How to Make a Vintage Halloween Candy Container

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The Germans made the first candy containers in the 1920’s and 1930’s, up to World War II. They sold them in America in the dime stores such as Woolworth’s. As any Halloween collector knows, they have become incredibly expensive. I own one. Thats it. One. I will never tell you how much I spent for it because my husband reads my blog. A lot of companies make very cute reproductions which we sell at Canterbury Gardens but I thought it would be fun to make one from scratch. This is a great project for kids. It involves a balloon, newspaper, glue and paint. Very messy!! Very Fun!! Let’s get started. Supply list is at the end of the blog.

The beginning of the project

The beginning of the project

Step One: Blow up balloon about the size of a cantalope. The old ones were really very small about the size of a navel orange. Candy must of been expensive or the children were smaller. Anyways, start cutting newspaper into strips about an inch wide and 10 inches long. You are going to need a lot of them. Enough to cover the balloon 7 layers. Now, cover 5 books with Saran Wrap. See photo. Cover balloon with a light coat of Mod Podge Paper Mache Glue. Buy this at Michael’s Craft Store. Now start glueing the paper strips on to the balloon by lightly coating one side of the newspaper with glue. FLOP ALERT It will take forever to dry if you use to much glue!! After covering the balloon with overlapping newspaper strips put it on a saran wrapped large book and weight it down with a larger book. See picture. ANOTHER FLOP ALERT Your have to do this after every layer of newspaper strips to be able to have a flat bottom.  Let dry for 2 hours. Repeat 5 to 7 layers. I never said it was a quick project.

You have to weight down the balloon to get a flat bottom that it won't roll

You have to weight down the balloon to get a flat bottom that it won’t roll

 

Step Two: Paint the balloon with some kind of sealer. I used Liquitex Gesso for acrylics because it smoothed out some of the paper bumps. Let dry. FLOP ALERT Snip the balloon knot off, cut a hole big enough for your hand to fit in, not your child’s hand because you want to be able to reach the candy bars. It was damp inside the container because the balloon stops it from drying completely. Take out the balloon and let the candy container dry over night. It will harden up. I promise. Push out the sides if you need to from the inside.

 

gesso added inside painted black

gesso added inside painted black

Step Three: Paint with acrylic paints. I used Martha Stewart Adobo to get pumpkin color. I use black on the inside. (better to hide messy streaks and ants. I know you never get ants on your candy.) It took 2 coats of black on the inside and 2 coats of adobo on the outside. Dry between coats. I dry brushed some yellow and green on top of the adobo. Dry brushed means just a little paint on the brush and lightly brush over the top of adobo paint. This gives it an aged patina. Now draw on your face using a piece of chalk. Need inspiration? Look at vintage candy containers online or in a book. I know a book, who would of ever thought it? I like Halloween Collectibles by Mark B. Ledenbach. You will drool. I do. FLOP ALERT Make your face big enough and don’t worry about making a mistake. This is folk art (Art for the People and by the People) Very American. Basecoat the eyes white with 2 coats. The mouth is red with 2 coats of paint. The iris is blue and the teeth are white. The liner work is black. Have fun. Laugh. Stop frowning..This is folk art and don’t forget to sign the bottom with your name and your kids name and the date. It is important. Really.

Basecoated

Basecoated

Step Four: Spray with 2 coats of satin varnish. Dry between coats. Drill 2 holes on the side of the opening of the container about an inch down. I used my Dremel drill but I think you could use a hole punch. Take 18 inches of bailing wire and thread thru and twist to secure. I used 4 small orange wood beads and three large green beads as an accent.  Some other ideas for a handle is using rope or twine. How about a leather shoe lace?  I am now finished with my first Jack O Lantern Vintage Candy Container. I had a lot of fun. Gotta go, now where are those Hershey bars?

My Vintage Jack O Lantern Candy Container

My Vintage Jack O Lantern Candy Container

Supply List balloon, newspaper strips, Mod Podge Paper Mache glue, acrylic gesso, Martha Stewart Paint (It is worth it) adobo, red, white, black, blue and yellow. I like Krylon satin varnish and finish with bailing wire and some wood beads.


Halloween in August

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Boo!!I love Halloween. My favorite candy is candy corn. I love the Americana of the holiday. I love that nothing is really expected of you except candy and a costume. The costume aspect is pretty freewheeling. It is so interesting to me what everyone thinks constitutes a costume. I live in San Diego, the home of Comic Con. We take super heroes and their costumes very seriously. Big money. It amazes me how a quiet person dons a super hero costume and suddenly they are asuper hero in their own lives. Incredible.

I work in a gift store that follows all the holidays. Right now we started Halloween. I know, Halloween in August, ridiculous! But, we have too. We try to have the jump on all the other stores. It really does not work anymore but we keep trying. Besides, we have to because we are decorate for Christmas in September. I know what you are thinking. In December they must be thinking about Easter? No, of course not, We are planning Christmas for the following year. Insane. I know. But, that is retail. And if we do it right it is more exciting than Vegas!

Second Marriage

Second Marriage

Back to Halloween. We are decorated in black, orange, and purple. Yes, purple is the new color for Halloween. It looks great with black and orange. It peps it up. Lime green is good too. The green gives things a creepy glow. It is great. We are featuring a lot of skeleton bride and grooms this year. In fact, we are already almost sold out. I wonder why? Maybe, because of all those wedding TV shows featuring a bridezilla. I am surprised that we do not have a bridezilla skeleton. Godzilla has needed a partner for many moons. That would be great!!

We sell a lot of witch’s hats, headbands and masks. I never seem to match the customer with the right hat. I think it is that super hero costume again. I watch time and time again a demure quiet person pick the most flamboyant hat. It really is wonderful to watch their expressions, the glow on their faces, the years fall away. Once again, they are 10 years old and picking their costume for trick and treating. All that is missing is the candy corn. Too early. Happy Halloween.

 

Just Buried and Flying High