When getting your little one ready for Halloween, don’t let the excitement of planning a costume overshadow the importance of a well-crafted, coordinated candy bag. After all, the main goal of Halloween is gathering the treats!
Personalizing treat bags is a simple, inexpensive way to add the perfect finishing touch to any candy lover’s costume, and it lets kids exercise their creativity. These fun and creative Halloween candy bags will get the whole family involved in the fun.
By the Bucketful
You can find pre-decorated trick-or-treat buckets at almost any craft store, but it’s nearly as easy — and much more fun — to decorate your own. Start with an inexpensive plastic beach pail or small cleaning bucket (clear, white or black work best), or root through your cupboards and refrigerator to see if you already have one you can repurpose. Ice cream buckets work great, as they already have handles attached for easy carrying.
Next, have your trick-or-treaters decorate their Halloween buckets. Use glow-in-the dark paints or markers to draw scary faces, names and designs. Use craft glue to affix fabric swatches, scary pictures, foam or felt, feathers and “wiggle eyes.” Feel free to use stencils or carving patterns to create your patterns. Each child may want to plan their bucket’s theme around their own ensemble. For instance, to complement a mummy costume, the bucket could be wrapped in gauze and embellished with glued-on spiders and cobwebs. To accessorize a witch costume, transform the bucket into a cauldron with gummy worms spilling over the sides.
Have an old, solid-colored t-shirt lying around? Transforming a used tee into a candy tote is easy, gives your kids a blank canvas to decorate and lets you get another use out of something you might have otherwise thrown away.
Cut the t-shirt across the top and remove the sleeves and neck. If you like to sew, turn the shirt inside out and stitch up the newly-cut edge, or you can use iron-on adhesive to seal the bottom of the bag (keep the needles and iron away from the kids — do this part for them).
Now that your t-shirt looks like a bag, it’s time for the kids to get in on the fun. Use acrylic paint, puffy paint, glow-in-the-dark paint (which doubles a smart safety feature for your nighttime road warriors) or glitter glue. Your trick-or-treaters can add their names and some Halloween pictures. Stencils make it easy for anyone to create artistic designs — just remember when painting to place a piece of cardboard or a magazine inside the bag so that the paint or glue won’t bleed onto the other side.
When done decorating, cut small slits all around the top of the bag and then thread a coordinating ribbon through them to create a secure closure and handy carrying handle.
Paper bags are inexpensive, easy to work with and available in lots of different colors. All you need to jazz them up is some construction paper, paint and a couple of other simple craft supplies.
To turn a boring, white paper bag into a spooky ghost, cut out two quarter-sized holes near the top of the bag. Tape or glue some black construction paper behind the holes and — voila! — instant ghost eyes. If your bag has handles, paint them white. If not, cut a small hole on either side of the top of the bag and make a handle out of ribbon.
Prefer a candy-filled pumpkin? Take an orange bag, cut out a jack-o-lantern face, attach black or yellow construction paper to the inside of the bag behind the holes (use yellow if you want your jack-o-lantern to appear to be glowing) and paint the handle green or attach a green ribbon. Does a spider sound spookier? Use a black bag, yellow construction paper and let eight black pipe cleaners serve as the crawly legs. Just use a pencil or another semi-sharp object to make four holes in a straight line on each side of the bag. The holes should be spaced about an inch apart. Once you have the holes, put one pipe cleaner through each, leaving just enough slack on the inside to secure each one.
For an easy Halloween project that requires minimum cost and effort, round up the trick-or-treaters to create customized “ghostly” tote bags. Start by picking up a plain canvas tote bag from the craft isle, along with tempera paints, self-adhesive foam cutouts, felt or fabric swatches, buttons, stencils and any other decorative materials that lend themselves to your child’s chosen Halloween theme.
At home, lightly brush some paint on your little one’s palm, then have him create a ghost figure by pressing his palm against the canvas bag with his hand pointing toward the bottom of the bag. Encourage him to create as many ghosts as he’d like, using a range of different paint colors. When the ghosts are dry, use fabric glue to affix wiggle eyes to each one.
Optionally, use the rest of your materials to embellish the tote with Halloween creatures, designs and stenciled words or patterns.
With a few small purchases, some help from Mom and a big dose of imagination, your little ghouls and goblins can create fun and functional treat bags to haul all their treasure home. Choose a different design each year and make the candy bag workshop an annual Halloween tradition.