If you’re trying to find an easy and fun-with-the-kids Halloween project, look no further.  These milk jug luminaries are a great afternoon project in prepping for one the most celebrated holidays for spooks, ghouls and goblins of all ages.


  • Organic Valley gallon milk jugs (one for each luminary)
  • Utility knife
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Construction paper
  • Paint (craft and acrylic spray) and some brushes
  • Permanent markers
  • Glue (any white glue should work)
  • Pliers
  • Battery operated tea lights or glow sticks (We don’t recommend real candles for this project. Play it safe!)
  • Thin wire or pipe cleaners (for Kitty)
  • Needle (for silhouette)
  • Small screws and or bolts (for Frankenstein)

First Step for Each Luminary

Finish off a delicious gallon of Organic Valley milk. Rinse out jug, remove labels, dry off, cut out top and handle so that you can reach inside.


  • Since Organic Valley milk jugs are already white, they’ll give your ghost a spooky glow without having to paint them.
  • Using a utility knife cut eye and mouth holes, or if you’re going for super simple, just paint holes on.
  • You can find ghost face templates online too, if you prefer not to freehand it.
Ellie, I mean Elsa, is proud of her ghost/skeleton

Ellie, I mean Elsa, is proud of her ghost/skeleton.


  • Paint the entire jug green and give your “Frankie” a creepy face.
  • Using construction paper create hair and glue on top.
  • Once Frankie is dry, poke two large holes in opposite sides of the jug in its “neck” and screw bolts in either side.


  • With a pencil, trace a kitty face on jug. Maybe you like your cats simple, or scary, or grumpy… Drawing the face will help determine where the nose and ears will go.
  • Cut V-shaped slits on top of the jug (above the eyes) for the ears, and poke small holes around the nose for inserting whiskers.
  • Paint your kitty’s face. Paint the whiskers as well, even though you’ll be inserting 3-D ones. That way they show up at night.
  • While the paint is drying, cut ears and nose out of construction paper. Cut six or eight short whiskers out of wires or pipe cleaners.
  • Once dry, glue on the nose, and feed the wire/pipe cleaners through whisker holes (glue in place if necessary).
  • Fold ears vertically into a V shape. Insert ears into slits and glue to keep in place.

Owen is adding detail to his kitty luminary.

Spooky Silhouette

  • We used a cat face for this one, but you can find many Halloween templates using Google. Find one you like, print and cut it out.
  • Spray paint the jug your desired color (we used black for our cat, but you could do orange to make a pumpkin, or green to make a goblin – anything goes!)
  • Allow time to dry. (I didn’t wait long enough, so I had to apply another coating where some of the paint peeled off while poking holes in the jug. So learn from my mistake and be sure to give it plenty of time to dry.)
  • Once the paint is dry, lightly trace template over milk jug with pencil.
  • Remove template and, using your needle, poke holes around the trace so that the light can shine through.

After Dark

Take your creations outside, insert your tea lights or glow sticks, and tell a scary ghost story! You can go simple or more elaborate with these milk jug luminaries. There’s no right or wrong way to decorate (i.e., don’t try to emulate Pinterest!). Just have fun with your kids, and have a no-mess, treat-filled and safe Halloween!