$20 Lady: This Halloween, give 'em something good to eat
Halloween: creative costumes, staying up late, delightfully frightful fun and … junk.
Oh the junk. Bags full of it. A lot of it is not just junk because it is junk food, but also because much of it is the lowest denominator of junk food: no-name brand chips, stale gum, those rocket candies that no child actually likes.
I understand why people go for the cheaper, no-name brand or the always-on-sale-because-no-one-wants-them rockets. It’s about affordability.
But you can do better. In fact, you can even go less junky, and still make the kids happy.
I polled my kids and some friends’ kids this year to ask what their favourite "treats" were. They mentioned the expected: Cheezies and chocolate. But they also mentioned things I hadn’t thought of.
A couple of kids said their favourites were things they could bring to school the week after Halloween: fruit roll-ups, crackers, juice boxes. My daughter mentioned how much she likes getting treat bags — they’re like getting an actual present, no matter what’s in there. My boys agreed with her excitedly on that.
My mission is set
So my mission? Get sensible, kid-approved, not-too-cheap Halloween treats for $20.
My first job was to determine how many kids I needed to prep for. It’s our first Halloween in this neighbourhood. After asking a few neighbours, I came to the conclusion of 30 to 40 kids. I aimed for 40. When you think about it, that’s 50 cents per child, which isn’t too bad.
By Dara Squires, CBC News Posted: Sep 24, 2014 7:20 AM NT Last Updated: Sep 24, 2014 7:20 AM NT
But I wanted to avoid the really junky stuff that I knew would already fill the kids’ bags and the cheap junky stuff that I knew no kids would like. That made it a little harder.
A couple of weeks ago, while buying groceries, I saw boxes of Goldfish crackers on sale. Fifty individual bags for $5.99.
I picked up a box for the kids’ school snacks and grabbed another thinking they would be good for Halloween. My original idea was to pair them with some Kool-Aid juice boxes.
However, when I priced it out, 10 juice boxes at the sale price of $2.49 plus 80 cents deposit would mean that along with the Goldfish crackers I’d almost blow my budget on what didn’t seem like a really awesome treat.
So instead I took my daughter’s advice and made loot bags. Awesome monster loot bags from paper bags that only cost $1.25 for 40.
I nixed the Kool-Aid juice boxes (and that extra deposit fee) and found single-serve Hawaiian fruit punch mixes at the dollar store instead – eight for a dollar!
The money I saved by finding the fruit punch mixes I then spent on glow bracelets – always a big hit with my kids and any other kids I ever give them to! The dollar store had packs of them for six for a dollar.
All told, I went over budget by just 31 cents, but I got a little more than needed, spending $20.31 on 50 bags of Goldfish crackers, 42 glow bracelets, 40 drink mixes and 40 paper bags.
I’ll also spend some quality time with my kids in the next week colouring the bags … and that kind of thing is priceless.