UNICEF ends Halloween program in Canada

A 50-year-old Halloween tradition in Canada is about to end after UNICEF announced the cancellation of its orange box campaign.

A 50-year-old Halloween tradition in Canadais about to come to anend as UNICEF has announced the cancellation of its orange box campaign.

After consulting with teachers and parents about its Halloween program, the United Nations Children's Fund said the time has come to put the cardboard boxes to rest.

The annual loose change collection isn't worth the money that's amassed, said Evelyne Guindon, executive director for UNICEF Quebec.

"Coin is very labour-intensive," she said. "Rolling pennies is very labour-intensive, so obviously that was one of the things teachers reflected to us."

The decision doesn't mean UNICEF is backing away from efforts to get children interested in fundraising, said Guindon. Teachers will be given opportunities to organize educational activities, that include raising money for people in need.

Critics say the aid group has made the wrong decision.

Philip Robertson, an elementary school principal who oversees three schools on Quebec's Lower North Shore, says UNICEF is making a mistake in dropping the program.

"The kids feel good about what they've done," explained Robertson, "because UNICEF normally provides little educational units about why kids are bringing the orange boxes along with them when they're trick-or-treating, and what this money's going to be used for."

What made the orange box campaign work so well with children, added Robertson, was the association between getting free candy and helping others.

Over the past 15 years, Canadians have donated an average of $3 million every Halloween to UNICEF's orange box campaign.

The program will continue in the United States.