A view from Dave Trott: The trick is the treat
A view from Dave Trott

The trick is the treat

Chris Evans does a slot on his breakfast show called "What did you do for the first time yesterday?"

Little children call in and he questions them, on air.

On the day after Halloween, I heard a little boy call in.

His name was Lewis Tucker and he was six years old.

Chris said: "And what did you do for the first time yesterday?"

Lewis said: "I went trick-or-treating."

Chris said: "And did you get lots of sweets?"

Lewis said: "No, I didn’t get any sweets."

Chris said: "No sweets! What happened?"

Lewis said: "I didn’t ask for sweets. I asked for food for the food bank."

Chris said: "Food for the food bank. Did you get any?"

Lewis said: "Oh, yes, I got lots."

Chris said: "What did people give you?"

Lewis said: "Baked beans, pasta, rice, tinned soup, biscuits, orange squash, tea bags."  

Chris said: "How did you carry it all?"

Lewis said: "I had a wheelbarrow and I put it all in that."

Chris said: "Well that is the nicest thing anyone’s ever come on the show and said, Lewis. Well done."

The next day, the story was in Lewis’ local Bristol paper.

It turned out Lewis and his brother Connor, who’s eight, had heard their dad talking about the local food bank.

They asked what it was and he explained it was for people who didn’t have enough food to eat.

So Lewis and Connor dressed as a skeleton and a werewolf, then laid a Halloween tablecloth across a wheelbarrow and knocked on the doors in their street.

And instead of sweets, they asked for food.

When the wheelbarrow was full, they went home to unload it.

Then they decided to go to more homes in the area and their mum and friends helped.

Their mum said she couldn’t believe how generous people were.

They collected 17 wheelbarrow loads of food.

What a great idea.

Like all great creative ideas, it works because it touches us at a basic level we can all relate to.

What Bill Bernbach called "simple, timeless, human truths".

Now imagine scaling that idea up.

It could become a movement like Movember, or Stoptober, or Dry January.

The difference here is that you don’t have to change anyone’s behaviour.

Children are already going out on Halloween to knock on doors.

What if they did trick-or-treating for food instead of sweets? 

Parents would love it because it would teach their children to think of others.

Neighbours would like it because it gives them a chance to help.

Health professionals would like it because it would cut down on the amount of sugar children consume.

Any CSR department could be looking into it as a way of doing good for the community and enhancing their company’s reputation.

But the most amazing thing for me is that it wasn’t thought up by sophisticated marketing professionals.

It was thought up by two little boys.

Just shows you, this creativity business doesn’t have to be as difficult and complicated as we make it.

Dave Trott is the author of Creative Mischief, Predatory Thinking and One Plus One Equals Three.