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Area organizations face economic hardships after pandemic forces them to cancel Halloween fundraisers

Some of the Halloween-themed events brought in between $15,000 and $100,000 in much needed funds.
Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 6:52 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The pandemic has upended Halloween plans for families as some towns and communities cancel trick-or-treating this Saturday.

Yet, many area non-profits and school districts that rely on Halloween-themed fundraisers are also feeling the pinch of cancellations.

The Southern Door County School district canceled what would’ve been its 15th annual Haunted Mansion.

“We were all feeling little bit discouraged and disappointed, but I think the community really respected the decision,” elementary school Principal Corey Vandertie said.

According to Vandertie, the fundraiser brought in at least $100,000 last year benefiting 26 different programs.

“I think some of the clubs and organizations that have benefited in the past have been really forced to prioritize on what’s an absolute need right now,” Vandertie said.

For the first time in 35 years, Youth Go based in Neenah shelved its Halloween mansion, which brings in $15,000 to $20,000 in much needed funds.

“For us it’s not just a fundraiser, it’s also you know a really big program for our organization. It hit us on a lot of different levels,” Executive Director Kelly Hicks said.

Hicks said the organization is dedicated to helping area youth in productive ways.

“We don’t charge anything for kids to come to Youth Go. There’s no membership fees. There’s no cost to participate in our programming, so all that money comes back to our organization,” Hicks said.

For the Goodwill Industries, the pandemic is a catch 22 for its stores. Yes, it sells Halloween costumes at a cheaper price than other stores. But, there’s less foot traffic down the aisles.

“As the original Halloween headquarters, we take Halloween very seriously so we’ve been keeping our eye on what’s going on and keeping track of different safe ways to go about halloween this year,” Goodwill Brand Manager Gabrielle Dorn said.

According to the National Retail Federation, it expects at least $8 billion in consumer spending this Halloween year putting the holiday on par with 2012 numbers.

Still, non-profits are relying on the generosity of the community to stay afloat.

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