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How to Make Halloween Luminaria

Updated on August 17, 2014

No Carving Required

These jack o' lanterns are so easy to make you'll be able to whip up a punkin field's worth in no time. You'll have all the fun of creating comical and scary faces with none of the mess of carving.

Gather a few simple supplies and recruit the kids to help. Your guests will be welcomed by a merry row of lanterns to light the way to your door!

Photos by bossypants. Please don't use without permission.

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What you'll need

Paper lunch bags

Orange spray paint

Black card stock


Glue stick

Kitty litter or sand

Candle cups

Tea lights (wicked or flameless)

Step 1: Paint the lunch bags orange.

Apply a light coat of spray paint to the lunch bags and allow them to dry.

You only need to spray one side. In the dark, no one will know the difference!

You may find it helpful to set up a do-it-yourself spray booth to contain any over-spray. An old cardboard carton works well.

Follow the directions on the spray paint can and make sure you work in a well ventilated area.

Step 2: Make faces!

Using a scissors (or craft punches if you have them), cut out eyes, noses and mouths from the black card stock.

Don't stress over perfection and symmetry. Remember, these are jack o' lanterns and the funnier the faces, the better!

Lay the face parts on the dried bags and find the design you like. Then, adhere the eyes, nose, and mouth to each bag using the glue stick.

Press the card stock firmly onto the bag to get good adhesion and let the glue dry.

Step 3: Weight the bags.

Using sand or kitty litter, fill the bags about 1/4 full.

Kitty litter may be easier to find than play sand (in the fall). Buy litter with no added chemicals or scent, if you can.

Work in a well ventilated area and use a dust mask if you have respiratory concerns.

Step 4: Add cups and candles.

Take your weighted bags to their final location.

Nest the a plastic cup (one per bag) in the litter or sand, so they are secure. I use regular plastic drink cups ("rocks" size).

Place a candle inside each cup.

At dusk, light the candles.

Completed Luminaria

c. bossypants
c. bossypants

When Halloween is over, save your luminaria for next year. Empty and stack the cups, pour the litter or sand into a bag (or use it!), and fold up the bags. I've used my luminaria for 3 years and they still look great!

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Short, sweet and simple....just right in these busy times and a fun activity to do with children for even more creative fun for everyone!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very cute - I wonder how they would look if you cut out the face shapes.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      These are so decorative.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I love lumenarias and your instructions are very clear.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      What great looking Pumpkin luminaria!

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      Those pumpkin bags look really cool.

    • banapple profile image

      banapple 5 years ago

      Wow. We just might make these this year. These look very cool and creative.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      These are adorable! I'm going to get on this (with my little helpers, of course!). I'll buy some flameless tea lights so my grandkids can "light" the Jack o' Lantern! How fun!!