With a bit of creative inspiration and a few everyday objects, you can make easy upcycled Halloween decorations that are sure to thrill and delight! There’s no need to waste money on cheap plastic Halloween decor that will end up in the landfill!
I L-O-V-E scrolling through Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook looking at the beautiful Halloween (and other holiday) decorations these content creators dream up…
But I feel a little heebie-jeebies when I think of all the PLASTIC WASTE that’s being created in pursuit of the “perfect” holiday.
So what’s an aesthetics-loving but sustainability-concerned person to do?
You don’t have to be a party pooper! Amazing Halloween decor can be made from household trash and recycling items such as old newspapers and magazines, milk cartons, cardboard boxes, glass jars, or even tin cans.
Easy Upcycled Halloween Decorations
With a bit of creative inspiration and a few everyday objects, you can make repurposed Halloween decorations that are sure to thrill and delight.
Not convinced? Check out these 17 ideas for easy upcycled Halloween crafts. You’re sure to find something that will make your Halloween decor more sustainable and affordable.
From skeletons, ghosts, and mummies to jack-o-lanterns, pumpkins, and creepy crawlies you’ll be inspired by this sweet and spooky Halloween decor!
Mummy Luminary (Pottery Barn Dupe )
Love catalog decor but hate paying high prices? These homemade mummy luminaries with spooky eyes are nearly identical to popular Pottery Barn candle holders for less than $3.00 (that’s 90% off the retail price)! Grab an empty glass jar from your recycling and the pattern at Bren Did.
Halloween Bottle Lights
Our recycling center has stopped processing glass so I’m always looking for ways to use old bottles. These fun Halloween bottle lights are the perfect centerpiece for a Halloween buffet or snack table. Use any clear glass bottles for this craft. Add designs with paint or cut shapes from duct tape and fill the bottle with colored water. Get the detailed instructions at Pillar Box Blue.
Book Page Ghost Garland
This simple. sweet and spooky ghost garland can be made from an old book, a sheet of newspaper, or an old magazine. Grab your scissors and in just a few minutes you’ll have diy Halloween decorations that can dress up a mantel, doorway, chalkboard, or any other area of the home. Get the full instructions and a printable pattern from Thistle Key Lane.
Spooky Spider Habitat
Upcycle a glass jar into a spooky spider habitat. Use a standard Mason jar or any glass jar you have in the kitchen (think pickles, pasta sauce, etc.). These easy Halloween crafts would be so much fun to make with kids. Grab your plastic spiders then check out the full tutorial at Mom Dot.
Skull Bean Art
Grab a sheet of cardboard (an old cereal box works great) and some dried beans to make this delightful skull art. It’s a great Halloween craft for adults and kids! Simply draw a skull on a piece of recycled cardboard with a black permanent marker then fill in the shapes with craft glue and beans. No drawing talent, no problem… you can get a free printable and instructions at DIY Candy.
Halloween Orange Lanterns
Use orange peels to make these adorable Halloween jack-o-lanterns that are entirely compostable and eco-friendly! (Instructions are in Swedish, but the photos are easy to follow or use Google Translate). The artist illuminated her pumpkins with tea lights, use battery-operated candles to keep the peels from scorching. Full instructions from Rebecca’s DIY.
Haunted Halloween Figurines
Thrift stores, garage sales, and flea markets seem to always have weird old ceramic, porcelain, or clay figurines available. Pick up a few with chips or cracks to create these spooky Halloween figurines with just a bit of black paint. In just a few minutes you can the Halloween figurines of your dreams…or nightmares! Full instructions from Sadie Seasongoods.
Plastic Bag Halloween Skeleton
Looking for durable outdoor Halloween decorations but don’t want to add plastic waste? Upcycle plastic shopping bags and wire coat hangers into this fabulously creepy Halloween skeleton you can hang from your backyard trees or front door. Get step-by-step instructions with lots of great pictures at Instructables.
Milk Carton Lanterns
This DIY tutorial makes paper lanterns that resemble Japanese lanterns but have frames made from milk cartons instead of bamboo or wood. The milk carton provides the structure of the lantern and the light is diffused by colorful tissue paper. The lanterns are lit by glow sticks or battery-operated tea lights so they’re safe for a porch railing, mantle, or hanging from the trees with pipe cleaners or a wire hanger. Get the instructions at Bren Did.
Spider Web Halloween Wreath
Repurpose a hula hoop or an old wreath into a spider web wall hanging just in time for Halloween. This DIY hula hoop spider web decoration is easy to make with a little twine and some black spray paint. Full instructions are available from Over the Big Moon.
Halloween Ghost Candy Bowl
Grab a white sheet or curtain to make this adorable ghost candy dispenser. He’s perfect for parties, self-service trick-or-treating, or truck-or-treat events. And, bonus, the parts of the ghost (bucket or planter, bowl, and fabric) can be reused again and again! Get the full tutorial from Sadie Seasongoods.
Repurpose old milk cartons or recycled paper bags (if your climate permits) into fun Jack-O-Lantern luminaries. It’s a fun way to decorate your garden path for trick-or-treaters or guests. Project directions from Boulder Locavore.
Black Twig Wreath
Grab some tree trimming or fallen branches from the yard to make this gothic Halloween wreath that is perfect for your front door. This DIY Black Twig Wreath uses branches, a hot glue gun, black paint, and dollar store items (use any decorations you have on hand). Get the tutorial and decor ideas from My Pinventures.
Science Specimen Jars
Use fish bones, water, and food coloring to make these creepy mad scientist specimen jars. If real animal parts are too icky for you, a plastic skeleton hand or eyeballs look like they’re straight out of the laboratory too. Get the full instructions at Epicurious.
Creepy Halloween Pill Bottles
This beginner-friendly Halloween craft project transforms recycled pill bottles into creepy potion bottles perfect for haunted house decorations. Use them as “goodie bags” or display them on shelves or tables to set the scene for a spooky Halloween party. Download the free printable potion labels then follow the easy tutorial by Mod Podge Rocks to make your own apothecary-style potions.
10-Minute Sock Pumpkins
These darling sock pumpkins are perfect for fall or Halloween decor and are a great use for old or mismatched socks. You need rice, thread or yarn, and minimal sewing knowledge to create these adorable decorations. Use scrap fabric pieces to turn them into jack lanterns. Get the video tutorial at Glue Sticks Blog.
Monster Napkin Rings
Use old paper towel rolls, craft paint, and googly eyes to make these adorable Halloween napkin rings! (The original project uses wooden napkin rings but toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls make it an upcycled project!) Get the full tutorial via Mod Podge Rocks.
Everyday items such as milk cartons, glass jars, and sticks can be transformed into eco-friendly Halloween decor with a little creative inspiration. I hope these fun ideas will motivate you to make a few unique handmade items that are kind to the planet and your wallet.