When it comes to Halloween handouts, I usually wimp out and buy one larger item like bags of potato chips to shell out at the door. But it can be fun putting a bunch of smaller things into treat bags and, at dollar store prices, it doesn't have to cost a lot, either.

Besides, it's more fun for the kids to get a mystery bag of goodies and as Dollar Tree shows online, you don't have to confine your offerings to candy.

The skeleton hand bags shown on the Web site come in packages of 18 for $1 and could be fun but because of the fingers, they're really only suited to holding small candies like M & M's.

If you'd like to include larger items, try some Halloween printed twist tie bags or Zipper seal bags. At 25 bags for $1, you're also getting more bags with either of these.

The next consideration is what non-food treats to include. Dollar Tree makes a few suggestions, such as Halloween stickers, pencils, erasers, fun straws, rings and creepy creatures for $1 each package. I bought four packages of 10 pencils for $1 each.

Next, every kid's favorite part, the candy, is added. Naturally, there are a lot of different options. A few suggestions: Dollar Tree has packages of Tootsie Roll Midgees in an 8.25 oz. package or Tootsie Pops in a 7.2 oz. package. A 3.6 oz. package of snack size Whoppers, 5.5 oz. Sugar Daddy or 4 oz. Sugar Babies are also in-store and each package of candy is only $1 each.

Dollar stores are also selling packages of eight snack size candy bars for $1 each, including Butterfingers, Snickers, and Baby Ruth. I also found some Nestle Crunch bars in the same size packages at my local dollar store.

For this experiment I spent $17, including two packages of bags containing 20 bags each. By putting three pieces of candy treats and one pencil in each bag, I was able to make up nearly 40 treat bags for the end of the month.

That's not bad when you consider that just one package of 30 name brand mini chocolate bars can cost as much as $5.77 at Walmart. That would be 19 cents per candy bar as opposed to just 13 cents each at the dollar store.

Naturally, the number of treat bags you make up will depend on the number of goblins your expecting at your door. And if you're not fussy about stuffing treat bags, get the kids involved. Just be sure the candy is getting into the bags and not the tummies of your helpers!

Marlene Alexander is a freelance writer and dollar store diva. She writes ideas and tips for home decorating using only items from the dollar store.


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