Surprise! It’s a ball of streamers with little treasures tucked in here and there. And kids LOVE them.
When I was a wee lass, my mom would command my dad to bring home surprise balls from FAO Shwartz when he went to NYC on business trips. She would then save them until Christmas, and my sister and I would tear into them with relish, leaving an enormous pile of streamer-puff all over the floor.
Just think about how much cheap crap is out there, basically begging to be tucked into surprise balls. And Halloween is the perfect time for these because it’s all about mystery and fun creatures and well, tiny pieces of candy.
Making a Surprise Ball:
Grab your main prize, something a little bigger and less flat than the rest of your items, and start rolling streamer around it. I used a squishy lizard for mine because he’s cute and tuckable.
Keep stashing little items in every once in a while. Put in as many as you like, and as you roll you can strategically place items where you need them to sort of ’round out’ the ball.
More Tips for rolling:
Tear off a long piece of streamer and stand up and let the streamer hang down while you roll it. If you try to roll directly from the streamer pack, everything will get majorly twisted and you will fly into a Halloween rage and probably turn into a goblin.
Alternate streamer colors for maximum fun. Our pumpkin has a white core, but you could even go rainbow-crazy with colors.
When your ball gets a little lumpy as you roll, you can (gently) squeeze it into a more round shape before you add your next layer. If it’s extremely lop-sided, wad up some streamer and tuck it in to a flat part to round it out before wrapping more streamer around.
Making The Characters:
Choosing for Halloween was pretty easy, as there are a zillion different characters to choose from. I made a mummy (or is it a ghost?), a black cat, and a Jack O’lantern. Think witches, goblins, superheroes, princesses, werewolves, bats, gerbils. (What?)
I clipped shapes for ears and such straight from streamer rolls. You can fold a piece of streamer in half when you cut out a shape if you want double-thickness.
Bonus tip: Keep these suckers a secret from your kids until you present them, or they will ask when they can unwrap them every hour on the hour.
Buying the treasures to fill the surprise balls is half the fun. Try not to get anything extremely lumpy for obvious reasons. Here’s a list of ideas in case your brain goes a little blank sometimes:
- Temporary tattoos
- Foam Halloween shapes
- Candy packets
- Glow bracelets or rings (activate them if you will be giving your kids the surprise balls very soon after you make them.)
- Spider rings
- Vampire teeth
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