I think you know your goodie bags were a hit when they get numerous facebook status mentions. I heard all about how they were "calling to" guests all night after the party, and I certainly did my best to fatten everyone up. Here's the whole story:
I love goodie bags, I have to have them. It's just not a party if you don't take some of it home! But I also have a lot of friends who don't appreciate "JUNK" like I do, so this year I settled on a compromise: a goodie bag filled with homemade treats!
I started with long white gloss boxes which I purchased at a local cake supply store. They were $0.45 each and came flat, and they were food safe. One evening I sat down and folded them all and taped the bottoms with clear packaging tape while I was watching TV. I bought red foil (in the tissue paper aisle at Michael's) and cut it down to line the boxes and give a bright background when the boxes were opened.
For the top of the boxes I found these amazing cards by the Philosopher's guild, which I had been gifted a while back and never opened.
The images were a perfect size for the front of the boxes (some went off the side a little), so I color copied all four (x 10 each) and painstakingly cut around them free hand, leaving a little white border:
Then I used ordinary glue sticks to affix them to the tops of each box - and occasionally down the (non opening) side. It was time consuming, but it turned out GREAT.
Then came the actual GOODIES! I got a candy mold from the same cake supply store in the shape of chess pieces, and made red candy chess pieces out of Wilton Candy Melts. I packaged a set of 2 (various pieces) in a clear plastic box which I got in the party favor aisle at Michaels. I used my 40% off coupon to get a set of 50 for around $12, or $0.24 each. I think they looked classy, but I wouldn't do it again. The plastic boxes were hard to put together, and at least 3-4 of them were wrecked when I was folding and a piece snapped along the fold line instead of folding nicely. Nobody would have cared if they were floating loose in the box, so I'd save the $$ and skip the extra packaging. But they did look cute:
Chocolate/candy molding is easy but time consuming if you're re-using the same mold - I only bought one and ended up getting another when I was way behind and losing time. Next time I'll get 2-4 molds up front and just save the hassle - get it done in fewer batches.
Then I made my famous peanut butter balls - these seriously make people melt. I've used them to bribe kids I coach even. They hold powers. :) Each goodie bag had 6 of them, sitting in little mini muffin liners, and I made more to serve at the party. I should keep it a secret so I have some signature recipe, but I'm such a giver, I shared it with you all here.
I also made four varieties of chocolate dipped pretzel rods - plain chocolate, and then rolled in walnuts, sprinkles shaped like bones, and multi colored jimmies. These are actually my favorite, I love the salty & sweet combo.
Three S'mores on a stick, which are a marshmallow on a lollipop stick dipped in chocolate and rolled in graham cracker crumbs. These are super awesome as well, when the marshmallow gets dipped it goes all creamy and luscious. YUM!
Here's a picture of all the chocolate dipped goodies as I was cranking them out - I ran out of room, despite hauling down a huge banquet table into my tiny kitchen!
New this year I also dipped STRAWBERRY marshmallows, just to see how that came out. I put them on the same paper sticks and dipped in the same chocolate, but skipped the graham crackers. The strawberry marshmallows were less sticky and mushed in the bags, so they look much better as far as presentation. I only made 1 extra, which my husband said was great (I didn't get a bite). Haven't heard from anyone else who tried them yet.
1 molded candy lollipop - same story as the chess pieces, I used a heart sucker mold, did a layer of red candy melts (vanilla flavored) then a layer of chocolate, and wrapped them in a little plastic bag. This fit with my "queen of hearts" theme.
I threw in two store bought chocolates that I just thought were cute - the foil wrapper looked like vampire lips with big fangs.
All that pretty much filled up the boxes! Here's a peek before I sealed them up:
I closed the lid, tied them with cotton ribbon (black or red, depending on the character), added a little gift tag that said "EAT ME" in large letters, and then the Alice quote "Something interesting is certain to happen whenever I eat something here..." in smaller letters - again, using the Beyond Wonderland font I downloaded for free at the start of this whole thing. I made up the cards using the labels feature in Microsoft Word, I used a template for a large mailing label but printed them on regular cardstock and cut them out.
The final touch was a handmade mushroom keychain, which I commissioned on Etsy with seller Kyoto Song. I actually put in a request through the "Alchemy" feature which lets you request a particular item and have various artists "bid" on how they can answer your request - Kyoto Song proposed these gorgeous little mushroom keychains, hand made them to my specifications (I knew I wanted white "stems" and white "spots" but various color "caps") and she was just amazing. She was a great communicator and started making them the same day, so I had them in my hands in the same week. She charged me $1 each, which for a custom bauble I thought was great.
I didn't add up the cost of all the goodies I made, I think I'd be aghast so let's skip that :) Instead, let's focus on how cute the final project was:
I love them! Who wouldn't love to get one of these little goodie boxes when leaving a party? All of my guests were very appreciative, and I think it really tipped the scales as far as being a thoughtful host and making everyone feel welcome. A few have cursed me for the calories, but that's usually while they have a mouth full of chocolate :) Here's another shot to leave you with: