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Halloween Fundraiser Ideas For Animal Rescues

Raising Money 09.26.2019
By Jill Caren
Dog in Butterfly Costume: Halloween Fundraiser
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Halloween is one of the most popular holidays of the year that appeal to kids of all ages!

Using this opportunity to create a fun event that families can enjoy not only helps animal rescues raise money – but also allows supporters to come together to strengthen relationships and a sense of community! All of which are critical to an animal rescues success!

Below are some events that other animal shelters and rescues have done which hopefully can inspire you to do something amazing for your organization!

Wag-O-Ween

WagOWeen Halloween Fundraiser for Animals
image credit: Humane Society of Greenwood

Although a bit more planning is required, Wag-O-Ween is a great way to have a more formal night out that will be filled with fun and costumes. Many organizations have done this event as a formal night event with a full night of fun and events.

Planning of a more formal option of this event can include the following:

  • Hors d’ouvres or a full dinner
  • Band or DJ
  • Cash bar
  • Silent auction
  • Photo booth
  • Costume contest

The Humane Society of Greenwood has been hosting this event for several years and in 2018 they raised a record of $44,000 with their Wag-O-Ween Charity ball.

Of course the best way to make the most of a formal Wag-O-Ween event is to work with your local community to get as many sponsorships and donations as possible to keep your costs as low as possible. Having it on a week night for example can result in a venue donating the space since sometimes weekdays can be available – where as weekends are usually booked and can be expensive.

You can also do a less formal option of this event and make it an afternoon get together at a local park or at your facility if you have one. This will be a shorter – less labor intensive event but will be as much fun for your supporters! You may not make as much as the more formal version – but there will be no less fun and bonding happening.

For this version you can do some of the following:

  • Pet costume contest
  • DJ
  • Trick and Treat walk
  • Food trucks
  • Photo booths
  • Face painting

Dog Walk of the Dead

This is one that is near and dear to our heart since it is fairly local and has a great reputation for fun and fundraising!

The Dog Walk of the Dead has a cult following with zombie lovers and the creators of this event works with a different rescue every year to donate proceeds from the event to!

Some of the great things that take place at the event include:

  • Blood drive
  • Live music
  • Animal adoptions
  • Classic car show (including a hearse)
  • Trunk or treat
  • Drop off of donations for their partner rescue

We have a full post about the Dog Walk of the Dead here.

Pooch Parade

This is a totally fun and family friendly fall afternoon event that everyone will love! With the flair of a carnival combined with Goblins and Ghosts, this event will be sure to be a hit with your supporters.

Some of the fun activities and events include:

  • DJ
  • Dog floats
  • Vendors
  • Dog costume contest
  • Dog walk
  • Pumpkin carving contest

Money can be raised from a port of sales from vendors, entrance fee to the event, money raised in a dog walk and so much more!

Haunted House Fundraisers

Haunted houses are just a must have for Halloween – so why not see if your rescue can partner up with a local haunted house for a special fundraiser experience.

A few popular haunted house fundraisers include the Montgomery Humane Society Haunted House which raised around $12,000 for their animals in need one year. The reviews on their Facebook page show it being a great – and scary production!

This is just one example of the success of a fundraiser like this. You can either find sponsors, donators and use kids from a local acting school to create your own haunted house – or see if there is one that is local to you that would be willing to donate a portion of their sales. Either way – there are a ton of options to making this work as a great fundraiser.

You can see a list of Haunted House fundraisers here to see if there is one located near you so you can support animals while have a “spooktacular” time!

Pumpkin Regatta Fundraiser

Ok – go ahead and laugh, but this is a real event that has been done – and we think it is a fantastic idea for a fundraiser! Not only is it totally different which in itself will be a draw, but it is going to be a purely fun experience for your participants.

Of course the challenge here is making sure you have a local resource to find pumpkins as large as you need! There are a lot of different ways to handle this type of event to make money with it – and we think this could be a huge hit when combined with a fall festival of some sort.

The city of Tualatin Oregon has been hosting a Pumpkin Regatta for years! Take a peak at their website and see their videos to get more inspiration.

image credit: City of Tualatin

Last Minute Halloween Fundraisers

The bigger the fundraiser – the more time you need, but what about when time is not your friend? Well, we got you covered with a few low key fundraisers that will still have that Halloween inspired feel to keep it in season!

Pumpkin Derby

An easy to create event that can be done in a park – or even better in a downtown area where you can potentially get local retailers involved.

Have entrants pay a fee and design a pumpkin racer that they think can win the derby! Have different age groups and have some vendors, snacks and other things you can sell to raise funds.

Create a board that the racers will race their pumpkins on – or see if a local slot car type place can donate something that can be used for the actual race! Here is a Pumpkin Derby that was held by a local community that we love!

Orchard Walk

Partner up with a local orchard that loves animals and ask them to host a special walk for your organization. The event can be a flat rate of say $25 and the participants can get a tour of the orchard, a bag of apples or whatever fruit the orchard offers and you may have to give the orchard a small portion of that money.

Pumpkin Carving Competition

A day in the park carving or decorating pumpkins is a great way to engage supporters and have some family fun! Ask participants to pay a small fee and see if you can get the pumpkins and supplies donated or ask your supporters to bring their own.

Do different age ranges and you are sure to have a ton of fun and get some easy money to help more animals. Definitely a great time to sell apple cider and snacks too!

Halloween Fundraising Event Name Ideas

Have an event in mind but are struggling to find a name for it? Well, take a look at the inspiration below to find the perfect name for your Halloween inspired fundraiser!

  • BarktoberFest
  • Cat-O-Ween Event
  • Dog-O-Ween Event
  • DogtoberFest
  • Halloweener Derby
  • Happy Halloweener Fundraiser
  • Howl & Growl
  • Howl at the Moon
  • Howl-O-ween Party
  • Meowloween
  • Pooch Parade
  • Pumpkins & Pets
  • Spooky Pooch Costume Contest
  • Wag-O-Ween
  • Wolftacular Halloween Event (for wolf rescues)

Halloween Event Marketing Inspiration

Below are some really great examples of flyers and marketing materials to promote your Halloween fundraiser for your shelter or rescue. Please do not copy – but use these as inspiration! All images are copyrighted to the creator of the design, so if you want to use these designs – we recommend reaching out to the rescue credited with the design to see if they will allow you to use it for your own event!

  • image credit: HEART Animal Rescue
  • image credit: Humane Society of Greenwood
  • image credit: Dog Walk of the Dead
  • image credit: Rommel Harley Davidson
  • image credit: Central California SPCA
  • image credit: Carol’s Ferals
  • image credit: Paw Prints in the Sand Animal Rescue
  • image credit: Coming Home Rescue
  • image credit: Dogcentric
  • image credit: Dog E Dog
  • image credit: Lake Anne Plaza

Jill Caren

Jill Caren Bio Logo

Jill Caren

Jill is the owner and creator of CharityPaws and has been involved in animal rescue for over 12 years as a volunteer and board member for Jersey Animal Welfare Society. You can read all of her articles here.

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