513-281-5945 • Sunday Worship: 11:00am – 12:00pm

Mary Emma Allison

March 5, 1917 – October 27, 2010

School Librarian, Creator of Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.

One of my fondest childhood memories was of trick-or-treating for UNICEF. It was one of the first experiences that I had of doing for others, rather than for myself. I suspect that there are many children of the ‘50’s and ‘60’s with similar memories. That was why I was so interested to read about Mary Emma Allison, a schoolteacher and wife of a Presbyterian minister, who created Trick-or-Treat for Unicef in 1950.

Mrs. Allison and her husband had been active in post-war social responsibility efforts and were looking for a new project when she saw a parade of children in costume being led by a live cow to a Unicef booth inside Wannamaker’s department store in Philadelphia on a autumn day in 1949. Recognizing that kids like to dress up, she came up with her idea to make Halloween more productive. Her husband, an editor with Westminster Press, sent out an article she wrote to junior high youth groups, and Trick-of-Treat for Unicef was born, letting thousands of American children help millions of poor children around the world!

Submitted by Ruth Anne Van Loon in 2007.