Can you believe Halloween is right around the corner? Not to be a Mrs. “Scrooge” for Halloween or anything but it boggles my mind that Americans spent about $7 billion dollars last Halloween. It’ll probably be higher this year and yes, that could be equivalent to a GDP of a small country. Sure, this type of spending can stimulate our lack luster economy right now but I can think of other meaningful ways to spend money than on cheap costumes and decorations for just one time use. So to be less wasteful and eco-friendly, I make a point of making homemade costumes, treats and decorations by reusing many things around the house. It’s fun and gets your creative mind going to make things rather than buy already made decorations. And especially when you get kids involved, they love how their creations turn out!
One of the easiest decorations to make is a luminary using a glass jar that you would normally toss into the recycling bin. And you can use flameless battery operated flickering lights instead of candles to avoid potentially toxic fumes and to prevent fire around trick or treaters. And what would even be greener is to use solar powered walkway garden lamp light bulbs. They are inexpensive to purchase at any home improvement centers and they cost nothing to light up! Just leave the lamp out during the day to get charged up and you are good to use them in the luminaries!
Let’s start making some cool and fun Halloween luminaries!
Upcycled Glass Jar Luminaries
One of the easiest things to make is a luminary using a glass jar that you would normally toss into the recycling bin. And what would be even more green is using solar powered light bulbs from a solar walkway garden lamps instead of candles. Here are some easy ways to turn glass jars into Halloween luminaries.
1. Solar Powered Jack-O-Lantern
You’ll Need: • Glass bowl with a wide mouth opening • Solar powered walkway lamp light bulb • Spray paint • Permanent marker • Gloves and mask • Newspaper or cardboard to cover the work area Instructions: 1. Wear a mask and gloves and line the work area 2. In a well ventilated area, spray paint the outside of a wide mouth fish bowl or a flower vase with non-toxic spray paint. 3. Then, paint the facial features with permanent markers. 4. Unscrew the top portion of the walkway lamp and insert the solar powered light bulb into the glass bowl. And, introducingggg……Solar powered Jack-O-Lantern to scare off your trick or treaters. Or keep them safe on your porch!
2. Glass Jar Luminaries
You can upcycle mason jars, salsa or spaghetti sauce jars into these cool tranlucent luminaires to light up the walkway for your trick or treaters. You’ll Need: • White crafting glue that’ll dry clear • Food Coloring • Empty Glass Jars • Sponge paint applicator • Newspaper to cover the work area Instructions: 1. Drop a few drops of orange color into glue in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Make a darker orange hue because as it dries on the glass jar, it will become lighter. 2. Paint outside the jar with a sponge paint applicator. Coat a few more times after it’s dried to make sure it’s covered. 3. Another method is to pour a few tbsp. of the glue inside the jar and swirl it around to coat completely. This will take longer to dry. 4. You can draw facial features or leave them plain. Either way, add candles or flameless candles and voilà, you got twin luminaries!
3. Mummified Luminaries
You’ll Need: • Newspaper • Empty glass jars • Flour • Water • Permanent marker Instructions: 1. Line the table with newspaper. It’ll get messy. 2. Cut the gauze or cheese cloth strips about 1-2” wide cut in workable lengths. I like using about 6 inches in lengths at a time. 3. Mix flour and water to make a consistency of thick gravy. I used unbleached whole wheat flour for this because it has tiny black specs and darker in color and I wanted the color of the lanterns to look like aged mummies. Depending on how many glasses you are using and how big they are, the amount of flour and water you’ll need will vary. 4. Once you have a smooth flour and water mixture, soak the gauze strips in the glue. Gently squeeze out the glue mixture from the strips so that they are not dripping but moist. 5. Start covering the jar with strips in an irregular pattern. No one expects mummies to be perfectly wrapped, so, don’t be a perfectionist. It’s ok to be less uniform. 6. When the jar is completely covered, let it dry overnight. 7. Cut out the eyes and mouths with black construction paper and glue them on. Or you can use a permanent market and draw them in. Whatever is easiest for you. Easy peasy, right? And now, you have a collection of various upcycled glass jar luminaries that will stay with you forever!