Recycling Trash Into Halloween Decorating Treasures

  • September 04, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

Monster Jars for HalloweenAfter you are finished eating another bowl of Count Chocula, draining yet another plastic milk jug, you might want to hold onto that jug and save it, because come Halloween time these empty milk jugs can help you to create a truly adorable (not to mention spooky) Halloween decoration that will help light the pathway to your door and really help get you into a Halloween spirit!  (Ya….ha…haaaaa)  The best part of this whole scenario is the chance to have some more super crafty Halloween fun with your kids; plus this is all super easy to do.  Here’s what you are going to need:

  • Several empty plastic milk jugs.
  • Black construction paper OR black permanent marker
  • String of 50 low-wattage holiday lights.  Clear colored lights work great and chances are you have some of these already that you use around Christmas time.  Halloween colored lights in orange, black and purple are a fun alternative to try as well.

Make sure your milk jugs are clean and dry.  Using a craft knife cut a small round hole (about a half-dollar size) in the back of the milk jugs.  Using the black construction paper or the black permanent marker, decorate the front side of the jug with a scary or silly ghost face.  Have fun with this!  If you need ideas, you can surf the Internet for Jack-o-Lantern carving patterns, which will give you lots of ideas and maybe even some cool templates!  Tip:  Put the faces on the same side of the jugs you are decorating so they will look consistent when you line them up.  I like to decorate the side opposite of the handle so when you set up your row of lights, the handles of the jugs are all in the back.  Leave the lids on the jugs while decorating so the jug doesn’t cave in.

When finished, line up the jugs, stringing the lights between the jugs, inserting several lights into the holes you’ve cut out of the back of the jugs.  Plug in the lights and when it’s dark outside, you will have an amazing pathway of ghostly lanterns that are both haunting and beautiful! 

That’s not all, crafty boys and ghouls.  Start saving your jars as well for another really cool Halloween craft idea called Monster Jars.  Here’s what you will need to create this really colorful and fun set of spooky jars.

  • Mod Podge (available at your local craft store)
  • Colored tissue paper
  • Glass or Plastic jars; clean and dry.
  • Acrylic Paint
  • String of low wattage lights

Milk Jug LightsTear your tissue paper into 1” strips approximately the same height as your jar.  You can cut the strips if you like the look of more uniform edges.  Brush Mod Podge onto the jar in small segments and lay the strips of tissue paper on top of where you’ve painted on the glue.  Gently smooth out the tissue paper being careful not to let it tear.  It may be wrinkly in some spots, smooth gently but a little ripple here or there is just fine and will smooth out a bit as it dries.  Continue to apply Mod Podge and tissue paper strips, overlapping the strips a little bit until the entire jar is covered in tissue paper. TIP:  Mod Podge is available in different finishes: matte, satin and gloss. Make sure if you want a shiny or glossy finish that you buy the correct type!

Using black construction paper cut out shapes and creates a monstrous face for the front of each of your jars.  Glue these shapes on using the Mod Podge.  Once you’ve given each Monster Jar a face, give each jar a nice final coating of Mod Podge to finish.  Let Dry. 

Using a hammer and nail or a drill, (with extreme caution) make a hole in each of the jar lids.  The hole will need to be large enough to eventually insert some of the string of lights into when you are finished painting your project. Using the acrylic paint, paint the lids of each of the jars a fun Halloween color. Green, grey, black or even purple works well, depending on what colors of tissue paper you have used.  Get creative!  Let each of your jars dry thoroughly.

String the lights between your jars, inserting a few lights inside each individual jar.  Spooky and fun!!

Start saving jars and milk jugs now for these truly fun and easy to create Halloween crafts, so come October you will have plenty to work with.  These simple craft ideas are inexpensive but you will be amazed at how many compliments you get on your creative use of items that would normally be thrown away.