When you were a kid, did you always have weird things to use as trick or treat bags? Something like, say, a plastic grocery bag? Or maybe some ratty old canvas bag your mom got for free at a trade show once?
Did you long for something cool–like the plastic jack-o-lanterns other kids had? Or at least something with a Halloween theme?
Well, we’re here to save you! If you can’t go back in time and do Halloween the right way, we’ll help you do it for the kids in your life. We’ll tell you about the best trick or treat goodie bags ever!
First, though, a bit of Halloween history …
How Did Trick or Treating Get Started?
Trick or treating (or its long-ago predecessor) began around 2,000 years ago, with the ancient Celts who inhabited the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France. The pagan festival of Samhain is how it all started.
“During some Celtic celebrations of Samhain, villagers disguised themselves in costumes made of animal skins to drive away phantom visitors; banquet tables were prepared and edible offerings were left out to placate unwelcome spirits.”
By the 9th century, the Roman Empire had conquered the Celts and Christians had settled in the Celtic lands. The two cultures merged traditions. And, in 1,000, November 2 became All Souls Day, as decreed by Pope Gregory III.
On this day, “poor people would visit the houses of wealthier families and receive pastries called soul cakes in exchange for a promise to pray for the souls of the residents’ dead relatives.”
During this time, the tradition of making jack-o-lanterns got started. Visitors would arrive at people’s homes holding lanterns made of hollowed-out turnips with candles inside, representing souls in purgatory.
Throughout the centuries that followed–in both the British Isles and North America (the U.S., Canada, and Mexico)–an array of traditions, rituals, and symbols came together to form the iconography of what we know today as Halloween.
By the mid-20th century, Halloween had, like Christmas, integrated commercialism with more traditional rituals and symbols. Holiday icons familiar today had become fixed through mass-produced images and products emblazoned with them.
Special trick or treat bags are one very fun example of this.
What Are These Trick or Treat Bags You Speak of?
We are talking about customized bags with the most amazing Halloween-themed designs you ever saw. And we said “customized.” That’s right, CUSTOMIZED with any kind of text or logo you might want.
Here are the different bags that are available:
Classic Jack-O-Lantern: This is one of our favorites. Bright orange facial features standing out against a black background, with the words “Happy Halloween” written across the bottom in spooky letters.
Creepy Witch: Here’s the classic witch, in creepy silhouette and surrounded by Halloween icons like a bat, a raven, and a fallen cross. Scattered pumpkins in striking orange fill the foreground. Have you ever met a real witch?
Day of the Dead Skull: Halloween? This one’s colored brightly in purple, white, and magenta. The skull is grinning and the overall theme is psychedelic. Yes, we’ll take one!
Day of the Dead Sombrero: A skull with a sombrero, maracas, and hearts in the eye sockets. Bright colors. Looks like a partyyyyyy!
Friendly Ghost: We’d say maybe a middle-aged party guy. Color is a putrid green, and the big red, smiling mouth takes up nearly as much room as the rest of his body (or whatever you’d call it for a ghost. Black background. “Happy Halloween!” See this bag here.
Friendly Mummy: Yes, these are mummies. Or are they cartoonish ghosts? And is one of them a dog? There also are figures in the black background. It looks as though they’re up to something!
Full Moon Haunted House: This is a somber-looking house if there ever was one–with all the windows backlit by the huge orange moon in the background. We find it just a little scary.
Ghost Coffin: This one looks like a jumble of Halloween themes: pumpkins, a coffin, a ghost, a cauldron, spider webs (one with a spider), and a bottle of some sort of green liquid. Ooooh … looks like poison!
Halloween Jack-O-Lantern: This is a rather stylized jack-o-lantern–orange moon, blue sky, and bare tree in the background.
Halloween Stock Design Orange Die Cut Bag: These inexpensive bags are for large numbers of trick or treaters or Halloween party favors. If you represent an organization, why not have your logo imprinted on these?
Happy Halloween Black Cat: This is a nicely designed bag that features a black cat perched atop a rickety fence, with a full orange moon and bats framing the scene.
Happy Halloween Haunted House: This is actually a castle, silhouetted in front of a full white moon set against a glowing brown sky. Nice image!
Happy Halloween Pixels: A simple design of a skull made up of squares on a grid, with the words “Happy Halloween” also part of a grid. This looks like an early video game image. Very clever!
Happy Halloween RIP: Two lit-up jack-o-lanterns in front of a tombstone, set against a night sky, The only light is from the jack-o-lanterns and the bright white moon. This is well designed.
Happy Halloween Scary Jack-O-Lantern: A simple design of jack-o-lantern features in orange, set on an all-black background. The letters spelling “Happy Halloween” are in orange at the top.
Haunted Tree Trick or Treat Bag–Exclusive Design: We love this very engaging image of jack-o-lanterns in a forest scene!
Light-up Halloween Trick or Treat Buckets: This is different–a traditional plastic pumpkin bucket with a jack-o-lantern face. It’s battery-operated and has flashing lights. This would be good for carrying on dark streets! Check it out!
Retro Chalkboard Trick or Treat Exclusive Design: This one is really cute! It’s a sketch of a cat sitting with some jack-o-lanterns.
Retro Trick or Treat Exclusive Design: A black and white image of a jack-o-lantern in a pile of candy.
Scary Cemetery: Two jack-o-lanterns in front of an old black iron fence. A tree, tombstones, and a bat in the background.
Spider Web: A witch’s hat and a web with a spider on a green background.
Spiral Design: This is another psychedelic image, with the words “Trick or Treat” in a white circle enclosed by a black and orange spiral design.
Spooky Black Pumpkins: In this image, the jack-o-lanterns are black–in front of an orange and yellow sky.
Staring Eyes: Very creepy! This one features three pairs of eyeballs staring at us from a totally black background. The lettering of “Happy Halloween” is very subtle.
Trick or Treat Witch, Owl & Bats: Silhouettes against an orange moon in a black sky.
Vampire Coffin: Simple but well-conceived design of a black coffin against an orange background.
Witch Over Full Moon: Silhouette of a witch riding a broom in front of an orange full moon positioned over a greenish background. Cross-shaped tombstones draw the eye toward the witch.
Zombie Party: What is it about zombies these days? This one has a cartoonish and revoltingly green face–with bloodshot eyes.
Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Candy Buckets: As you would expect–bucket shape, face on one side, room for customizing on the back.
Haunted House Exclusive Design: This design recalls a scene from an animated movie. It’s pretty engaging.
Vintage Movie Monsters: Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, and The Mummy outlined in black on a beige background.
Werewolf Halloween Bag Exclusive Design: The werewolf jumps out at you, with claws and teeth flashing.
Witch with Cauldron: Fun design–the cauldron seems to be emitting steamy ghosts.
Witches Brew: This witch is ugly but also friendly-looking. She would be happy to share some of what she’s brewing with you–or her spider.
Halloween Stock Design Yellow Die Cut Bag: This is another inexpensive option for large groups. The design includes lists of “safety tips.”
You can see all of the custom trik or trick bags here.
Filling the Bags
It’s obvious that one very popular way to fill Halloween loot bags is by trick or treating. But what if you’re just not into that scene anymore?
And everyone knows that with parties come party favors. What a perfect use for our trick or treat bags!
Parties for Young Kids
The Witches Brew Halloween bag would be perfect for little kids. It’s Halloween-themed, but not scary. Fill it with healthy snacks like low-fat chips and maybe some inexpensive puzzle toys. throw in some gummy candy if your dentist isn’t around.
Pick any words or an image for her cauldron that you think kids would enjoy.
Parties for Older Kids
Assuming you and your teenage child will be hosting this party, let her or him choose the bag and what to fill it with. We have no idea what should go inside, but the Zombie Party bag might be good if the kids are into that.
Maybe you could have some nerdy “parent thing” for the customization, for example, “If you don’t do your homework, you’ll become just like me.”
Parties for Grown-Ups
OK, we’re all grown-ups here. What would we like for our party? Well, a reusable grocery bag would be nice… Maybe the Day of the Dead skull? Or the cute retro chalkboard? Let’s “brand” it with the place and date of the party.
Organizations that Serve Children
We’re thinking here about the Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, 4-H, and so on. These are events for which you would want to purchase the less expensive candy bags in bulk. Our choice would be the orange die-cut trick or treat bag.
Put some candy in these, maybe a bottled drink, healthy snacks, etc. Any donations from local merchants would be great.
These should be family events. Price tickets around $20 each, including the trick or treat party bags filled with goodies and literature about the cause you’re supporting.
That would cover the cost of one of the higher-priced bags (with the logo of the cause you’re supporting and the event date) and donated items from local merchants.
Supporting City Kids
In many metro areas, kids from rough urban neighborhoods will be bused by churches and other organizations to the suburbs for trick or treating.
It would be great if the sponsoring organizations (possibly with the help of other donors) could supply the kids with candy and gift bags containing some light snacks for energy, reflective tape or stickers for clothing, and other inexpensive supplies.
Bringing Halloween Joy to Sick Kids
Our bags would also make great gifts for kids who can’t fully enjoy Halloween due to being in the hospital, What about ordering a bunch of the classic jack-o-lantern bags and filling them with things that are hospital-approved.
Some ideas would be puzzles, coloring books, crayons, kids card games, or small stuffed animals. Unless the hospital staff approves of it, try to avoid any food items as some kids might have dietary restrictions or just not feel well enough to eat.
Have the bags imprinted with your organization’s logo or use a phrase and/or image that would appeal to kids.
So, Halloween is over and you survived all the hullabaloo? Good for you! But …
What About the Rest of the Year?
Remember, after Halloween is over and trick or treat bags put away until next year, it’s less than two months until the winter holidays. Shouldn’t you be thinking ahead, especially while the excitement of Halloween is still fresh in your mind?
People enjoy unexpected gifts all year round, especially when they don’t have to brave the unpredictable fall weather to gather those gifts. Why not make the gifts extra special and memorable by having them imprinted?
For example, the winter holidays are a time for giving gifts to work colleagues and employees. There are many items that people would appreciate and could be branded by your company or institutional logo.
How about practical items like umbrellas or cutting boards? Or more recreation-focused gifts such as flip flops or cooler bags?
Whatever the occasion, you know you have a source for themed gifts that is only a click or two away. Why not start thinking about upcoming holidays, company picnics, and other “gift occasions” right now?
Need ideas? Check out this blog!