DIY Project: Halloween Treat Bag

When I went out trick-or-treating as a kid, I had only one goal: to get as much candy as humanly possible. In order to do this, I started early, attempting to cover as much ground as possible before it got late. Friends who couldn’t keep up were promptly abandoned as I raced from house to house across several neighborhoods. As far as Halloween treat bags were concerned, my motto was “go big or go home.” I never understood those dinky plastic treat containers that drugstores sold around Halloween; with their small size and awkward shapes, they pretty much set you up to fail. A master candy collector, I made sure to leave home with a massive pillowcase, a vessel that could (and often would) end up filled with pounds of delicious bounty.

Whether you’re a kid going trick-or-treating or a grownup greeting costumed youngsters on your front porch, the age-old pillowcase provides an excellent container for treats. This DIY offers an updated take on the classic method. — Max

Read the full how-to after the jump . . .


  • pillowcase (we used an orange one to keep with the Halloween theme)
  • black fabric paint
  • stencil brush
  • painter’s tape
  • newspapers and/or a drop cloth
  • rope or clothesline



1. Iron or steam your pillowcase to remove wrinkles.

2. Put a few sheets of newspaper inside your pillowcase to prevent paint from bleeding through to the other side.

3. Lay your pillowcase on a work surface covered in a drop cloth or more newspapers.

4. Tape strips of your painter’s tape in straight, horizontal lines across the width of your pillowcase. We used four strips, separated by about an inch, to create three stripes. Leave a little bit of extra tape on either side of the pillowcase to fold over and demarcate where you will place your tape on the other side.

5. Flip over your pillowcase and, using the folded-over tape as a guide, place rows of tape to match the ones you made on the opposite side.

6. With a stencil brush, apply stipples of black fabric paint within your tape lines until each stripe is completely filled. Wait until the paint dries and then repeat on the opposite side of the pillowcase.

7. Once your pillowcase is completely dry, take it off your work surface and remove the newspapers inside the case.

8. Along one of the seams on the edge of the pillowcase, cut a small hole in the middle of the top hem. This is where your drawstring will come out.

9. String a length of clothesline or rope through the hole in the seam and through the hem at the opening of the pillowcase. Bring it back out through the same hole.

10. To prevent fraying, tie a knot into each end of your rope. Then tie each end of the rope together with another knot.

11. Bang! Done! Now go get your trick-or-treat on!


Wouldn’t ribbon for stripes be just as easy and look neater in the end?