DIY Milk Jug Ghosts ~ Great way to repurpose those white milk jugs into a gang of ghastly ghouls! Great family Halloween project!
Before I begin, this is totally NOT my idea — but it’s one I saw on Pinterest and it was too cute (and easy) for me to pass on trying it out. But, I wanted to try it using different lighting options like glow sticks and battery-powered tea lights instead of defaulting to twinkle lights.
We fly through milk at my place, so there are always plenty of these jugs hanging around waiting to be used. To have an effective ghoulish gang, you’ll need more than just two or three jugs … and be sure to clean and dry your ghosts-to-be before starting.
After cleaning the jugs and removing any labels, use scissors to cut small access holes in the back for your lights. Make them large enough that you can fit your hand inside (for easier maneuvering), but not so big that your light escapes out the back of the jug instead of illuminating your ghost from the inside.
Now you’re ready to make your faces on the front, opposite of the side where you cut your access hole. Permanent markers like Sharpies work really well to draw your faces and you only need the basic black. Once you’ve drawn all your frightening faces, you’re ready to set them up outside.
Since empty milk jugs move easily (sometimes, too easily) I chose to put a small bit of sand on the bottom to weigh the jugs down to keep them in place while working with the lights. First I tried out glow sticks — or in a pinch, glow bracelets looped together — and while the colored hues looked cool, they weren’t very bright. But, the real glow sticks may work much better since they’re brighter: just loop some fishing string through the hole in the glow stick, pull the string ends up through the neck of the jug (so the glow stick is hanging), and screw or snap the ends in place with the cap.
Next light source to try was the battery-powered tea lights. A quick reminder before proceeding: Do not use real tea lights!!! That should go without saying, but I’m a mom and say everything a zillion times anyway to cover my bases, so there. 😉 Some varieties of battery-powered tea lights have a flickering bulb so it really gives off the effect of an actual flame inside the jug. Of course, with tea lights the ghosts are now yellow-orange and look a little pumpkin-like in color — not that that is a bad thing.
The last lighting option I tried was the twinkle lights, and yes … they worked the best. But both other options expand on the original idea a bit in fun ways. You can have “monsters” in different colors if you go with the glow sticks, or if you use the yellow-orange tea lights your faces could look more like Jack-o-lanterns. Disadvantage to using glow sticks or battery-powered tea lights is that they have an extended life before you have to replace something; twinkle lights just get plugged in. But, using glow sticks or tea lights might be a fun change for the night of Halloween or Trick or Treat, where you want the effect for just a few hours. Also, white jugs will be more opaque than the semi-clear ones. It’s easy to see in my pictures which two jugs were clear versus the more standard ones that soften the light a bit more.
I’m always happy when I find a “Pinner Winner” and this one was it: Easy and fast to do, with supplies that you likely already have on hand.