King Features Syndicate
Halloween candy totes are decorated as a skyscraper and castle.

The Halloween costume scramble is on as kids count down to school parades, hay rides and ringing doorbells on Halloween night. Amidst the last-minute chaos of searching for your adorable princess's missing tiara or her brother's dashing pirate scarf, let's be honest: What really matters to most kids is the "trick or treat" part of the masquerade. It's all about the loot!

Tote those special treats in Halloween style as you complement this year's disguise, whether it's Dora, Curious George or a bumblebee. Decorate these clever treat bags at home as a family. Or, use this idea for a "party activity" if you are volunteering to help with the classroom party at school or hosting a ghoulish gathering in your home. All ages can join in on the creative fun.

You'll need heavy-duty small or large paper shopping bags with handles, construction paper, tape, white household glue, scissors and markers. I like to have plenty of extra supplies on hand, too, such as pipe cleaners, stickers and fabric scraps.

Tell the kids to get their imaginations brewing and think of the opened bag as the "place" where their character would live or go, then decorate the outside of the bag to look like the facade of that place. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Superman or Spider-Man: Leap tall buildings with a New York City skyscraper. Use a solid-color sheet of paper glued to one side of the bag for the front of the building. For windows, cut 3-inch strips of white electrical or reflective tape and stick them to the sheet in neat rows. Cut out a door shape from paper and glue it to the bottom.

Princess: Make the facade of an enchanting castle. Glue a gray sheet of paper to the outside of the bag and decorate with cut-out cone-shape turrets topped with paper flags.

Bird: Tote a bird's nest. Cut out a large sheet of brown paper in the shape of a nest. Glue to the front of the bag, and then add twigs, real leaves, bits of yarn and string and lots of craft feathers.

Extra tip: If you can't find paper bags with handles, tape cut strips of poster board or woven ribbon or twine securely to the inside of the top of the bag.

For extra Halloween ideas, e-mail your PBS station and ask for the "DONNA'S DAY" Halloween Special, "The Ultimate Halloween Show." For ideas go to and sign up for my E-newsletter. © Donna Erickson

Dist. by King Features Syndicate