I’ve been chomping at the bit to start posting about Halloween. It is by far one of my most favorite holidays and I probably have more energy for it also because it’s first of the holiday season.
This post is a bit of a departure and I have vacillated over a few ideas for October posts feeling they don’t fall exactly in my blog’s culinary ‘P.O.V.’ (for watchers of The Next Food Network Star), or point of view. This item is not exactly food but one could say that of many of the mainstream munchables in October. This is a family tradition in my household and a beloved Trick-or-Treat item in our neighborhood so I wanted to share it!
About 11 years ago when I was living in Arlington Virginia, enjoying a wonderful piles-of-leaves-to-jump-in fall, a friend from California sent me my first wreath. She’d made them with her sister and since I’d recently moved completely across the U.S. with my husband and relatively young baby she wanted me to know she was thinking of me. I simply loved it. The festive air it brought to my front door, the uniqueness of it and most of all pulling out the fabric wrapped pops for unexpected treats.
I have continued to make a wreath now yearly. Even in the years that I feel overwrought with obligations. I’ve fine tuned the design a bit and have learned some tricks. For me it signals the kick off of the Halloween month but more so I love the wonder in the Trick-or-Treater’s faces when I pull a pop out of the wreath as their treat. I suppose because they assume it to be décor only, to see it transform into a treat is magical. Boys in their early teens especially love it (go figure). I’ve had ghouls and goblins return annually and comment anonymously behind their masks that they had so hoped I would make the wreath again that year. And I’m not making any of this up!
So just in case you are feeling in the mood and need a reminder that I’m thinking of YOU this Halloween season, I’m sharing the steps to make a Halloween Treat Wreath! It’s a fun surprise and my kids are old enough to help out as most kids will be able unless they are teeny tiny. Trust me, you’ll love it.
This wreath can be made to any size straw wreath form as well as packed densely with pops or loosely. I’ll provide guidance to make a wreath that is the same size as I have shown in the photographs.
- 18 inch diameter straw wreath (available from craft and hobby stores)
- Approximately 150 lollipops (I use Tootsie Pops)
- 5 yards of 45 inch wide Halloween fabric in varying patterns (I use at least 5 varied patterns; as a guide 30 circles of fabric can be cut from 1-45 inch wide yard. Tip: Generally smaller patterns work better in my view. Adding some metallic fabric catches light and looks sparkly. Glow in the dark patterns are fun too!)
- 6 ¼ inch diameter circle cut from cardboard for the tracing stencil (I used an appetizer size plate turned upside down to make the circle)
- Sharpie pen
- 50 – 12 inch black pipe cleaners (will be cut into thirds)
- Pinking shears
- Floral wire
- Roll (s) of 2 ½ inch Halloween ribbon for bow, preferably with wired edges (can use more than one pattern for a double bow)
- Philips screw driver
- Floral wreath hanger (black; available at craft and hobby stores)
3. Cutting out Fabric Circles
You can generally fold the fabric and cut through about 4 layers at once which saves a bit of time over cutting each circle separately.
4. Cutting Pipe cleaners
Cut 12 inch pipe cleaners in thirds, making 4 inch lengths.
5. /6. Wrapping Lollipops
Place the pop in the middle of a fabric circle. Pull fabric tightly around the head of the pop and hold underneath the pop. Twist a pipe cleaner snugly underneath the pop to secure the fabric. Make 1-2 more twists to hold securely.
7. Making holes in the wreath
Remove the plastic overwrap from straw wreath being careful NOT to cut the nylon thread that holds the wreath intact (it is see through so doing this in good light will help). Trying to stick lollipops in a new wreath often bends and breaks the sticks. Holding the screwdriver at a 45 degree angle (so the stick of the pop will not protrude through the backside which happens if they are stuck straight in) poke holes into the wreath but not through to the underside (sticks will be concealed within wreath). Leave approximately 4 inches at the top of the wreath without holes which is where the hanger and bow will be.
You will experience some resistance so be careful to keep hands out of the path of the screwdriver (this is an adult activity)! You can interleave this with the next step of inserting the lollipops so you find the spacing you desire. I like the pops snug together so the wreath looks like a mass of Halloween balls. Some like to leave space between, and fluff out the bottom of the fabric so they look like little ghosts.
8. Insert the lollipops into the wreath
Follow the angle of the holes and insert the lollipops to cover the front of the wreath, wrapping in toward the center and out toward the back. None of the straw will be showing from the front with this amount of lollipops. You can add more to completely cover the sides and middle if you choose.
9. Making floral wire hanger
Using floral wire, wrap a length around the top of the wreath multiple times and form a hanger from a few strands of the wire on the back. The wreath will be heavy with all the lollipops inserted so this will need to be sturdy. Once you’ve made the hanger, test it by hanging it on the wreath hanger to ensure the wire will stay secure before making the decorative bow.
10. Making the bow
Consider how large a bow you would prefer and how long you would like the tails of the bow. Allowing for at least 1 ½ times that length, cut one-two lengths or ribbon (depending on whether you will make a single or double ribbon bow). Find the middle of the length of ribbon and place that at the back of the hanger. Wrap the ribbon around the wreath on either side of the hanger, allowing ends of ribbon to end in the front. Tie a bow and fluff the ribbon as you choose. NOTE: You can also construct a floral bow and attach it to the front of the wreath if you prefer.
Hang it for decoration for the season and then hand the lollipops out for Halloween! The wreath can be reused the following year and until it begins to break down. If using wreath again skip step 7 and just insert the lollipops into the holes from the prior year.