halloween treat bag ideas & free printable

11:07 AM

Halloween has always been a commercial holiday, obviously, but the past few years I have noticed that it can cost as much as Christmas! Candy is easily $10 a bag and with a few hundred kids (easily) wandering through the neighborhood (Lord, I wish I were in the burbs sometimes), you can charge up a good bit in treats alone. Then come costumes and decorating and parties and school treats...it can be overwhelming...fun, but overwhelming, especially when you have a full plate and are on a budget.

I have to admit, though, that I can go overboard when it comes to trick-or-treats. I adore Halloween. I think it's the artist in me coupled up with the sights and smells and colors of the fall that make it so fun and magical. One year I printed about a hundred treat boxes I had downloaded from the Martha Stewart website and stuffed them with candy and spider rings. (I used old manila three cut file folders they were throwing out and recycled them into the boxes.)  I also made plush felt ghost pins and little stuffed toys for all of the kids on my block or for a special treat for the kids with disabilities who came around that (oh they loved them so much!). I spend hours trying to make things extra special, although most of the time I honestly think that the majority of the kids who come could care less. :(

It's a lot harder now with a different job, cramped schedule, and a young child, too, so I always try to look for ways to make the holiday a little easier for me. A few years ago I found something a little more thrifty and a lot easier to make treat bags with: cello bags. Cello bags are the perfect size to fill with treats, can be decorated nicely, and are only around $2 for a hundred. Plus, they are always in stock at any craft store and any extras can be used up to bag other homemade treats like pretzels and homemade candy. Last year, while introducing myself to the wonderful world of Pinterest, I found the most adorable chevron print-outs for them too from The Unoriginal Mom blog and I have used them for the past two years now to make my bags (although I do not use card stock since I print so many).

> my living room floor the other evening

This year I needed (like really needed) to stay within a budget for my treats and luckily the Walmart near us has bagged candy for $8 - $10 a bag with around 200 - 300 pieces in each. Granted, they're not Snickers bars, but I tried to doll them up a bit by adding some stickers, rings, and temporary tattoos I picked up at the party store. Some of them also have super balls and play vampire teeth (these ones are for the bigger kids, though) that came in a big packet from Walmart for $4.99 (there are also bubbles in them as well, but I saved these for my son's school). I spent about $32.00 for three big bags and one small bag of candy and another $10 - $15 on the other pieces, which means, I was able to stay within a $50 (almost half of what I spent last year) budget for all of my goodies!

*** TIP: Pick up lots of goodies a the end of the Halloween season cheap from your local craft stores. ***

Over the course of two nights I sat and snipped and stuffed until I completed nearly 200 goodie bags, which are for the regular trick-or-treaters. I still need to come up with something special for my son's class (cupcakes are definitely in the works..and maybe some candy pretzels!!!) I also need to hit the treadmill since I keep sneaking all of the laffy taffy. :)

If you are looking for some inspiration for Halloween treats, I found a great post from Eighteen25.com with lots of printables as well.

What do you do to make the holiday special? 

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