Started in 1950, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF is one of those original kids-helping-kids ideas.

It started with an enterprising group of kids in Philadelphia who decided to go door to door on Halloween night with milk cartons to collect funds for kids left vulnerable by World War II. They collected $17 that night.

Last year, kids with families, schools and communities raised more than $4 million and have raised $136 million to date.\

For more than 60 years, UNICEF has been the world's leading international children's organization, working in 156 countries to address issues that affect children. UNICEF uses the money of its youngest fund-raisers to provide clean water, health care, food and education to children in 156 countries and territories.

What can UNICEF do with a box full of change? Here are some examples:

• $1.20 provides protection to a mother and her newborn against tetanus.

• $3 provides a warm blanket to a kid in an emergency.

• $17 immunizes a kid from six killer diseases.

• $176 buys school supplies for 80 kids.

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF has now become a monthlong activity. Kids are encouraged to raise funds by going door to door on days other than Halloween, as well as planning other fund-raisers with family and friends. Call 800-4UNICEF or log on to to order your box and get ready to collect funds to help children around the world.

If you are trick or treating, UNICEF offers these suggestions to make the experience both safe and fun:

• Discuss with your parents, guardian or adult chaperone what time you will be home.

• Trick or treat only in neighborhoods with which you are familiar.

• Carry a slip of paper with your name, address and phone number in case you get separated from your group.

• Avoid wearing masks when walking house to house, and make sure your costume falls no lower than your ankles to avoid tripping and falling.

• Remain highly visible. Carry a flashlight or glow stick, or wear reflective tape.

• Use crosswalks, look both ways when crossing the street, and do not cross from behind parked cars.

• Approach only houses that are lit, and never go into strangers' homes.

• Dispose of any candy with loose wrappers; when in doubt, throw it out.

• Be polite when asking for donations.

• Thank everyone you ask, even if he or she does not donate.

While trick or treating is a popular way to generate funds, kids have found a lot of other creative ways to have fun while collecting contributions, such as these suggested by UNICEF:

• Sell something: Tell local supermarkets you are raising money for UNICEF and ask them to donate candy or sell it at a discounted price. Then set up a booth at school. Or have your class write stories or poems about your favorite subjects and sell the compilation to your family and friends.

• Have a fun-a-thon: Set up a dance-a-thon, a read-a-thon or a jump-a-thon. Have parents, friends or neighbors make a donation for books you read, minutes you jump or to come to the dance.

• Organize a party: Have a Halloween party and ask for donations. Invite your school's musicians, performers, dancers and singers to stage a talent show, with admission fees going to UNICEF. Or have a multicultural festival with students from different ethnic groups demonstrating dancing, food, music, artwork of various cultures, and charge admission.

• Get competitive: Challenge a rival school or class to raise more funds than you. Have a penny war with buckets in each classroom. The one with the most pennies at the end wins a prize. Add a kick by deducting pennies for each nickel, dime, quarter and dollar donated so that other classes can stick $10 bills in the bucket of the class with the most pennies and reduce their "war total" to nothing. Or construct a miniature-golf course on the football field and charge people to play.

This year's main corporate sponsor for Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF is the Cartoon Network cable channel, which, for the sixth year, will create and air announcements featuring characters from its most popular shows. Procter & Gamble will also return as a sponsor for its seventh year, with its P&G brand SAVER and a donation of $250,000.

Donations can be made via credit card, check and participating Coinstar Centers in supermarkets and other outlets, or can be mailed to Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, 29 West 38th Street, 11th floor, New York NY 10018-2050.

—Compiled by Carma Wadley