WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (October 25-31, 2010)


Mary Emma Allison, Who Inspired Charitable Ghouls, Dies at 93.” By Margalit Fox. New York Times. October 29, 2010. Six decades ago, on a fall afternoon, a young woman caught sight of a children’s parade. She followed the children, in bright native dress, as they wended their way through the streets of the town. They entered a store, with the woman behind them, and inside the store she encountered a cow. She followed the cow, and she came to a booth. On account of the children, the cow and the booth, the woman came up with a world-changing plan. … The booth was in Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia, and it belonged to Unicef. The parade of costumed children (and the cow) was part of a campaign to send powdered milk to needy children overseas. The woman was a schoolteacher named Mary Emma Allison. Moved by her chance encounter, she and her husband created Trick-or-Treat for Unicef, a Halloween ritual that celebrates its 60th anniversary on Sunday and has raised tens of millions of dollars for children worldwide. Mrs. Allison died on Wednesday, at 93. The death, at her home in Lowell, Ind., was announced by Unicef. In the autumn of 1949, Mrs. Allison set out with her children to buy winter coats at Wanamaker’s. Down the street came the parade. Mrs. Allison wrote an appeal for a national magazine her husband edited, which was sent to Presbyterian Sunday school teachers. Published before Halloween in 1950, the appeal asked prospective trick-or-treaters to collect coins for Unicef in milk cartons or tins. There is no accurate record of the takings that first year, but Unicef’s orange cardboard box with the coin slot, which soon supplanted the milk cartons, became a ubiquitous presence in the sticky hands of autumn.

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