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Milk Jug Jack-O-Lantern Halloween Craft

I love crafting, especially for the holidays! Making simple crafts is a great way to spend time with your kids.

Milk Jug Jack-O-Lanterns

Milk Jug Jack-O-Lanterns

Cheap and Simple Milk Jug Jack-O-Lanterns

These spooky milk jug Jack-O-Lanterns are cheap and simple to make. Easy enough for kids to do, they'd be a fun group project for a classroom or a scout troop.

Kids can make up their own funny or scary faces. These warmly glowing luminaries would make great decorations lining the walk for a Halloween party, or just set them on the front porch to add to the ambiance for trick or treaters.

Materials You'll Need

  • 2 Milk Jugs
  • 2 Sheets of Orange Tissue Paper
  • 1/4 cup of White Glue
  • 1 Pencil
  • 1 Sharpie Pen
  • Embellishments as desired
Covering Milk Jug with Tissue Paper

Covering Milk Jug with Tissue Paper

Covering milk jug lids with tissue paper

Covering milk jug lids with tissue paper

Step 1: Cover the Milk Jugs

  1. First, use a sharp knife to cut the tops out of the milk jugs.
  2. Then make a mixture of half white glue and half water (1:1 ratio).
  3. Tear the tissue paper into strips, then paste the strips onto your milk jugs with the glue mixture. Lay the strips on vertically and overlap them slightly to get pumpkin-like stripes on the jugs. Fold the ends over at the cut edge of the jug. Continue until the whole jug is covered.


I covered the handle to disguise it in an attempt to make it look more like a pumpkin. Just wrap it if you want the handle to show.

I placed the first jug upside down on an empty wine bottle to dry. For the second one I used a full vinegar bottle. The full bottle worked better as it had more weight to it, and I used it to hold the jug while I worked on it.

I started out using a paint brush to apply the glue mixture, but soon found out that it was easier to just use my hands. Dip the end of the tissue paper into the glue and stick it on, then just apply the rest smoothing with your fingers as you go. I like the way it looks when it’s a little rough and wrinkled.

Step 2: Make the Jack-O-Lantern Lids

  • I put the caps on the jug tops and covered them with several layers of tissue paper to give them a more stem-like appearance. The lid on the left was the second one I did, and I cut it a little smaller, I think that was better, it leaves the handle intact.
  • I painted the stems and twisted together a bit of raffia and ribbon to tie around them. You could add a few artificial autumn leaves or whatever else you can dream up.
  • The Jack-O-Lanterns actually look pretty good without the lids, so you could just leave them off if you want to save time and effort.
  • I cut the tops off the jugs so I could put little battery operated candles inside the Jack-O-Lanterns, but I noticed after I was all through that the lanterns have a lovely glow when lit from behind. If you wanted to do that you could just leave the jugs intact.

Step 3: Draw the Face

I used a Sharpie pen to draw on the faces. I drew them out on paper first, and colored them in, then I put the drawing inside the jug. You can see the face through the plastic and tissue. I traced around the outside of the lines with a pencil, then colored the faces in.

If you chose not to cut the top out, you would not be able to put the face inside the jug to trace, but you could draw them on freehand, or cut the pieces out and use them as templates to trace the faces on. You could even cut them out of black paper and paste them directly onto the jug.

Jack-O-Lantern Face Templates

Make your own funny or scary faces, or simply print out the faces below to use as templates when you make your own milk jug Jack-O-Lanterns.

Milk Jug Pumpkins

With these basic ideas, I am sure you can think of lots of way to make your own beautiful, glowing, and scary jack-o-lanterns from old milk jugs.

© 2014 Sherry Hewins


Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on May 01, 2015:

I'm not sure where you are. This is the regular sized gallon milk jug in the US.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on May 01, 2015:

That is easy but where do i get such a big milk jug?

Besarien from South Florida on April 15, 2015:

These are adorable! Great way to light up a yard for the little ones who trick or treat on Halloween. Also a fun craft for the kids.

I could see hanging strings of these in different colors for any season party lanterns. Voted up!

Donna Herron from USA on January 21, 2015:

Gosh, I love this idea! I hate to get rid of our gallon milk containers and tend to horde them in our kitchen closet. This will be a great way to repurpose a few of them. Will definite use this idea for next Halloween! Thanks so much for posting! Pinned to my Halloween craft board :)

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 20, 2015:

Although I am reading this well past the time of Halloween, this is a clever idea and great craft project for the future. Will be pinning this to my crafts board and also sharing.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on December 14, 2014:

Yes! I think there are a lot of things you could do with the same idea.

WiredForSense on December 14, 2014:

I love crafting myself. I was thinking this could perhaps be adapted to a snowman for Christmas.

Brianna W from East Coast on September 08, 2014:

My family and I did this last year for Halloween. The kids loved it! We didn't use tissue paper though, just orange lights but I think this year we might try your way. Thanks for sharing!

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on August 31, 2014:

Thank you C MarieWeber. It is getting to be that time, isn't it?

C_MarieWeber from Wichita on August 31, 2014:

What a great and economic idea. Halloween will be here before we know it, so I'm preparing my crafting projects early.

moonlake from America on May 27, 2014:

Very cute idea I'm going to try this when Halloween comes. Voted up.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on May 26, 2014:

I appreciate your enthusiasm Nell Rose, I think they did turn out nicely.

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on May 26, 2014:

Thanks heidithorne - I will, be promoting it when Halloween gets closer.

Nell Rose from England on May 26, 2014:

This is really clever! what a great idea to use milk jugs!

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on May 26, 2014:

I never would have thought to use milk jugs for something like this! Very cute. You'll have to re-share it again in the fall. Voted up and beautiful!

Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on May 26, 2014:

Thanks billybuc - no sense waiting till the last minute.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 26, 2014:

Very clever. I like the fact that you posted this months in advance so it has time to circulate the web before October. Well done.