Eye On You Halloween Treat Bag

A zillion years ago, I made a shirt for my then toddler son, featuring the Pigeon character from the Mo Willem series of the same name—with a giant, removable googley eye. This year, in a desperate attempt to finish my son’s Halloween costume, I was reminded of it and decided to apply the same technique to a treat bag for him (alas, still working to finish his actual costume). It took about 10 minutes, start to finish using a pre-made canvas tote. With a matching applique underneath, the googley eye itself is removable and can be popped in or out depending on mood and occasion. Let’s dive in!

An animated flat lay scene featuring a purple tote bag with a giant googley eye that shifts position every two seconds. Surrounding the bag are paper bats and a few pumpkins.
Materials to Sew the Eye On You Halloween Treat Bag

  • Canvas tote bag (make your own or used a pre-made one, shown here from Michaels)
  • Large, 6-inch “wiggly eye” (also picked up from Michaels)
  • Enough black rib knit for a piece measuring 2″ x 14″
  • Scraps of white and black fabric for the underlying appliqué
  • Pins / Rotary Cutter / Cutting Mat / Ruler / thread / Removable marking pen
  • Heat ‘n Bond (optional) or glue stick (optional)

Materials to sew the Eye on You Treat Bag: Pre-made tote (purple), large, 6-inch googley eye, scraps of both black and white fabric for matching appliqué, coordinating thread.

Steps for Sewing the Eye on You Halloween Treat Bag

Again, this works up super quickly, especially with a pre-made tote. So even if you’re super behind and don’t have much time—you can do this!

Step 1: Trace and Cut The Eye Appliqué Pieces

Using your removable marking pen, trace the gooogley eye onto your scrap of white fabric and cut out. Next, draw a 3″ circle on black fabric (or trace something similar in size), and cut out. You should now have a white eye ball piece and a smaller, black pupil piece.

The result of tracing the googley eye onto white canvas for applique.

Step 2: Appliqué the Pieces onto the Treat Bag

Position the white eyeball piece in the center of the bag, slightly raised. Pin in place, attach with Heat n’ Bond, or stick down using a water-soluble glue stick. Stitch around the edge with 1/8″ seam allowance.

Next, position the pupil in the desired position, stick down using your method of choice, then stitch in place again with 1/8″ seam allowance.

The bag after appliquéing the eye.

Step 3: Cut and Prep the Ribbing

Measure a piece of ribbing that’s 2″ tall and 14″ wide (make sure the ribbing lines run parallel to the short side). Fold in half, bringing the two short sides together and stitch closed using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

Illustration showing to cut a piece of ribbing 14 inches across, and 2 inches tall, with the line pattern running parallel to the short side.

Step 4: Pin In Place and Attach the Ribbing

Turn the seam to the inside, fold in half length-wise, and use pins to divide the ribbing into fourths. Position on the tote bag with the open-edge facing inward, aligned just to the outside of the white appliqué circle. (The folded edge should be facing way from the eye at this point. We’ll flip it inward after sewing it down.)

One by one, use the pins to attach the ribbing to the tote bag (being careful to pin only the top layer of the bag) at the center top, center bottom, and center sides.

With a 1/4-inch seam allowance, stitch along the inside edge to close the open edge of the ribbing while attaching it to the tote bag. (Again, be careful not to sew the tote bag closed.)

When finished, flip the folded edge of the ribbing to the inside and press with a hot iron.

Illustration showing how to pin the ribbing to the eye on the tote bag, divided into quarters, open edge facing to the inside.

Step 5: Insert the Googley Eye (and Go Get Some Candy!)

The googley eye should slide snugly inside, with the ribbing holding it in place. That’s it! Your Eye on You Halloween Treat Bag is finished and your little monster is ready for all the candy they can carry!

Image showing how to insert the googley eye into the socket made with ribbing.

An animated flat lay scene featuring a purple tote bag with a giant googley eye that shifts position every two seconds. Surrounding the bag are paper bats and a few pumpkins.

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