Trick or treat your loot bag

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Homemade candy bags

Are you tired of all the hype around Halloween? Take back this holiday with individual loot bags that are easy and fun to create.

Control the supply

Paper bags are a good size for younger children who can't carry large bags. It's also an excellent way to control how much candy your child receives. A full bag can signal the end of trick or treating.

Transform any plain brown paper bag into a scary carrier with some glue, markers, stickers, paper cut outs, glow in the dark paint and some glitter. A number of website like Family Fun and Pastiche Family Portal have free Halloween clip art that you can print off, get your child to colour and glue onto the bag. Names on the bags will prevent arguments over ownership of sweets. Staple thick string or cord to each side of the bag for some sturdy handles and you are ready to hit the streets.

The classic bag

Depending on your age, you may or may not remember that old Halloween standby — the pillowcase. With some fabric paint and iron on transfers you can spiff up that basic white pillowcase.

Crafter Abigail Beal suggests using fabric paint and foam stamps to decorate the pillowcase. Start off putting newspapers inside the pillowcase so paint doesn't leak through and let your imagination go wild. Stamp messages like "You're so sweet" or "Trick or Treat" along with the traditional bats, black cats, witches and full moon.

The artistically challenged can use an iron on transfer or follow a stencil. The family craft website About Painting has over a dozen free stencils you can print off.

Personalize the bag by letting your child sign their name or put their hand print on the bag. It can become a kind of keepsake that can be used each year as part of a new family tradition. And of course, there is nothing wrong with just giving them a plain white pillowcase to use — it won't make the candy taste any differently.

Make your candy into treasure

A good way to handle the whole explosion of candy is to have your children to pick out a few favourites to hide away. A Halloween treasure box is just the thing. Take any used cardboard box — a shoe box is the perfect size — paint it black or orange and use the contrasting colour to paint on lines and a lock. Get out the glue gun and paste on cut out of witches, goblins and bats along with jewels or buttons, anything that will make the box look special. You can cut a hole in the top of the box and let your child take it out trick or treating or use it for hiding the goods afterwards.

For the older child

Older children will enjoy creating their own fabric trick and treat bag. Pick out a seasonal fabric, black velour or orange cotton. Buy enough to create a long rectangle with enough fabric left over for a handle. You can use a sewing machine or fusible iron-on sewing tape to stitch up the sides. The craft website DLTK Kids has a free pattern with iron-on transfers with easy to follow instructions. This bag is simple enough for kids ages nine to 12 years old to create their own masterpieces that offset their costumes.

For more clever ideas on how to make your place spooky for Halloween visit the All crafts website. It's chock full of free craft ideas and projects for the whole family.

Have a safe and happy Halloween.