A new meaning for Halloweening

Opening doors to the digital world.


An American pastime in need of a future.

Halloween has been put on hold in America for the past few years due to Covid-19. Doorbells fell silent, candy bowls went unfilled. With that came a decline in donations for Halloween’s oldest philanthropic event: Trick-Or-Treat for UNICEF.

The annual activity was established in the 1950s, and has since seen millions of children and parents collect loose coins in little orange boxes as they go trick-or-treating around their neighbourhoods.

However, the onset of the socially-distanced pandemic, plus the transition to a cashless economy, meant that today’s generation weren’t participating like they used to. And children in need weren’t getting the help they used to each Halloween.


A spookily-simple symbol haunts front doors everywhere.

To reinvent UNICEF’s iconic little orange box for a digital era, AKQA looked for a solution that would be universally understood by children and parents. It turned out to be the same payment mechanic that had become synonymous with the hands-off experience of the pandemic: the QR code.

Unicef Scarecrow Film

This simple solution became UNICEF’s icon throughout the month of October, appearing at various Halloween cultural touchpoints, online, in-stores and beyond.

The symbol debuted in a hero film that parodied classic neighbourhood horrors. It was then spread across social with the help of celebrity ambassadors, as well as an interactive AR face filter that transformed trick-or-treaters into ghoulish zombies as they approached doorbell cameras.


Giving a good cause new life.

The widespread revival of this American pastime has opened Trick-Or-Treat for UNICEF to an entire new generation. Parents who participated when they were young now have an opportunity to share this good cause with their children, and add to the existing impressive donation pool of $195 million.

This digitisation of UNICEF is the first step for a much-loved good cause for many Halloweens to come.

AKQA has been a fantastic partner helping us think outside the orange box. Their powerful insights and creative solutions will tap into the behaviour of a new generation of supporters and transform how they experience UNICEF at Halloween.

Shelley Diamond, Chief Marketing Officer, UNICEF USA