As Halloween approaches, you’ll likely spend time helping your little adventurer put together the perfect costume. Whether your child is dressing up as a fairy princess, superhero or a good old-fashioned ghost, nothing enhances a carefully planned ensemble like a personalized candy bag.
After all, your child will be clinging to their loot bag all evening, making it an accessory that’s just as important as shoes, a wig or face paint. No matter how authentic, a mummy costume loses some of its effect when paired with a shopping bag, a grinning pumpkin bucket or, worse yet, a flowered pillowcase.
Personalize your child's treat bag
This Halloween, instead of sending your little candy lovers off with the same old boring bag, why not help them make their own personalized treat bags? They’ll get a chance to flex their creative muscles, and the end result will function as a charming — or frightening — finishing touch to their costume. Below we’ve compiled some ideas for fun, creative projects the whole family can tackle together, with minimal cost and a huge helping of imagination.
By the bucketful
You can find predecorated trick-or-treat buckets at most 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 a handle 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 rubber worms spilling over the sides.
Need a quick, economical candy bag? The tried-and-true pillowcase still makes an ideal loot carrier, with plenty of room for a full night’s bounty. With a little imagination, you can transform a plain white or solid-colored case from ho-hum to Halloween-worthy.
To make your pillowcase easier to work with, you might consider cutting it down to size by stitching a line across the bag a few inches from the bottom and trimming the excess.
When decorating your fabric pillowcase, use acrylic paints, puffy paints or glow-in-the-dark paints, which double as a smart safety feature for your nighttime road warriors. Glitter glue also works well. Trick-or-treaters may want to add their name, a Halloween phrase or poem, or a message pertaining to their costume of choice. Before painting, stick a piece of cardboard, poster board or a large magazine inside the pillowcase to prevent the paint from bleeding through to the other side. Again, stencils make it easy for anyone to create artistic designs. Use fabric glue to affix felt lettering, googly eyes, foam Halloween cutouts and more.
When the decorating is done, cut small slits all around the top of the pillowcase, and then thread a coordinating ribbon through the holes to create a secure closure and handy carrying handle.
You can find inexpensive colored paper bags at most any craft store or supermarket. Purchase equal amounts of orange and black bags. Cut a zig-zag pattern across the top of an orange bag, and then glue some black paper inside so the top of it sticks out. Next, cut zig-zags across the top of the black paper to match, and fold the top of the bag and the black paper over. On the front of the bag, use scissors to create two small holes next to each other, and string matching ribbon or a bit of yarn through the holes before tying it in a bow. Leave the bag plain and simple, or stencil on a design or name. Feel free to substitute the color combination to coordinate with your little one’s costume.
For an easy Halloween project that requires a minimum of 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 your local craft store, 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 this inspired Halloween project, an ordinary garden pot is transformed into a unique candy container. Choose your preferred size — for toddlers, a smaller pot is best, while older trick-or-treaters will likely need larger versions to hold all of their loot. In addition to the pot, you’ll also need a matching drainage plate and a plain wooden ball, all of which can be found at your local craft store.
Using acrylic paints, have your child paint the pot orange and the wooden ball green. Glue the painted ball to the bottom of the drainage plate, and then put the plate on top of the painted pot to use as a lid. With a contrasting paint color, create vertical pumpkin lines for added realism. Give your jack-o’-lantern personality by adding eyes, a nose, a spooky smile and any other defining characteristics.
Perhaps the most versatile and economical of all home crafting materials, the cardboard milk carton is a veritable jack-of-all-trades. For Halloween, an empty half-gallon milk carton can be transformed into a haunted house for a customized candy holder. Start by cutting the top off the milk carton just below the spout, and then cover it with yellow or white construction paper or card stock. Position some black or brown paper over the yellow, and use a pencil to draw outlines of where the doors and windows should be. Use scissors to cut along the pencil lines on three sides, allowing the doors and windows to fold open to reveal the yellow “light.”
After you’re finished cutting, tape or glue the brown paper over the yellow. Inside each opening, add a Halloween cutout or sticker, such as a witch on a broom, a ghost or a skeleton. You can also decorate the exterior of the house with more spooky appliqués.
Use a piece of black paper to create a roof that can open and close to accommodate candy handouts. Next, punch two holes on opposite sides of the top of the carton and thread a wide ribbon or braided yarn through the holes to create a handle for the candy carrier.
With a minimum of cost, some help from Mom and Dad, and a liberal dose of imagination, your little ghoul or goblin can easily create a fun and functional treat bag to haul their loot home. Choose a different design each year, and make the Halloween candy bag workshop an annual tradition before hitting the trick-or-treat path.
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