Spooky Lighting Ideas for Halloween Decorating

Use scary candles, colored lights, illuminaries and votives to really set the Halloween mood in your home.

Lighting has a intrinsic connection to the Halloween holiday. A season dedicated to the night and the dead, so lighting not only is essential but also provides the spooky atmosphere.

People decorate their houses in mini-light displays to give an eerie glow, and the age-old tradition of Jack o lantern carving can be seen glowing along the street. With all the competition its hard to stand out from the crowd.

We’ve put together some Halloween lighting ideas that provide some fresh ideas for lighting at Halloween. All can be made easily with items from around the home.

Halloween Luminaries

Luminaries are an easy and dramatic way to light your driveway or walkway on Halloween evening for your parade of trick-or-treaters.

This is so easy to do. You simply need some brown unprinted paper bags, cardboard or foam board, sand and small candles and some craft tools to put them together:

Its easy to make your own inexpensive Halloween illuminaries to light your porch, driveway or walkway using plain old brown paper bags.

How to Make Your Own Halloween Luminary Using Paper Bags

  1. Any brown paper bag will work fine as long as it is unprinted. First, fold down the top of the bag about 2 inches to give the luminary a nice neat rim and to help the bag keep its shape.
  2. Choose which side will be the front and lightly draw your design on in pencil. You could trace a Halloween motif from another source or just freehand the design. Lettering works really well and will show up clearly. A great idea is to use the bags to form a message that must be read in sequence down the driveway such as: “be” “wary” “it’s” “scary” “in the” “night”.
  3. Put your piece of cardboard or foam board inside the bag to separate the bag from the front while you use a craft knife to cut out your design. Be sure not to cut the back! Take the cardboard out and tape a piece of tracing paper against the inside of the front to diffuse the candlelight and provide an extra glowing effect.
  4. Last step, simply place a scoop of sand in the bottom of the bag; this will make the luminary sit flatly and give the candle a sturdy base. Be wary to position the candle in the middle of the sand, well away from the sides of the bag and your luminaries will give a spooky glow on a lovely still fall night.

Create your own Halloween votives decorating aluminum cans or small plastic containers like these skull and cross bones designs.

Soda Can Votives

Recycle your leftover soda cans and make these adorable candleholders. It is a great rainy-day project, since very few materials (and very little time) is required. These holders can also be used as napkin rings for a Halloween dinner party:

  1. Start with a thoroughly clean and dry soda can. Cut off its top with a sharp pair of scissors. Be careful of those sharp edges!
  2. Next, cut along the seam of the aluminum can, and use your palm to press the can flat. Wash and dry the metal here if need be.
  3. Trace or sketch the jack o lantern design onto the clear side with pencil then cut out with a craft knife the inside portions of the design first. (Depending on the design, a paper edger or hole puncher may prove useful).
  4. Next, carefully cut around the outside of the pumpkin with scissors. Cut a band around the bottom of the can, and shape the band into a circle.
  5. Secure the band in place with a stapler or duct tape. Make sure the circle is wide enough for a votive candle which now you simply need to position inside it.

LED lights can be used to give your Halloween decorations a unique and creative touch.

Gourd String Lights

  1. A string of colorful ghosts and jack o lanterns makes a playful adornment for a porch railing or entranceway. Ornamental gourds have a thin shell that is easily cut with a craft knife or a wood-burning tool. For this project you need some miniature gourds about 2 to 4 inches in diameter in bottle shapes and round shapes, white and orange watered down acrylic paint, and general craft supplies.
  2. Cured gourds are widely available year-round at farmers’ market and floral supply stores. Ornamental gourds are among the most common gourd varieties and best for this project.
  3. Draw a jagged line around the bottom of each gourd and cut the bottom out with a craft knife. Drill a hole in the top of the gourd large enough for the light bulb.
  4. Soak the bottle-shaped gourds (that are going to be your ghosts!) in water for 15 minutes, then use a craft knife to cut two armlike slits in each gourd. Use your fingers to gently pull the arms away from the body of the gourd, and wedge toothpicks between the arms and body. Allow it to dry with toothpick in place, then remove toothpicks.
  5. Sketch eyes and mouth on the ghost gourds, and cut these out. (Wood-burning tools are better for detail work).
  6. Sketch jack o lantern faces on the pumpkin gourds, and cut these out.
  7. Paint the ghost gourds in white watered down acrylic paint (or you could use leather dye) and allow it to dry thoroughly. Do the same in orange on the pumpkin gourds.
  8. Now for the final step, if you take a sting of colored lights, white or orange are best for the Halloween theme but orange gives off more color. You can secure the gourd to the light by: Cutting one small doughnut-shapes washer our of cardboard or plastic for each gourd. Remove the light bulb from the socket, and gently push the cardboard washer over the threaded end of the bulb; and with the light bulb and cardboard washer on the inside of the gourd, screw the bulb back into the socket.
  9. Use some floral tape or craft clay on the outside of the gourd to hold the socket in the correct position.

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