Friday, September 27, 2013

Boo to You: Year #4

I love Halloween! It is my second-favorite holiday, right after Christmas, and I think it can be so much fun! Okay, I don't love all of the blood and gore that I seem to be seeing more and more of, but that's not the point. Halloween can and should be fun for kids of all ages, which is why our family once again initiated "boo bags" in the neighborhood. This is a simple and inexpensive way to spread a little holiday cheer.

We first started this in 2010, and I don't think it spread beyond the first two houses where we delivered our "boo bags."

Then, we tried again in 2011, and the results were pretty much the same.

Last year, Brett was a little surprised to see me at it again. However, come Halloween, I was pretty darn excited when we actually received our own "boo bag!" This meant that it was possibly catching on, or at least that someone figured out who started it and passed it back to us. Anyway, it was all new stuff -- not what we had included in our "boo bags" -- so this gave me hope that people were ready to join in on the fun!

This year's bags were the simplest (and probably cheapest) yet. Knowing that I would continue this tradition, I found items on clearance after last Halloween and put them aside for this year. The bags themselves were small canvas trick-or-treat totes that I found at Meijer for 14 cents apiece. The insides of the "boo bags" included items I had saved for this occasion and other little things I had on hand such as:
  • a small package of animal crackers (left over from soccer snacks)
  • some Pixie Stix (left over from the rainbow pinata)
  • a few suckers (I am guessing that these were left over from some other birthday party that the kids attended at some point...)
  • jack-o'-lantern pencil erasers (I had gotten these a couple years back on clearance at Target.)
  • Halloween pencils (Also from that same shopping trip to Target, if I remember correctly.)
  • plastic vampire teeth (These came in a 24-pack that I got on clearance at Kroger. I put 3 sets per bag into 2 baggies, and then I placed each baggie into each "boo bag.")
  • a set of black and orange paper bag luminaries (These were also on clearance at Meijer - 30 cents for each package of 8.)
  • window gel clings that spell out "Boo to You!" (Perfect, right? These I got either at Walmart or Kroger last year, for 50 cents each, and I bought all they had at both stores. I also got some other Halloween gel cling window sets that were not creepy or gory, which is why I can't remember exactly which store they came from. The moral is: just buy things after Halloween and make sure to get them when you see them because they will be gone by the next time you get to that store.)
  • 3 copies of the "You have been BOO'ed" poem, explaining the activity -- one for each recipient of our "boo bags" and two more for them to pass along to neighbors.
  • 3 copies of the "We've been BOO'ed" sign -- one for each recipient to put in a window, door, or even on the garage door -- and two more to pass along to neighbors.

That's it. I didn't add cute ribbon or do any rubber stamping or anything else to make it more decorative. (The idea is to make it fun, not to spend lots of time making it look perfect.) I didn't make excessive copies of the papers in hopes that this would help it spread throughout the neighborhood, as I had tried in the past. (This didn't work anyway, so save yourself some paper and printer ink!)

I just kept it really, really simple -- and cheap! It cost me a little over a dollar, and certainly no more than $2 per bag. (14 cents for the bag, 50 cents for the gel clings, 30 cents for the luminaries, and add few more cents for things that I have forgotten the cost of. When you break it down per unit, this was very affordable.)

Once we had our "boo bags" assembled, Logan got into our red wagon, I slipped the leash on the dog, and we went for a walk around the neighborhood. (It is always nice when we get perfect weather for these special deliveries!) Once we had selected our candidates (people who were not home, and who had not gotten "boo bags" in the past), we quickly slipped them into their mailboxes, and kept on moving. 

He had a lot of fun delivering our secret packages. In fact, it was hard for him to contain his excitement as we were headed down to the bus stop at the end of the day and he noticed one neighbor retrieving the "boo bag" from her mailbox. "Look! Mrs. T. got our bag!" I reminded him, "Shhh. Remember, it's a secret," and he replied, "Oh, yeah... right!" Not that I was upset, mind you. It's nice to know that someone else is having fun with our "boo bags", and I am just enough of a cock-eyed optimist to believe that eventually more neighbors will participate in the fun...

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