DIY: May Day Treats


Did any of you celebrate May Day as a child? I don't remember doing it regularly, but I know there were several years where we made little baskets out of construction paper, filled them with treats, left them on the neighbors doorsteps, rang the bell, and ran away before they could detect who left the little surprise on the first day of May. May Day has a long established history, which I won't go into (if you'd like to learn more, Wikipedia has a great deal of information on the holiday), and though it's roots are in pagan festivals, I've always loved this tradition of surprising your neighbors with a little anonymous treat!

For this DIY, I kept things simple. Though you may not have the exact supplies I'm using- the basic concept can be adapted for pretty much anything you have on hand. This is also an easy project, so it's a good one to get the kids involved with! Let's get started.

For the paper cone (or Tussy Mussy, to use the fancier, vintage term) you'll need:

Heavier 8.5"x11" paper (use whatever you like or have on hand. I used this paper in 'paper bag').
Washi tape (again, use what you like- I picked summery colors/patterns).
Twine, cord, yarn, ribbon, or wire (any of these will work).
Hole punch in a small diameter

With the sheet of paper oriented with the long side facing you, work the bottom right corner to curl it slightly.

Starting with the bottom left corner, gently curl the left side of the paper towards the upper right corner.

Roll until you have a cone the shape and size you like. For small treats you'll want a tighter, more narrow cone. For larger items, it's best to keep the top opening as wide as possible.

Once your cone is shaped, tape the loose edge down with the washi tape- pressing firmly to make a good seam. Since I did larger sized treats, I made my opening wide, which left that hole at the bottom- no need to fix it- the large items won't fit through there.

To ensure your cone doesn't come apart, tape a 'seam' at the spot where the inside corner meets the back of the cone. You can do this with either washi tape, or Scotch tape- if you'd prefer the seam be less visible.

Now that your cone is assembled, punch two holes near the top and towards the back, about 1/2 an inch down. You don't have to be exact, just pick a spot where the hole is far enough from the edge to not rip the paper, and far enough back to keep the cone balanced once it's full.

Feed one end of your twine (or other material for hanging the cone) through one of the holes and tie a small knot to secure it. Repeat with the other side. You now have a complete cone, ready to be filled! Repeat until you have the number of cones you plan to deliver.

To fill the cones you'll need:

Fresh flowers
I used ranunculi, but if you plan to do multiple flower filled cones and want a less expensive flower, mini carnations in a single color are a great choice- they smell nice, are actually quite pretty when arranged well, and last a very long time).

Fruit, candies, small cookies, or any other treat you can think of.
I used strawberries because they're in season here in Cali, but small tangerines, kumquats, or other small fruits would be cute too. I didn't have time to bake anything so I picked out some all-natural fruit jellies from Trader Joe's. If you'd like to bake something any small cookies would work- I think Mexican Wedding Cakes or Macaroons would be charming and are the right size for the cone.

Disposable pastry bags cut to the size of your cones.
I used these for several purposes. With the flowers, I put water in the bag so the flowers stay fresh while they're waiting to be discovered. I put the berries inside one to keep them from bleeding through the paper. With the candies, I used a bag to keep the sugar coating from getting all over and attracting ants to the neighbors door. Depending on what you fill your cones with you may not need the bags.

A quick tip- while you're arranging your flowers in the pastry bag, set it inside a glass to keep your hands free.

The last part is easy- fill your cones with the treats you've selected, make a little tag out of whatever you have on hand (just don't put your name on it- the fun is leaving these anonymously), and deliver them on May 1st! Ringing the doorbell is optional, but it's best to leave these for people you know will be home within a few hours of leaving it- that way everything will be fresh and tasty.

My favorite thing about this project is how easily customizable it is- I made a few variations, but you are only limited by the supplies you have on hand. Be as creative as you like.

Do you have any May Day traditions? I'd love to hear about them!

All styling and photos by Danae Horst for Gather and Hunt