13 Best Upcycled Halloween Decorations to Save Money and the Planet

Don’t spend money on wasteful Halloween decorations you’ll just throw away. Here are 13 ways to upcycle items you have around the house to add fun and flair to this spooky season. Make sure to put them away for next year!



Tin can luminary | Image credit: www.jollymom.com, used with permission

* Tin can into luminary - These luminaries are terrific for illuminating porches and walkways because kids’ costumes won’t touch the flame and catch on fire. You’ll need a few empty 30-oz size tin cans, a hammer and nail, and a tea light for each can. Wash the cans thoroughly. Some people recommend filling them with water until an ice block forms inside to make it easier to punch a hole through the tin. When the water is frozen, pull out the can and use the hammer and nail to punch a design into the can. Head over to Jolly Mom for a longer tutorial with more tips and photos.

* Glistenaria – If you freeze water in the cans, put a tube or smaller can inside the bigger can, so that the ice freezes around the tube in a size big enough to accommodate a candle. Later, remove the tube and use the icey “glistenaria” that’s left to house a candle.



Ice Luminary |  credit: rengber via Flickr

* Clothes for a scarecrow – Want to put a scarecrow or goblin on your porch? Find an old hat, plaid shirt, pair of jeans and boots or shoes. Fill the shirt and jeans with straw or hay until they’re overstuffed and sufficiently dumpy looking. Plop the hat on top and you’re done! After Halloween, spread the straw in your garden as mulch and put away the clothes for next year.



Halloween Scarecrow | Image credit: visit_cape_may via Flickr

* Turn a plastic gallon milk jug into a luminaria – If you don’t feel like punching out a tin can, wash and rinse clean a gallon milk jug. Cut a hole in the back that’s large enough to slip a votive candle into, or some Christmas lights. Decorate the front with spooky faces, bats, witches, and other designs. Recycle the jug after Halloween.

* From old white shirt to ghostly spirit – Not sure what to do with your old white shirt? Shred the bottom, then hang from a dressing stand, coat rack or the top of your porch. Upcyclethat.com recommends spraying it with fabric stiffener so it will be stiff and easy to stuff with lights if you want that effect.

Milk jug luminary and ghost dresses | Image credit: upcyclethat.com, used with permission

* Create a haunted library look using old books – Lisa at Lisa’s Creative Designs suggests ripping the cover off old books, tying books together with black and white lace, and dripping “blood” on the top to make them look creepy.

* Convert candleholders – Spray paint wooden and metal candleholders black or rust-color, then fill them with green and orange candles. Arrange them on your haunted library table with pictures of ghosts or other creatures in tarnished picture frames.

* Make a cardboard and newspaper witch hatCrafting a Green World has put together directions for making this clever witch hat, which you can wear when you hand out treats at the door or prop on a table or chair next to the haunted library books you created above. You’ll make the brim out of cardboard, roll up the papers into a cone you attach to the brim, then paint the hat black, orange, or any other colors you desire.



Upcycled witch hat | Image credit: craftingagreenworld.com, used with permission

* Turn a plastic mesh produce bag and extra yarn into a clown wig – Here’s another gem from Crafting a Green World. Use a mesh produce bag that oranges or tangerines came in, strands of yarn as long as you want your wig “hair” to be, and a latch hook like you might use if you crochet or hook rugs. Cut the bag to fit your head as if it were a sort of beanie cap. Then, hook the yarn through the netting of the produce bag until the bag is completely covered with the yarn. If you’re making this for a child, sew elastics or ribbons to each end so you can tie the wig under the child’s chin.

* Repurpose yarn for spider webs, worms, and hangy-things – Old yarn is perfect for creating creepy crawly and hangy things. Make an eerie curtain by tacking or taping or tying long strings of yarn around a rod or series of hangers. String yarn across a door or window in the shape of a spider web. Make place mats and table runners out of black and orange yarn you weave or knit together.

* Cut bats and spiders out of cardboard boxes – Get free stencils of bats, spiders, ghosts, pumpkins and witches here, then cut them out of cardboard, paint them and hang them around your house or on the porch for trick-or-treaters.



Upcycled Sweater Pumpkins | Image credit: Whimsy’s Workshop, used with permission

* Transform an old white, black or orange sweater into a pumpkinWhimsy’s Workshop over on Etsy makes these cozy and adorable pumpkins made from upcycled sweaters. Check out her shop — or if you have some old sweaters lying around that need a new home, try making your own. Sew the bottom closed and cut off the sweater below the arms. Stuff it with old fabric or stuffing from a pillow you no longer use, shaping the sweater into a pumpkin shape. Put a stick or branch in the middle, and use a piece of felt to make a leaf.

* Turn Mason jar lid rims into a pumpkin – You’ll need about 20 rims from the lids of Mason jars or sauce jars. The rims don’t all have to look the same – some can be silver, some goldish, but they should all be the same size. Stand them up on their edges one next to the other, with a group of cinnamon sticks in the middle. Run a tie or string through the inside of all the rims so that they stand together in a pumpkin shape, with the cinnamon sticks standing up above the rims. Get full instructions with more photos here.


Mason Jar Lid Pumpkin (copyright, with graphics, www.thecountrycook.net)

Image credit: thecountrycook.net, used with permission

Do you have any favorite upcycled Halloween decorations? Please share!


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Christine J.
Christine J2 years ago

Love the idea of being creative and recycling, instead of buying mass produced plastic junk that ends up in landfill. Could never desecrate a book though!

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

Barbara Idso
Barbara I3 years ago

Great Halloween crafts using things around the house. Will definitely do some next year. Thank you.

Laurie Mazzeo
Laurie Mazzeo3 years ago

thanks for sharing

Laurie Mazzeo
Laurie Mazzeo3 years ago

thanks for sharing

Julie S.
Julia S3 years ago

Great ideas! Thanks!

Elizabeth O.
Elizabeth O3 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Valerie A.
Valerie A3 years ago

Thanks for posting.

Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa3 years ago

Thank you