Dress up Your Fundraising With a Halloween Costume Ball

The great thing about a Halloween costume ball fundraiser is you don't have to think up a theme. It's already set for you. Halloween is a great time to hold a fundraiser because people are already in a holiday party mood, just looking for excuses to dress up in costume and have fun. All that's left is the organizing and planning.

Decisions to Make

First, if your organization doesn't already have one in place, create a fundraising committee. The committee will be responsible for all the fundraising planning, from finding a venue to music and food. They may also contact members of the local community, to find businesses and individuals who are willing to sponsor, donate to, or volunteer for your Halloween ball.

One of the main decisions you'll need to make is whether or not to include children. Halloween is a big holiday for kids, sure, but remember that they will be involved in all kinds of activities at school, at kids' Halloween parties, and at home with trick-or-treating. Don't feel guilty about organizing an adults-only event, if that's what you choose to do. Parents may appreciate an event where they can have some fun on their own after the little ones are well on their way to sugar comas.


Next, decide on a budget. This will be determined by several factors: how many people you estimate will attend; what kind of food you will serve; whether or not alcohol will be served; how much it will cost to rent the location; to name just a few.

Once you have a good idea of how much you want to spend, you'll know how much you need to raise through your fundraising event, and still have enough left over for your cause. This will also give you an idea of how many, and what type of sponsors you want to try to work with. Try to find sponsors that will help you save money.

For example, see if any local restaurants are willing to donate inexpensive appetizers so you don't have to spend as much on food.

Start making your event fun right off the bat by sending out Halloween party invitations. These are widely available this time of year because so many schools, families, and other organizations are putting on all kinds of Halloween parties.

Using these invitations also gives the event a slight nostalgic feel, reminding people of the Halloween parties they attended as kids. You can also publicize your event with fliers, and through your organization's newsletter and Web site.

See if one of the local radio stations will donate a minute or two of time to talk about your event.

Finally, decide on what to charge. Will it be flat price for admission that includes food, beverages, and activities? Or will you set a lower admission fee, and then charge for the amenities separately? Knowing your community will help you make this decision. Also, once you've chosen the amenities you'll be offering, you'll have a good idea of their value, and can more easily set a fair price.


Once you have the basic plans in place, it's time to put together some activities for the big night. A Halloween ball gives you a lot of options for fun. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Hold a costume contest. Create separate categories for scariest, funniest, best overall, and anything else you can think of. If you do include kids in your event, have a separate contest for them. Don't forget the prizes!
  • Play some games. Bobbing for apples is a Halloween tradition, so don't leave it out! But do remember that people who have gone to a lot of trouble putting on makeup for their costume may not want to get their faces wet. Be sure to have a few other things for everyone to participate in. Maybe a rotten apple or rotten egg toss, or a mini-contest to see who has the best evil laugh, or who can make the best scary ghost sound.
  • If you have the materials, the volunteers, and the know-how, think about constructing a haunted house for guests to walk through. Use mannequins and other props for scary sets, and have some of your group member dress up as ghosts and goblins to jump out and scare people. Again, if you include children, take them into consideration either by having a separate not-so-scary haunted house for them, or a specific time when they can walk through and tone things down a bit during that time.

Be sure to have a group of volunteers available to help with cleanup after the Halloween ball, especially if you've had any messy activities. Depending on where you hold it, everything may need to be cleared out that same night or the next day to make room for the next event.

If you're not prepared, you may get stuck with solo cleanup duty, and if you've ever seen a horror movie, you know it's best not to be anywhere alone after midnight on Halloween.

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