Crafty Halloween

Conjure up these fun projects to celebrate the spookiest holiday of the year.

Crafty Halloween

Halloween Candy Bag

Crafty Halloween4Meredith Hobbs from Modern Domestic, the hip sewing studio and shop on NE Alberta, generously shared her lovely tutorial for this Halloween candy bag that’s easy enough for a beginning sewer. Keep the bag simple or use your creativity to embellish it as you see fit. For supplies and classes visit Modern Domestic at 1408 NE Alberta St. or online at

Supply List

  • ½ yd of canvas, or other heavyweight fabric
  • ½ yd of lining fabric
  • Fabric for appliqué
  • 5/8 yd of ½-inch double-fold bias tape
  • Large sheet of paper for pattern, such as kids’ art paper, tissue paper, or a paper bag
  • Tracing wheel
  • Tracing paper
  • Coordinating thread
  • Iron
  • Fusible web, such as Wonder Underor Heat ‘n Bond

Making the pattern

Cut paper to 12 inches by 16 inches. Mark a ½-inch seam allowance along the two long sides and the bottom. At the top end, mark the placement of the handle, a rectangle 4 ½ inches by 1 ½ inches, centered and 1 ½ inches down from the top edge. At the bottom corners, mark a box 2 ¼ inches tall and wide.

Cutting and marking

Cut two pieces each for the exterior and lining. On the wrong side of all pieces, use a tracing wheel and tracing paper to transfer your handle and box corner marks.


Crafty Halloween5Here, a free pumpkin stencil was used for the cat design appliqué. Or try this cute jack-o-lantern stencil. To create the appliqué, iron on paper-backed fusible web to the wrong side of a contrasting fabric, trace the design with a pencil, and cut out the design. Use tracing paper or a disappearing ink fabric marking pen to mark the design on the right side of your bag front (a). Remove backing, then iron on to your bag. Stitch around the appliqué or leave as is. You can also use an embroidery machine to decorate your bag. Or you can hand embroider a simple spiderweb.

Assembling the bag

1. Once the front has been embellished, lay one exterior and one lining piece right sides together. Sew the rectangle of the handle marks, backstitching at the beginning and end. Cut out the inside of the rectangle and clip at an angle into each corner, making sure not to clip through your stitches (top left). Turn right side out through cut opening, pulling gently to create crisp corners, and press. Repeat for second exterior and lining piece.

2. Topstitch around the handle opening (top center). You can use a different color thread for the bobbin so it will blend with the lining fabric. Use an edge-stitching foot or just keep a consistent distance from the edge.

3. Your pieces are now joined at the handle. Lay the exterior right sides together, being careful to not catch the lining, and stitch around the sides and bottom, ½-inch seam allowance (top right).

4. To box out bottom corners, create a triangle with bottom and side seams lining up. The marked corners of your box will be at a fold and will create a line straight across, approximately 3 and a half inches long. Stitch along the line, backstitching at the beginning and end (bottom left). Repeat for other corner.

5. Open the lining so it can lay right sides together. At the top corners, this will require extra manipulation. Work slowly, making sure not to catch the exterior. Stitch both long sides and short bottom side with ½-inch seam allowance. On the bottom seam, stop stitching in the middle of the bottom seam, backstitch, and clip threads, then restart seam 4 inches away, backstitch and continue around the corner. This opening is for turning the bag right side out. Box these corners of the lining as you did for the exterior.

6. Turn right side out through the opening left in the bottom seam of the lining. While the lining is still out, edge stitch or hand sew the opening closed.

7. Flip the bag so the exterior is on the outside. The top edge is still raw but all other seams are hidden (bottom center). Press the seam allowances near the top edge open for both exterior and lining. Baste the top edge of the exterior and lining together.

8. Encase top raw edge with double-fold bias tape and topstitch. Be sure the stitches catch the underside of the bias tape. At the end, overlap the raw edges (bottom right), trim as necessary, and backstitch.

Crafty Halloween1

A perennially popular toy can take on a new life as pumpkin décor.

Crafty Halloween12Portland mom Sara Childers’ oldest son’s birthday falls close to Halloween, so his parties usually involve a Halloween theme. For Owen’s third birthday party, guests decorated small pumpkins with Mr. Potato Head pieces Childers found at kids’ consignment shops around town, then took their pumpkins home as party favors. “The drill is key,” says Childers. Pre-drilling the holes makes this an easy project to do with a toddler.


  • Small pumpkin or small fake pumpkin, such as a Funkin.
  • Marker
  • Power drill with 3/16 bit
  • Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head body parts

1. Decide placement of eye, nose, mouth, etc. Mark with marker.

2. Slowly drill on marked spots to create holes (left).

3. Push the body parts into the openings (right).

Crafty Halloween3Keep Your Halloween Green

What’s scarier than ghouls, vampires and witches? The toxins that can be found in some kids costumes and face paints, and the ghastly amount of sugary treats a trick-or-treater might consume. The Oregon Environmental Council suggests the following tips to help your little ones have a healthier Halloween.

» Choose face paints wisely. A study by the Environmental Working Group found an alarming amount of commercial face paints contained lead. Even a small amount of lead is dangerous for children. So skip the face makeup in favor of hats, scarves or hoods. Or look for companies who strive to sell non-toxic face paints, such as Terra Firma Cosmetics (available online) or Luna Star Naturals (at Oodles4Kids in Sellwood).

» Avoid vinyl plastic. By now you’ve heard about avoiding phthalates in sippy cups and sports bottles, but you may forget about the phthalates (chemicals that can disrupt hormones) your child may be wearing in that vinyl mask or costume. Look for PVC-free or phthalate-free costumes, use your creativity to make your kid’s costume or consider doing a costume swap with friends.

» Think outside the candy box. Started by a Washington mom, the Green Halloween movement aims to make this fun holiday healthier and more earth-friendly. Check out their website for many suggestions on fun items to hand out, such as Nature’s Path crispy rice bars, homemade salt dough, Halloween-themed adhesive bandages, soy crayons and recycled plastic whistles.

Denise Castañon
Denise Castañon

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