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How to Turn an Old Light Fixture Into a Halloween Chandelier

I love doing DIY projects and I enjoy giving advice to others to help them on their projects.

The finished Halloween chandelier hanging in a tree

The finished Halloween chandelier hanging in a tree

During a recent home remodeling project, my wife and I couldn’t agree on what to do with our old dining room chandelier. She wanted to toss it, but I can't stand letting things go to waste. I got the idea to repurpose and transform it into a Halloween chandelier.

I’m always looking for unique items to add to our Halloween graveyard and thought a spooky chandelier hanging from a tree over a grave would look great. Since decorating the house is one of the best things about Halloween, this is a really fun project and it keeps an old lighting fixture out of the landfill.

Below, I describe how I created my Halloween chandelier. I hope these instructions and photos help inspire your own Halloween decorating project.

Our old candelabra before becoming a Halloween chandelier

Our old candelabra before becoming a Halloween chandelier

Here’s the light that I turned into my Halloween chandelier. It was a typical builder grade colonial style 10 lamp brass finish candelabra that was hanging in the dining room when we bought the house. Most of the arms were loose or out of alignment; and several of the fake plastic candle stems were discolored near the top so it was ready to be replaced.

Materials

Let’s start with a quick list of things you’ll need:

  • An old chandelier or other light fixture
  • Black spray paint
  • Flicker light bulbs
  • A hook for hanging the chandelier
  • Any decorations you want to add (optional)

If you want to convert your light to use a plug, then you’ll also need the following:

  • Wire cutter/stripper tool
  • Electrical tape
  • Wire nuts
  • Utility knife
  • Extension cord

Step 1: Adding a Plug to Your Halloween Chandelier

If your light already has a plug then skip to the next section. My light was hard wired into the house’s electrical system so I had to splice a plug onto it.

The plug is so I can easily place the candelabra anywhere (inside or out) without swapping out hard wired light fixtures every Halloween. All I need is an outlet and maybe an extension cord.

You can also skip adding a plug if you do want to change light fixtures for your Halloween decorating. For example, you want to change out the regular light in your foyer or dining room with a Halloween chandelier for a big party or other event.

Note: I’m not an electrician but have experience installing light fixtures and other basic wiring tasks. Educate yourself on basic wiring before beginning.

  1. Turn off the circuit breaker the light is on and test that the wires aren’t live. Then disconnect the light fixture from the electric wires. Note which wire was connected to the hot wire. I used a piece of tape for this.
  2. Get an extension cord and cut off the female end. The length of the cord depends on where you plan to use it. Since I use this mainly outside I bought a 9′ outdoor rated cord.
  3. Peel back the insulation from the cut end of the cord about 4″.
  4. Separate the three wires inside then strip the insulation to expose about an inch of each wire.
  5. Connect the lamp wires to the appropriate extension cord wires using wire nuts. The lamp wire that was connected to the house’s hot wire should go with the black cord wire, the other wire to the white one and, finally, ground wire to ground wire (usually bare or with green insulation).
  6. Wrap the connected wires in electrical tape so that they don’t get pulled apart or wet if used outside. This doesn’t look pretty and there are probably better looking ways to do it, but it worked and no one’s going to notice it in the dark.
  7. Insert light bulbs then plug it in to verify that it works.
The freshly painted light drying and looking good

The freshly painted light drying and looking good

Step 2: Painting the Chandelier

Once the power cord is done, it’s time to start painting. I used flat black spray paint. Choose whichever color and finish you like.

  1. Wipe and clean the light to prep it for painting.
  2. Hang the light fixture outside. This makes it much easier to spray paint the whole thing in one go. I hung it from a low branch and low to the ground. Then place a piece of cardboard or a drop cloth underneath to protect the grass.
  3. Put something inside each lamp base to protect the electrical connectors from getting covered in paint. A piece of cloth, paper towel or crumpled newspaper will work.
  4. Start spray painting. Hold the can far enough away so that the paint doesn’t run on the light. Use nice smooth sprays and work your way around the light, top and bottom.
  5. Remember to spray the light’s chain and wires so that it’s all the same color. Go over all joints, fittings or other tricky spots to fully cover the original finish.
  6. Once done, take the plugs out of the lamp bases and let your chandelier dry.
The Halloween chandelier at night hanging from a tree

The Halloween chandelier at night hanging from a tree

Step 3: Setting It Up

After the paint’s dry put in your flicker bulbs and test out the light. Take it in a dark room then plug it in to see how it looks. Check that all your flicker bulbs work properly. Now, hang your chandelier and add other decorations if you want.

Where Should You Hang It?

There are many places to hang your chandelier, either indoors or out. The cool thing about having a plug is that you can easily move it around and try different locations. You could hang it inside for your Halloween party then move it outside for trick-or-treating. It can go anywhere inside that has a sturdy ceiling hook to support it. Good outdoor options include hanging from a tree branch, trellis, plant holder or a porch ceiling.

I hang mine outside from a tree in the front yard with an S-hook. It goes on a branch that hangs over the edge of the driveway near where the trick-or-treaters walk to our house. It’s also visible from the sidewalk where most parents wait and it usually gets some comments from them.

This would also look great hanging in the garage if you do a haunted Halloween garage.

Tips to Make Your Halloween Chandelier Extra Creepy and Spooky

I kept my candelabra simple, but you can decorate yours however you like. Let your morbid imagination run wild. Here are a few tips to get you started…

  • Add webbing and a fake spider.
  • Add Spanish moss if the light will be hanging outside.
  • Perch a fake bird in the chandelier. A raven, crow or owl work best for spooky effect.
  • Add tattered cloth. Use blood stained cloth for bonus points.
  • Place a skull or bones in the light.

Where to Find Old Chandeliers or Other Light Fixtures

Ok, what should you do if you want to make a Halloween chandelier but don’t have a spare chandelier laying around? Here are some suggestions for finding a light that you can get for cheap (or even free) to repurpose yourself.

  • Home remodels: Ask what your friends or neighbors are going to do with their old light fixtures when they’re remodeling.
  • Yard sales: I’ve sold several old light fixtures at yard sales in the past before I thought of turning them into Halloween decorations.
  • Thrift stores: Check local thrift stores, especially Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore locations which specialize in old home goods.
  • Online: Watch online listing sites for anyone giving away an old light in your area.