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If you’re planning on taking your kids out trick or treating this year, help them get ready for the big night by making Halloween treat bags.
To get started, choose an old gift bag in a solid colour. Small gift bags are great—the kids will get a kick out of having their bags ‘almost full’ at the end of the night. Provide decorating supplies such as papers, markers, and crayons in black, green, orange, and white to give the bags a Halloween theme. The kids can draw or paste on cats, bats, pumpkins or witch faces; or they might choose a random collage of papers and markings.
Plain fabric bags make a great start to personalized painted treat bags. Use (washable) paints to get started, and add sparkles, Halloween stamps, or orange and black ribbons.
For bigger kids, there’s nothing more exciting than starting with a few scraps and transforming them into something usable. Stitching a bag together will exercise fine motor skills, and it’s easy to do: fold a piece of burlap in half, and use orange yarn strung onto a large darning needle to stitch up the sides. Use felt shapes to accessorize the bag, and string a ribbon handle through at the top.
Reach into the recycling bin for supplies to make paper mache Halloween buckets. Use a balloon as your bucket form (we taped ours into a bowl for stability), and make paste by mixing 1-part flour with 1.5-parts warm water. Rip old newspapers or other papers into shreds, and dip them into the paste, covering the balloon in at least two layers of paper. Let your bucket dry, pop the balloon, and add handles by punching a hole through the top edges of the bucket. Decorate the bucket with markers or paints.
The excitement of Halloween is a great opportunity for some hands-on fun. Your princesses and super heroes will strut down the streets with pride on Halloween night, as they tote their hand-made creations along.
Jack O Lanterns have become synonymous with Halloween, but carving pumpkins usually falls into adult and big-kid territory. If your little ones want their own version of a Jack O Lantern, decorating sugar pumpkins is a great alternative to pumpkin carving.
Start with some basic supplies such as non-toxic markers and construction paper. The kids can draw on faces, and add construction paper crowns, hats, or even a set of bat’s wings. Consider providing paints as well—an orange pumpkin can turn into a completely white ghost pumpkin for the enthusiastic painter!
Look to your recycling bin for other useful decorating items—an eggcup is the start of a great witch’s hat, and a milk jug lid could turn into a baseball cap. An old soup could become a podium for your child’s pumpkin to sit on—they can pretend the pumpkin is a head, while the can is a body. Fabric remnants can be draped over the can for a witch’s or superhero’s cape.
Other decorating options include black pipe cleaners for spider legs, stick-on googly eyes for the face, and pieces of felt to make lips, ears, or moustaches. Decorative trims or yarns make great hair, and anything with a sticky backing (such as jewels, papers, etc.) are fun embellishments.
Lay the materials out, make some suggestions on how to use them, and then let the kids take the lead. And don’t worry about whether you can recognize what they have made in the end—they’re learning by doing, and you can be guaranteed that the end result is 100% their own.