Spooktacular Halloween Lanterns

No need to be afraid of the dark ... these festive luminarias brighten the night.

By Lori Lau Grzybowski from Backyard Living | September/October 2006

Sure, you may have set out traditional luminarias — small paper bags weighted with sand with lit votive candles — at Christmastime, especially if you live in the Southwest.

But with a little imagination, you can dress them up for Halloween, too! Place these fun lanterns in the shadows along your front walk, porch or deck at night, and you’ll find they suddenly give new meaning to “mood lighting”!Have no fear — our versions won’t cost you an arm and a leg. These luminarias use castoffs and other readily available materials. They’re simple enough for kids to make, and, to keep things safe, we use battery-operated candles or Christmas tree lights instead of open flames.

You Will Need

  • Containers: Widemouth glass jars, plastic soft drink or water bottles (2-liter and smaller), milk cartons
  • Papers: Lightweight craft paper, copy paper, construction paper, paper twist, tissue paper, decorative papers and so forth
  • Ties: Raffia; orange and black ribbons
  • Light sources: Tea lights, battery-operated candles or white Christmas lights
  • Scissors, utility knife
  • Tape
  • Glue stick
  • Sand
  • Optional: plastic spiders, netting, highlighting markers … be creative!

Instructions:
1. Remove labels and carefully cut plastic bottles or milk cartons below the neck to a variety of heights.

2. Wrap paper around each container, so it’s even at the bottom and several inches past the top edge. Tape the back. You can color in “eyes” with a highlighting marker for an extra-spooky effect, or fringe the top.

3. Wrap ribbon or raffia around the bottle and tie a bow or knot; add spiders, netting or other accents.

4. Weight with sand to keep the luminarias upright and from blowing around the neighborhood.

5. Position a tea light in the center of each bottle (do not use in bottles 20 ounces and smaller), OR use a safer alternative — Christmas lights or battery-operated candles. If using Christmas lights, cut an X through the back (both paper and container) of each luminaria with a utility knife and push the bulb through.