With the end of summer comes the end of vacation season, the beginning of another school year – and a whole new season of fundraising opportunities. October is a great month for themed fundraising events, with Columbus Day in the middle of the month and Halloween at the end.
Celebrating the arrival of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus in the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492, Columbus Day is a federal holiday that is observed in most states with parades and Italian-themed events. One such event is bocce. Bocce is a classic Italian lawn game that is easy to learn and fun for people of all ages to play, which makes it a great choice for a low-cost, low-hassle fundraiser. Individuals or teams can register to play in a tournament for a nominal fee, with a prize going to the top player or team.
Food is a well-known element in Italian culture and helps round out your fundraising offerings, especially when presented in the form of a dinner/dance that highlights Italian foods and music. Many Italian foods are familiar and easy enough to prepare or have catered – your organization might consider holding a spaghetti dinner with meatballs, foccacia pizzas with a variety of toppings, grilled sausage sandwiches with sauteed onions slices and strips of bell pepper as main dishes; dessert items might be Italian ice or gelato, ricotta-filled cannoli, biscotti or fresh fruit, with espresso or cappuccino and Italian sodas on hand as refreshments.
The popularity of Halloween has increased in recent years, and your organization is sure to enjoy a successful, “spooktacular” event when it’s held on or near the 31st, especially if you think outside the traditional box and offer fun, new activities along with familiar favorites.
Your group could partner with a local farmer and hold a pumpkin sale a week or two ahead of the big day, or even carve some of the pumpkins for use in the window displays of local businesses. Another possibility is a “Halloween Happening,” with a pumpkin-carving (or, depending on the availability of space and cleanup crews, pumpkin *smashing*) competition in addition to the classic bobbing for apples and costume contest.
A “Hilarity House” offers a creative alternative to the scary/creepy/gross haunted house, with familiar Halloween characters acting out of the ordinary – imagine a Count Dracula who craves chocolate, not blood, or a Dr. Jeckyll who turns into a goofy clown instead of Mr. Hyde. Two teams of witches in pointed hats and black costumes might use their brooms as hockey sticks and play short games of Witch Hockey with a small football.
With both the Italian dinner and the Hilarity House, you can sell admission tickets ahead of the event and have tickets available for purchase at the door as space at your venue allows. Sequentially numbered tickets can be used for a raffle drawing to add another dimension of fun.
Enjoy the holidays of October, and good luck to your fundraisers!