Milk Jug Jack-O-Lantern Halloween Craft

Updated on September 4, 2019
Sherry Hewins profile image

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 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

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.

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 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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Finished Jack-O-Lantern FacesFace shows throughTrace face with pencilColor face with Sharpie
Finished Jack-O-Lantern Faces
Finished Jack-O-Lantern Faces
Face shows through
Face shows through
Trace face with pencil
Trace face with pencil
Color face with Sharpie
Color face with Sharpie | Source

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.

Alien Face
Alien Face
Mean Face
Mean Face

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.

Battery-powered Tealight Candles

Instapark Pack of 24 Flameless LED Tea Light Candles Battery Powered Realistic Bulk Tealights, Warm Amber
Instapark Pack of 24 Flameless LED Tea Light Candles Battery Powered Realistic Bulk Tealights, Warm Amber
I used these battery powered tea lights in my jack-o-lanterns. They are safe, inexpensive, and long lasting.

© 2014 Sherry Hewins


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    • Sherry Hewins profile imageAUTHOR

      Sherry Hewins 

      5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

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

    • peachpurple profile image


      5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

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

    • Besarien profile image


      5 years ago from South Florida

      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!

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 

      5 years ago from USA

      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 W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sherry Hewins 

      5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

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

    • WiredForSense profile image


      5 years ago

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

    • bwhite062007 profile image

      Brianna W 

      5 years ago from East Coast

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sherry Hewins 

      5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

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

    • C_MarieWeber profile image


      5 years ago from Wichita

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

    • moonlake profile image


      6 years ago from America

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

    • Sherry Hewins profile imageAUTHOR

      Sherry Hewins 

      6 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

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

    • Sherry Hewins profile imageAUTHOR

      Sherry Hewins 

      6 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

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

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

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

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      6 years ago from Chicago Area

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sherry Hewins 

      6 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Thanks billybuc - no sense waiting till the last minute.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      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.


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