This is a post I originally published in 2012; while we were at the height of greeting this year’s batch of Trick Or Treaters, I thought that it would be a good idea to update it… Granted, I should’ve had this idea BEFORE Halloween, but maybe this will inspire someone to lay the groundwork for next year…
For about 10 years we’ve given out baseball cards at Halloween, along with the candy. It’s become a fun tradition, and I thought I’d share it with everybody just in case I can inspire someone else to spread the hobby a tiny little bit.
I can’t take credit for this idea; I was inspired by an article in Sports Collectors Digest a number of years ago, and it pretty much covered the same things I’m going to show you here. I think I may have saved the article, but Lord knows where it is.
The general gist of this is that I take unwanted recent cards – often they’re doubles from busting packs, sometimes they’re cards from repacks – break them down into stacks of 20-30 cards each, wrap each stack in clingy food wrap (he said, avoiding the brand name), and put them in our Halloween bowl along with the usual candy.
We make sure that we tell the kids that they can take both cards and candy, because some of them are too quiet or polite to take more than one thing.
I have to say, this has worked out really well. The kids get excited about it, they enjoy getting something different, they get some pretty decent cards, and we’ve found that the kids do remember us from year to year.
…and I get unwanted cards out of the house.
Here’s how I go about making my homemade “repacks”…
Every time I get recent base cards and low-end inserts which I don’t want, I put them into a “Halloween box”, and in late October I go to this box to make my packs. Since I’ve been doing this for a while, i usually have “carryover” cards from previous years, but I always pull out the cards that are more than 4 or 5 years old… So don’t fear, I’m not using this as a away to unleash 1988 Donruss cards on unsuspecting children. I like to think the selection of cards is pretty good… Nobody’s going to run home and sell their cards on eBay, but If you bought one of my packs at a dollar store, you’d be pretty pleased.
My general objective in putting these together is to get something good in every pack, and to spread cards out evenly among packs, so that we don’t get one kid who gets a pack full of 2011 Lineage Padres and another kid who gets a pack full of stars.
Side note: These images are all from the original 2012 post, so the actual cards given away are, for the most part, more recent than these.
So, the first step is to sort the cards into stacks by set sets…
…this allows me to distribute the cards more evenly between packs. While I’m sorting cards into sets, I pull out two kinds of cards: One kind is the managers, team photos and other cards that kids generally wouldn’t be interested in. I also pull out the recent cards for “vintage” players. Your average Trick-Or-Treater is not going to care about Sandy Koufax or Mickey Mantle. Hell, I’m 50 and I don’t want recent cards of Sandy Koufax or Mickey Mantle.
Another kind of card I pull out of the initial sort is the big names that any casual baseball fan is going to recognize… Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw, Miguel Cabrera, and so on. I pull these out so that I can make sure that each repack has at least one superstar.
Now that I’ve got all these stacks, I make a rough guess as to how many packs I’ll end up with (this year it was 40) and start dividing each stack into smaller stacks. This is done so that cards from each year/brand (i.e. 2015 Topps, 2014 Heritage, etc.) are fairly equally distributed between packs.
Just to make sure I’m not inadvertently “Bipping” some 6 year old, I’ll thumb through each stack, looking for excessive duplicates of particular players or teams. Here are the cards which was in one of my packs (again, the image is from 2012):
…folding the two sides over, and sealing the deal with tape.
The original SCD article I read used an old clothes iron to seal the plastic wrap, but we’ve only got one iron that is used for the occasional wedding and job interview, and I don’t want to screw that one up. I use cellophane tape to close the packs; it works well enough and I don’t think the kids care.
The end result looks like this.
2015 note: This method has worked well enough, but this year I didn’t get a chance to wrap the packs until Halloween afternoon, and while I’m hurriedly ripping off pieces of wrap and wondering if I have enough scotch tape to get the job done, I’m thinking to myself “Team bags… shell out a few bucks for some team bags…”
As I’d mentioned, we’ve been doing this for something like 10 years now. It’s interesting, because you’d think that just the boys would go for the cards, and generally speaking that’s the case, but we also get a fair number of girls taking them… In some cases, I think they just like the fact that it’s something different.
My reward for the evening is when a kid walks back down the driveway and excitedly tells the waiting parents “They’re giving away baseball cards!”
Sometimes we get a kid who asks if we have any cards of a certain team, so I started keeping a handful of loose cards for teams that are locally or nationally popular.
This year I made up 40 packs, and ended up giving away 39… That’s 1,170 cards distributed among the youth of my neighborhood.
So, there you go… It’s a “win” for everybody – the kids get something fun along with the candy, I get cards out of my house, and maybe, maybe, maybe I’ll get some kid interested in collecting.