How to Make a Trick-or-Treat Bag Activity

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Updated on Oct 29, 2013

Learn how to make a trick-or-treat bag for Halloween! Don't waste your money on yet another disposable Halloween treat bag this year. Try this fun activity instead and encourage your child to recycle, reduce, and reuse. Make this spooky mini-masterpiece with your trick-or-treater this October.

This activity combines an environmental awareness lesson with the exploration of artistic printing and painting processes, along with color and shape recognition. Your child is sure to be proud of his very own, special Halloween candy receptacle. The best part is, he'll get to show it off as he trick-or-treats!

What You Need:

  • Extra large white paper bag (shopping bags, grocery bags, anything you have lying around that you might want to get rid of)
  • Tempera paints (because this activity will result in a bag that food is to be placed in, take extra caution in finding a paint labeled non-toxic and safe for children)
  • Cardboard tubes (e.g. paper towel rolls)
  • Paintbrush
  • Ribbon
  • Stapler
  • Glue

What You Do:

  1. Provide your child with a variety of Halloween inspired colors. Think of black cats and bats, orange and green pumpkins, purple witch's hair, and white ghosts.
  2. Encourage your child to explore and experiment with the paints and a cardboard tube. Ask him questions such as, “What shape is a pumpkin?” Have him dip the end of the tube into the paint, and then press it onto the paper bag. This can be a pumpkin, the body of a creepy cat, or part of a scary spider.
  3. If your kid is a little older and ready for a more complex illustration, have him make a haunted house. Giant triangles work wonderfully for the house itself, and smaller triangles or squares are perfect for windows. Have your child to use the paint brush to fill in parts of the shapes, and to add extra details and background elements.
  4. He can also decorate his bag with words. Encourage him to write "Happy Halloween" or "Trick or Treat," like we did. He might even want to write his name.
  5. For added fun, encourage your child to use his fingers to create tiny ghosts or bat wings on the bag.
  6. Set your child's finished creation aside and let it dry thoroughly.
  7. Now for the handles! Cut four pieces of ribbon that will work as suitable bag handles. 
  8. Position two pieces of the ribbon so that they cover one of the bag handles. Staple the pieces of ribbon together so the bag handle is fully covered.
  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 to create the other sturdy handle. Now, when the bag gets heavy with all the candy your trick-or-treater has collected, the strengthened bag handles won't break.

Due to the nature of the materials used for this activity, use caution and a little bit of common sense. If the paint has soaked through or is not dry, you can line with bag with another paper bag without anything on it. Additionally, if Halloween night is wet and rainy do not use this bag as it's not water resistant. Instead, keep it indoors as a fun Halloween inspired decoration to hold your candy stash!

Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.