Halloween is one of my favorite times to send out a college care package.  As freshmen my kids were still missing home in October and care packages eased the nostalgic sadness for both parent and child a bit.  As they get older, they may not miss home as much, but they certainly miss the care packages if you slack off.  

It’s just such a personal and caring way to keep the connection strong.  Aside from the timing however, Halloween packages are a lot of fun.  You can include goofy items without too much fear of embarrassing your students in front of their friends.

Halloween college care package for the boy
Halloween college care package for the boy
Halloween College Care Package for the Girl - 2013
Halloween College Care Package for the Girl

 Fall Breads that Ship Well (and taste good)

Loaf of Pumpkin Amaretto bread ready for shipping
Loaf of Pumpkin Amaretto bread ready for shipping

Fall is also a great time to bake those quick breads that ship so easily.  Fall flavors of pumpkins and apples are perfect foils for easy breads that the kids love to snack on for breakfast or during midterms.  

I included a Pumpkin Amaretto Bread in my son’s package and a Chocolate Espresso Bread in my daughter’s.  Both breads were quite wonderful (always make a small tasting loaf for yourself), and they are moist enough that they will not be stale when they arrive at the colleges.  

Loaf of chocolate espresso quick bread
Loaf of chocolate espresso quick bread

Just make sure and wrap them well for shipping.  I wrapped the bread tightly in saran wrap first, making sure there were no gaps where air would get in.  I then wrapped the bread loaf in aluminum foil and placed it in a cookie tin so it would not get squashed.  

Use Halloween candy as packing peanuts placed in any gaps in the tin so the bread does not move around.  My daughter gets her packages in two days shipped USPS.  My son’s school however is not very efficient in the mail department, and although the package arrives in 2 days, they often do not get it to him for 4 days.  He says the breads are still moist and delicious!

Categories for Thoughtful Care Packages:

It is much easier to put together a thoughtful care package if you think in terms of “categories”, and then find things specific to your student’s personality that fit in the categories.  Here is my list of categories and what I included in their packages this year:

Food:  All kids love food, and if it is food that you make specifically for them, it seems to be so much more appreciated than the packaged snacks sent out by the college in purchased care packages.  The best is to send favorite foods that they cannot always get at school, but shipping different foods can be a problem.  I’ll be working on that in future packages.  Of course, Halloween packages must include some of that packaged candy…and make sure to include enough for sharing and trading

Mom (or Dad)-Love:  I always include a card with a handwritten sentiment that is relevant to something they have recently experienced.  I generally opt for a congratulations card, noting something in their life that makes me proud of them.  In this case, I went with Halloween cards and found one that had the bulldog on the front, which is the mascot of my son’s school.  Perfect.

Light reading:  College kids read a lot of fairly heavy material.  Fashion, pop-culture or sports magazines are a welcome diversion.

Money:  Always appreciated.  Change up the amounts so nothing is expected.  Include a roll of quarters if they have to do laundry.

Hygiene:  Students hate to spend money on things that were a given part of life back at home.  It just seems wrong to them that they spend their own money on something as mundane as toothpaste.  My son loves crest white strips, but they are expensive so I usually include them.  Daughter usually gets makeup.

Vitamins & Medicine:  Another item they hate to spend money on.  Most kids get sick somewhere along the line and some cold medicine is something that comes in handy to have on hand.  Rarely will they go out and buy medicine, but it can really help them over the hump and get them through classes.

Seasonal:  Halloween is pretty easy here.  I don’t know if they will dress up this year, but I included some fun costuming materials that they might use if they get stuck.  Also included a few window gels to decorate their dorm room windows.

That’s all for this Halloween season.

Do you have any favorite resources that you go to for college care packages?  Please share if you do.  Also, any ideas of how to get packages to my son in the two day window and avoid having them languish at the college postal area?

I’d love to hear if you do!

4 Comments

  1. Lauren on August 28, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Hi, I love your care package posts! My oldest daughter and my oldest son went away to college this year and I am wondering what is an economical way to send care packages to them….USPS? UPS? If you have any advice, I would love to hear it!

    • dorothy stainbrook on August 28, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      Hi Lauren, I find USPS flat rate to be the most economical (and actually the most reliable also). Their boxes are free and you can put as much weight in them as you can fit for the same rate. I think it is $12.35 for a medium and $16 for a large. They generally get there in 2 days consistently. Thanks for your comment.

  2. […] love and send it with the rest of their swag bag (if you want to see the rest of her care package click here).  Please comment with any tips you might have on shipping food.  It is a work in progress for […]

  3. […] There you have it.  I might add a bit more Amaretto next time, but then I really like Amaretto.  Interchange the nuts as you wish (almonds might be good), or leave them out all together.  Make sure and make a small “tasting” loaf for yourself as you make it.  If you want to see the rest of the swag that went into the boy’s Halloween Care Package, click here. […]

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