evening was seeing everyone’s “fun costumes,” and notes that they “had 100 ghouls and princesses” in attendance.
Aside from having plenty of food and drink on hand, Miller also offers some very practical advice to those hosting a relatively small event where people are sure to indulge in alcohol. She says it’s a good idea to “pre-plan designated drivers” so that everyone can enjoy the night without worry, and arrive home safely at the end.