How to make a chocolate canister/bucket filled with Halloween treats.

Handcrafted chocolate canister filled with Halloween decorated pretzels.

A few years ago I had a client that was looking for a gift to give their customers that would really stand out from all of the other gifts that come streaming into an office at the holidays. When I walked in to my pitch meeting with a box filled with a variety of handmade chocolate gifts and pulled out a handcrafted chocolate bucket filled with white chocolate popcorn, they stopped me and said “we’ll take those.” They were sure that no one they were sending these to would have ever seen anything like it before and they were thrilled to be able to customize each bucket with an edible image that incorporated their logo. My new creation was a big hit with the client and an even bigger hit with their customers. Never before had my client received so many thank you cards and phone calls from gift recipients.

I also got a lot of phone calls with more holiday orders. I had promised my client that I wouldn’t offer anyone else the buckets during that holiday season, but one customer really wanted them. As a compromise, I created smaller versions filled with chocolate pretzels, which they loved. In the past five years, I’ve made these chocolate containers in many sizes and filled them with lots of different types of chocolates and candies.
For my latest giveaway, I wanted to share a Halloween version of this fun gift with one lucky reader (click here if you’d like to enter this giveaway.) I also thought you might like to know how I make the chocolate containers. Before I begin, let me just say that this isn’t really a complete step-by-step tutorial as are most of my blog posts. I found it hugely challenging to capture this project in pictures. There are times when taking pictures of each step is just impossible – I need a third hand or at least another person to take the pictures, but I usually work on recipes while my husband is at work. So, what I have to offer here is the best I could do alone. This is really a project that would be easier to explain in a video, and someday when I learn to edit videos I’ll create one. If you’d like to try your hand at making these, you’ll need a pretty good working knowledge of chocolate and the recipe for modeling chocolate so read my tutorial on all things chocolate.

Handmade Dark Chocolate Canister decorated for Halloween
melted and tempered semi-sweet chocolate (I used about 2 pounds)
white modeling chocolate (I used 1/4 recipe of white chocolate)
dark modeling chocolate (or add black food coloring to a small amount of the white)
powdered sugar to dust work surface
Special equipment needed:
a plastic canister with very smooth sides (if it has a lip it is difficult to remove the chocolate)
parchment paper
offset spatula
rolling pin
pasta/pizza wheel, cookie cutters (ghost, mini round, and alphabet) or knife to create decorations
# 12 round pastry tip to create the pupils
Completely fill your canister with tempered chocolate. Let the canister sit, filled, at room temperature for 15-20 minutes (depending on how thick your tempered chocolate is, will determine how long you should leave it sit.) Turn the canister upside down allowing chocolate to flow out, leaving behind a nice thick coating of chocolate all around the sides and bottom of the canister. Set a piece of parchment paper on your work surface. Set a rectangle (or oval) plastic container (like Rubbermaid) on the parchment. You want the top edges of the canister to be able to sit on the top edges of the plastic container so the chocolate can drip off. Set the canister upside down on the container. Allow any excess chocolate to drip out of the canister for about 5 minutes. Alternately, you could set the canister upside down on a cooling rack.
O.K. here is where I needed a third hand, with the canister upside down, use an offset spatula to scrape around the edge removing any excess chocolate. If the chocolate is still liquid, return it to the container it was sitting on, and allow more excess chocolate to drip out. Scrape around the edge once the chocolate has begun to harden. Set it upside down on a sheet of parchment paper in your refrigerator until set. My plastic canister is clear which makes it easy to tell when the chocolate is set. As it sets it will retract from the sides of the canister in sections and you will notice a change of color on the outside of the clear canister. Dark spots indicate the chocolate is still wet. Once completely set, gently pull the chocolate out of the canister. It should slide right out (if your chocolate was not properly tempered, however, it wont.) Allow it to come to room temperature before decorating.

Dust your work surface with powdered sugar. I fill a tea/spice bag with powdered sugar and tap it on the counter to get a nice light dusting. Use a rolling pin to roll out your modeling chocolate to 1/16th of an inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter or knife to cut out a ghost shape, being sure to make it about an inch shorter than your canister.

Use a 1/2″ round cookie cutter to make the outline of the ghost’s eyes. Gently press the cutter about halfway into the ghost shaped cut out, being sure not to cut all the way through. To create the pupils roll out a small amount of dark modeling chocolate and cut out circles using the top of a #12 pastry tip.  Attach the pupils to the ghost with a small dab of water.

For the borders, use a pasta/pizza wheel to cut out 1/4″ wide strips long enough to wrap around the canister. Cut out the word “boo” using alphabet cutters.

Use melted chocolate to glue decorations onto the chocolate canister. For the border, I paint a very thin line of chocolate all along a strip of modeling chocolate and wrap the strip around the chocolate canister, cutting it to the right length and pressing the seams together. If you paint on too much melted chocolate it will ooze out around your decorations, so apply the chocolate sparingly.

Fill your canister with candy, chocolate, nuts, etc. I dipped pretzel rods in milk chocolate and covered them with Halloween sprinkles. I often times will sprinkle the chocolate dipped pretzels in chopped nuts, toffee bits, toasted coconut, malted milk bits, etc.

If you make a large canister you can fill it with white chocolate popcorn. If you’d like the recipe click on this link. For Halloween drizzle the popcorn with black and orange colored chocolate or add Reese’s Pieces or Halloween M&M’s for color.

This is a chocolate bucket I made to give as a prize for one of our Halloween parties a few years ago. I sponged melted chocolate over the outside of the bucket so that I could easily stick some edible images of classic monster movies onto it. I filled the bucket with white chocolate popcorn drizzled with dark chocolate and some orange colored white chocolate.

This is a chocolate bucket I created to give as a thank you gift to Sara Moulton. I was fortunate enough several years ago to take a cooking class from her while she was on her latest book signing tour. She has been one of the most influential teachers (live and on television) that I’ve had over the years. I use her recipes all the time and the techniques she has taught me have been invaluable in the kitchen. I wanted to let her know what an inspiration she had been to me, so I created this bucket and presented it to her. I used a Cricket Cake machine to cut out all of the decorations. I just loved how it turned out and Sarah was delighted to receive it. She was so generous to me – she even wrote a wonderful review of my book on her website. I am so grateful to have met her and to have had her as a teacher.

If you like this recipe, please share it with others by using the share buttons below. I really appreciate being Stumbled Upon and Pinned, and am always grateful to those of you that share my ideas on your website. I do request that you don’t post my entire tutorial, but rather share a picture with a link. If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to send me a photo to [email protected] so that I can share it here. Thank you for visiting Hungry Happenings
– Beth


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Thanks for sharing!


  1. says

    Thanks for stopping by my spiderrific cupcakes!

    I wished I lived near Kentucky so I could witness first hand your amazing creations- how wonderful and fun your parties must be!

    And these canisters- amazing!

  2. Anonymous says

    I haven't had a chance to search modleing chocolate yet but wanted to ask this…I want to make an owl shape cout out to sit on top of a cup of snack mix for an owl themed baby shower. Would this modeling chocolate cutout stand up when set? Or possibly could I melt candy melts and when firm cut the shape out then? What I've seen was probably made of fondant and laid flat on top of a cupcake but so cute and appropriate for theme of shower. Help! Thanks, Ann

  3. says

    HI Ann,

    Yes, if you let the modeling chocolate owl set up and harden it will sit up on top of a cup of snack mix. The dark modeling chocolate will harden a bit more than the white or milk, but even the white will dry enough to become stiff. Modeling chocolate is very similar in texture to fondant, but I believe it dries harder than fondant. Both can easily be eaten once hard. The modeling chocolate will be much like a Tootsie Roll.

    If you have any problems or questions just let me know. I'll be happy to help.

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