Things You'll Need
3 or more shoeboxes with lids
Newspaper or old plastic tablecloth
Black acrylic paint
Macaroni, thick spaghetti or linguine
Pot of water
Large grapes or cherry tomatoes
Halloween feelie boxes add shrieks of delight and disgust to a party, gathering or trick-or-treat night. Inside each secret feelie box is a food item, which, to the imaginative, feels like something gross, such as peeled grapes or cherry tomatoes masquerading as eyeballs. Keep the box contents out of sight to ensure each guest gets a surprise when she sticks her hand through the opening in the box lid.
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Step 1: Cut the Box
Cut a round or oblong hand-sized hole in the middle of each shoebox lid using a craft knife, keeping the lid on the box to make it easier to cut. Poke the tip of the knife through in one area to get started, then begin cutting. Test the hole size with your hand to ensure your entire hand or at least all your fingers fit through. Keep the hole as small as possible to help prevent your guests from peeking at the box's contents.
Step 2: Paint the Box
Set each box and lid atop newspaper or an old plastic tablecloth. Paint each box and lid black, separately, using acrylic craft paint and a paintbrush. Once the paint dries, after an hour or so, paint the inside of each box and the underside of each lid, allowing them to dry as well.
Step 3: Cook a Macaroni "Brain"
Cook a handful of macaroni, spaghetti or linguine in a pot of water until the pasta is still a tad firm, such as 8 minutes of cooking time if the package instructions recommend 10. Drain the pasta in a strainer over the sink, then place the pasta in a bowl so the noodles mound up a bit. Place the pasta in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or longer. As the pasta cools, it clumps together, creating a faux brain formation.
Step 4: Peel Some Grape "Eyeballs"
Set eight to 12 peeled grapes or cherry tomatoes in a small, shallow bowl. If you'd rather not peel the grapes, drizzle a few drops of cooking oil over them, then roll the grapes around to coat them with oil and make them slimy. Peeled grapes or slimy grapes serve as fake eyeballs.
Step 5: Make String-Cheese "Severed Fingers"
Cut several sticks of string cheese into finger shapes, creating two faux fingers out of each stick. Round one end to form the fingertip, leaving the other end straight. Pick at the straight end to separate the cheese strings slightly, as if the finger is severed. Carve knuckle ridges or fingernail shapes onto the string fingers for added effect.
Step 6: Fill the Box
Place the bowls of faux eyeballs and brains in their own boxes. Set the cheese fingers in the bottom of another box; the bowl is optional. Place the lids on each box.
Step 7: Enjoy the Fun!
Encourage your guests to stick their hands into each box and guess what is inside. Optionally, label the boxes with stick-on labels and words such as "alien eyeballs," "pickled brains" and "severed fingers."
Plastic shoebox-sized containers with lids may be used in place of cardboard boxes; paint the boxes with black plastic spray paint in a well-ventilated area first to ensure no one sees through the plastic.
For more than three feelie boxes, add a few more options: baby gherkins as goblin toes, candy corn or carrot sticks cut small as monster teeth, and a bowl of cooking oil with random bits of peas, onions or oatmeal in it as dragon guts. Pumpkin innards may also be used as guts if you've carved a pumpkin the same day.
Ensure guests have a place nearby to wash or wipe off their hands after touching the feelie box contents.
If a child seems truly scared about the contents of the feelie boxes, tell her the items inside are pretend and are really made from food. If that doesn't ease her fears, show her what's in the boxes.