Today I have another easy DIY Halloween decoration for you: the Glowing Plastic Jack O’ Lantern Totem. You can make this for about $10 or less if you already have materials that can be used. It’s pretty simple and adds a beautiful orange glow to your Halloween front step.
2020 Update: Look for $1 plastic pumpkin pails at Target and Walmart in early fall. They sell out quickly!
DIY Pumpkin Totem Materials and Tools
- 5 plastic jack o’ lantern buckets
- witch hat (find one at a dollar store)
- power drill
- 1″ to 1 1/2″ hole drill bit
- garden stake (at least 5 feet tall or at least 2 foot taller than you’re stacked plastic jack o’ lanterns)
- 1 string of white lights
Customize your Glowing Jack O’ Lantern totem by using more or less plastic jack o’ lantern buckets, other hats, more lights, multiple colors, or line several totems in a row.
How to Make a Glowing Plastic Jack O’ Lantern Totem
Start by drilling a hole in the bottom center of each of the plastic jack o’ lanterns. If you do not have a drill or 1″ hole drill bit, carefully cut a hole with scissors or a knife. The hole should be big enough to slide over your garden stake plus a little extra for pulling the string of lights through.
Decide where the glowing plastic jack o’ lantern totem will stand and pound the stake into the ground. Since the totem is lightweight, about 1 foot into the ground should do it. Leave about 1 foot of the stake to be above the stacked jack o’ lanterns to hold a witch hat on.
Starting with the bottom jack o’ lantern, begin threading your lights through the hole. Make sure to leave the extra cord hanging out so you can plug it in.
Place the first jack o’ lantern onto the metal stake.
Leave a small number of lights in the first jack o’ lantern and thread the string lights through the next jack o’ lantern. Place onto the metal stake.
I like to use cheesecloth for my DIY Halloween projects and decorations. Check out my Cheesecloth Halloween Spiderweb Wreath and DIY Cheesecloth Ghost Costumes. The spider in the image above is a DIY Sock Spider.
Repeat until all plastic jack o’ lanterns are on the stake. Make adjustments to the string of lights as needed to space them evenly through the pumpkin buckets.
Poke a piece of wire through one side of the hat at the bottom of the cone, then through to the opposite side. Under the hat, wrap the wire around the metal stake. Tighten and twist the wire as needed to hold the hat in place. Optionally, hot glue the hat onto the top pumpkin bucket to keep in place in windy weather.
Plug in your lights and enjoy your glowing plastic jack o’ lantern totem! Add a timer to come on at dusk and turn off a few hours later.
I’ve had this DIY pumpkin totem in my front yard for three Halloweens now. The amount of comments I get from this easy DIY Halloween decoration is off the charts. People look at this jack ‘o lantern totem and think “I can make that.” And you can too :)
Here’s a miniature plastic pumpkin totem for a tabletop Halloween decoration. All items in the above picture are found at Dollar Tree.
Did you make this DIY Halloween decoration? Send me a picture of yours, and I’ll feature here on Scratch and Stitch.