Officially, Halloween will not arrive until Monday, Oct. 31. However, I suspect that for one reason or another at least a few hobgoblins may ring your doorbell this weekend. Especially the smaller ones, who are not allowed to stay up very late on school nights.

I am sure that every sensible householder will be well supplied with trick insurance in the form of candy and other goodies. After all, who would want to incur the wrath of a 3-year-old who can just barely enunciate "Trick or treat" but doesn't have a very clear idea of what the phrase means.

If I may, I'd like to suggest that a good supply of small coins should also be near at hand for the person who answers the doorbell. Many of the masked creatures at your door will be carrying UNICEF canisters, and none among them should be sent away empty-handed.

As recently as 1950, Halloween was still a time that householders dreaded. Vandalism was rampant, repairs were costly, and there was nothing funny about the damage that was being done.

In 1950, the United Nations fund that helps the most neglected children in the world began asking people to turn Halloween into a day for building up rather than a day for tearing down. The change that has taken place in those 27 short years has been amazing. Vandalism is out now, help for needy children is in. More than $50 million has been raised for the children through the pennies and nickels and dimes you distribute among the hobgoblins, and that's why I hope you'll remember to stop at the bank today and lay in a good supply of small change. When enough like-minded people join together to turn small change into $50 million, they pack quite a wallop.