Natural Parenting

Easy Upcycled Halloween Crafts

three kids in costumes sticking orange balloons on a blue wall in the form of a pumpkin.I am not a crafty person. I like to DIY beauty products—as long as they’re three ingredients or less—and occasionally I post some cute craft ideas on the Mommy Greenest Loves Pinterest page, but in general my art ability is limited and I can barely sew on a button.

But because I’m hosting The Pump Station’s Great Green Halloween Play Date parties later this month, I figured I should find some Halloween crafts that are easy enough for a toddler to manage (with a little help) and also show how much fun upcycling can be!

The Pump Station’s party is part of Green Halloween, a national movement empowering parents to think bigger than imported plastic costumes and food-dye filled candy towards a holiday that’s as sustainable as it is fun.

I am not a crafter, but these Halloween crafts are easy enough for a toddler to manage (with a little help) and also show how much fun upcycling can be! From 3 to 4 p.m. at The Pump Station in Hollywood (10.28.13 call 323-469-5300), Westlake (10.29.13 call 805-777-7179) and Santa Monica (10.30.13 call 310-998-1981), we’ll have upcycled Halloween crafts, healthy treats, spooky stories and a costume parade. And OF COURSE you’re invited: Just call the number to rsvp!

I’m stepping in for ambassador Natalie Cronin Reyes, who created The Great Green Play Date company in New York City; she hosted The Pump Station’s last Great Green Halloween Play Date, in 2011.

“Halloween is a great time to think about upcycling trash into toys,” Cronin told me. “Make masks out of paper bags or parade rattles from plastic water bottles filled with beads. Transform a few big boxes into a haunted house kids can crawl or walk through. The possibilities are endless—and you can really demonstrate how little impact we can make on the Earth, while still having tons of fun.” I couldn’t agree more!

But back to the Halloween crafts. Created by the CraftsRedesigned blog, these Mummy Jars are adorable additions to any party décor—and they’re super easy to make.

You’ll need:

Recycled jars (no lids)
Medical gauze
Mod Podge or white glue
Googley eyes
LED tealight candle (can add later)


I soaked the jars to get the labels off, and don’t stress getting off all the glue–it actually helps the gauze stick! Also, you can do them either way, but I flipped my jars with the opening down, so it can go easily over the LED tealight candle.

Paint the bottle with glue
Starting at the bottom, wrap the gauze around the bottle
As you wrap, paint glue between the slightly overlapping layers
Only use one layer of gauze
Once you reach the top, paint over your layers
Add googly eyes
Set a LED candle inside

mummy jars with lights inside in the dark









Cute, no? And because the organic milk consumption in my house leaves us with two jugs a week, I figured I’d use them up on this Spirit Jugs Halloween craft project, created and photographed by

You’ll need:

Clean plastic gallon milk jugs with lids on (lids stop them from collapsing when you draw)
Black permanent market
Craft knife
LED candle (can add later)


Draw ghost eyes and mouth on the jugs
Cut a hole in the back of the jug (parents can do later)
Place the LED candle inside
(You can also make several and group them using a string of clear low-wattage holiday lights)

milk jugs with scary faces drawn on them in marker, with lights inside










Throwing a party? The main photo in this post is from Martha Stewart’s Halloween Holiday Center, where you can learn how to set up a party games like Pin the Face on the Pumpkin and Hopping for Doughnuts, or create this awesome-looking giant balloon pumpkin (with biodegradable balloons, of course). Love!

halloween party










Update 10.31.13: Nothing like a bunch of costumed babies for a truly awesome “Monster Mash.” Thanks to Jenny Q Photography, musician Paulie Z and of course The Pump Station for letting me host this year’s Green Halloween!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *