I'm doing virtual trick-or-treating this year through Venmo and PayPal, and I think it's a fun way to teach kids about money

I'm doing virtual trick-or-treating this year through Venmo and PayPal, and I think it's a fun way to teach kids about money

October 7, 2020

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  • I used to love giving out Halloween candy to kids in my neighborhood, but I haven't had the chance since I moved into a condo.
  • This year, though, I'll be participating in virtual trick-or-treating with close family and friends: Parents will send a photo of their kid in costume, and I'll send $1 to their Venmo or PayPal.
  • I think this is a great way to teach kids about money — they can use some cash to buy treats, then save, invest, or donate the rest.
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When we lived in a small community outside of Los Angeles, I loved Halloween. My husband and I would get home early from work that day and fill up a bowl with what we thought was the "good candy." Along with mini boxes and bars of candy, we purchased several full-size candy bars. The full-size ones were for our favorite costumes of the evening (enough for every kid at our door when we decided the winner, because we didn't want anyone to feel left out on a night that is all about fun).

Of course, our real favorites were the babies in their parents' arms dressed up as pumpkins with a little orange and green hat on their heads, or the toddlers who needed coaxing up to the door. Our neighborhood was one of the best for trick-or-treating, and kids from many other locations filled our streets on Halloween night. Many of our neighbors made haunted houses, and one year a grown man dressed as death with a large scythe roamed up and down the streets terrifying the adults and the children. 

I live in a condo building now, and it has been years since I have had a trick-or-treater, but much to my delight, I will get to give out treats this Halloween (thanks to some creative parents), even if it is going to be virtual.

How virtual trick-or-treating will work

The way this uniquely 2020 form of trick-or-treating works is that the parents take a picture of their child in a costume. Then they send the image to me (or any other person) on social media along with a link to either Venmo or PayPal. When I receive the picture, I will send the child a treat in the form of a dollar (you can choose any amount you want) to the money app link provided.  

I plan to cap my giving to the first 25 kids knocking on my social media door, and I intend only to give to close friends and family (people I know in real life); $25 is close to the amount I used to spend on candy, so that is how I came up with the limit. 

It's not just fun — it's also a good money lesson

Not only do I think this is a great way to stay safe and have some fun this Halloween, I think it is an excellent opportunity to teach kids about finances. 

Say that 50 people in a family's social circle are accepting virtual trick-or-treaters. If each person who receives a picture of a child in their costume gives $1 to the money app, that is way more valuable than all the candy kids usually receive on a good night of trick-or-treating. I assume many parents will let their kids purchase some treats with the money, but even if they allow them to spend $10 on candy or snacks, that still leaves $40 to invest, save, donate, or use in a way to help teach financial literacy. 

For those kids without a savings account, it is a great time to start one. For kids who are a little bit older, it is a great way to introduce them to the use of money apps so that when they get ready to mow lawns or create a lemonade stand, they will understand and have access to another form of payment. 

For parents, it might not be as fun as taking your kids door to door, but it could mean one less trip to the dentist. I'm all about teaching kids about money as young as possible, and along with that, I say show me the costumes. I can't wait for all the creativity and cuteness!

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