Halloween hack: Make a paper jack-o’-lantern

I'm pretty attached to traditional pumpkin jack-'o'-lanterns, but they are admittedly hard for young kids to carve themselves. Kate makes luminarias instead:

I hate the whole "rotting pumpkin" thing that happens after the holiday — so I make mine out of paper bags.

Get a classic "lunch sized" paper bag (or larger, but it's hard to find them without printing) and cut a "face" into it, pretty high up. Securely tape wax or parchment paper to the inside of the bag where the design is. Fill the bottom of the bag with sand, and put a tea-light in the sand.

Poof! Re-usable, recyclable lights in any design you choose. (Also, the sand will put them out if they fall over. Make sure you have enough sand to keep them from blowing over and that your bag is big enough to not catch on fire just from being too close to the candle.)

More: Easy Halloween tips


  1. Kookaburra says

    Instead of worrying about the dangers with fire, use battery opperated lights instead. I’ve seen (and should have bought right then) little battery operated tea lights made specifically for inside pumpkins. They are priced well too. I saw them 6 in a pack for $5.00

    Another idea for kids and pumpkins is to give them paint or markers to decorate the pumpkin.

  2. Shama-Lama Mama says

    While they are admittedly more pricey than lunch sacks, you can find wax paper bags that are made especially to be luminaria. These are not fireproof, but very fire resistant. They can be emptied, folded up and used again next year.

    Also, cat litter works well as sand to hold them down.

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