Safe Shelter Trick or Treating

Host trick or treating at your shelter this Halloween!
Invite children and their parents to enjoy an afternoon of trick or treating at your shelter.

Offering trick or treating will boost publicity for your shelter and convey that the shelter is a fun, community-oriented space. It also allows potential adopters to spend more time interacting with animals, perhaps finding the best friend they didn’t know they were looking for. By offering treats (candy, dollar store toys, healthy snacks, etc.) at different stations throughout the shelter, visitors are enticed to spend extra time in front of animals that have perhaps been overlooked.

This is an awesome event because it provides a safe space for children to trick or treat, is a great media opportunity, and highlights lesser-seen animals.

Here’s how you can run this fun campaign:

  • Recruit volunteers or employees to staff different ‘trick or treat’ stations.
  • Carefully choose station locations that will highlight less popular animals like senior cats, hamsters, or amphibians.
    • Tip: Offer a fun fact about an animal species or breed at each station. For example, the employee stationed in front of rabbits could tell trick or treaters that jack rabbits have been clocked at speeds up to 45 miles per hour!
  • Consider scattering bowls of ‘treats’ without volunteers around the shelter so trick or treaters leave with full bags (be sure to include a sign saying, “Take one!”).
  • Ask supporters to donate  pet costumes from years past. Not only can these costumes be used for this event, but they can be used in future photoshoots or advertising campaigns
  • Dress willing shelter animals in costumes*
  • Encourage children to come dressed in costumeyou can even suggest they come as their favorite animals! At the end of the event, pick child and animal contest winners under categories like “Scariest,” “Silliest,” and “Funniest.”

*Disclaimer: We do not suggest putting costumes on any animals that do not like it — that goes for cats, rabbits, reptiles or any animals that protest

Action Steps:

  • Make sure there enough volunteers to man each ‘treat’ station and that you have plenty of donated treats
  • Contact the local media to add “Safe Shelter Trick or Treating” to their Community Calendar
  • Design a flyer/poster to advertise the event around the community. Advertise at elementary schools, community centers, and grocery stores
  • Design a sharegraphic to post on your social media platforms

Request editable templates for all the items below.

Sample Social Media Sharegraphics:
















Sample Blog Post: