13 Halloween Lights to Illuminate Your Home for the Holiday
Light up the foyer, dining room, or nook with these spellbinding ideas. It's our do-it-yourself projects—luminaries, lanterns, and candles alike—that lend a warming fall glow to your home all season long.
When darkness falls, that's when the magic truly sets in on October 31. At home, lighting always sets the ambience, and this is especially true for a holiday like Halloween. Arrange a tableau of lanterns set aglow, dripping candles, or specimen jars with ghoulish X-ray silhouettes. Part of the fun of Halloween is catching someone off-guard with "gotcha!" pranks; give a good jump scare by lining a lampshade with bugs and bats. We have printable templates and clip-art for all motifs—black cats, witches on broomsticks, moons and stars, as well as nightmarish faces. Skulls and jack-o'-lanterns lit from within, tombstones bathed in an otherworldly glow, witches in stark silhouette against a cauldron's fire: These are the luminous icons of the season, the unnatural standard-bearers of this most frightful holiday. Set them in place, and watch them light up the night.
Outside, the exterior of your house deserves a spotlight in the neighborhood. Mark the walkway leading up to your door with a trail of lanterns or plot the lawn with a set of tombstones, each epitaph legible from the luminous (battery-operated) glow from within. Draw eyes upward to silhouettes in the windows—add a fan behind and its spirit is movement and mystery. Outfit your porch or entryway with oversized arachnids, crows in mid-flight, and ghostly sheets of cheesecloth—then position a light projector to cast everything in perfect prominence for when trick-or-treaters come knocking on your door.
As for the light itself, any project will do. Switch it on, and enjoy the show.
Vellum Table Lanterns
When the sun goes down, set a spooky scene with these dramatic lanterns made from simple supplies and our exclusive clip-art designs. Halloween designs printed on vellum and framed in black cast a ghoulish glow. These lanterns stand on a side table (and have candles in glass holders inside).
Jack-o'-lanterns are a tradition every autumn. If you follow our carve-by-numbers technique and use clip-art patterns, you'll get beautifully textured, multilayered results. (And opt for a pale Lumina pumpkin: When lit from within, the exterior surface becomes multicolored.)
Hanging Vellum Lanterns
Giant gothic lanterns hang ominously over this witchy buffet of bubbling cauldrons and potions; make them out of black paper and vellum printed with our clip-art designs. Use monofilament to hang two battery-operated votive candles, taped end to end, inside the lanterns and use twine to suspend them. It's almost as easy as saying "abracadabra."
Fireplace and Mantel Display
Make a big bang with a tumble of pumpkins studded like the starry bands of the Milky Way. For a magical display, these pumpkins were stacked haphazardly atop one another and filled the fireplace to the brim—and, that way, their speckled designs flow freely from one to the next. A glowing candelabra sets the entire scene off.
Transform a walkway or lawn into a spooky scene with this makeshift graveyard. The "stones" are gray luminarias (paper bags) stenciled with epitaphs and trimmed into shape. Lights are placed inside them so the glow appears to emanate from the underworld.
Gather your guests 'round the table with this departed decorator as the centerpiece. A grinning skull is brimming with seasonal blooms while two bony hands clutch at taper candles.
For a not-so-spooky take on the season, use our illustrative clip-art of owls and sunbursts. To decorate these globe lanterns, brush découpage medium onto the rounded surface, smooth clip-art into place, slipping starbursts under clip-art as you go where you want to add them to design, then brush the paper and area around it with another coat of découpage medium. They're just right for any autumnal gathering.
Cast a sinister glow over any setting with a cluster of white tapers dripping with "blood" (actually red candle wax). Fill a cup or a small pail with sand, and plant white candles inside so they stand upright. Light a red candle and tip it over the white candles so the wax drips down the tops and sides, being careful not to burn yourself. Let wax cool completely before removing candles from sand.
Here's a hearth that needs no fire: Shining foliage, uninvited insects, and luminescent fireplace garniture contribute to the truly demented décor. Architectural details are outlined precisely in fluorescent yellow tape, and jagged paper cracks and painted plastic bugs cling to the wall thanks to poster putty. Fluorescent spray paint lends an unnatural elegance to faux greenery, julep cups, and candlesticks. For a finishing touch, glow-in-the-dark candles are slipped into holders, no matches required: These tapers radiate from within.
Conjure an abandoned mansion by shrouding furniture in stark-white yardage. Fluorescent tape creates extra molding, and pumpkins and silk leaves become lustrous with fluorescent paint. Surveying the room are the likenesses of phantom progenitors, enhanced with cutout eyes and fangs. Bottled glow-in-the-dark bubbles ensure amusement for impish Caspers.
Treat partygoers to devilishly poisonous potables decanted into vessels that suggest an experiment gone awry. The quinine in tonic water takes on a sinister glow in black light, even when frozen into cubes. Labels identify this "toxic" drink and other chilling cocktail components—Elixir of Doom Gin, Black Death Vodka, and Cyanide Soda—any of which would make a mad scientist cackle with glee.
For this ominous scene, monstrous birds greet visitors in the form of silhouettes (drawn and cut from black plastic weed barrier). The otherworldly light comes from green bulbs pointed at the windows inside each room.
Vaseline glass, a yellow-green Victorian era favorite, contains a tiny, harmless amount of uranium, which causes it to fluoresce under black light. (Ours are coated in fluorescent-yellow spray paint.) Dark-hued fruits, creamy-white cheeses, and inky blooms create a spectral study in contrasts among the cake stands, goblets, and other serving pieces. Gleaming cocktail picks and hanging beach balls illuminated by glow sticks magnify the scene's unsettling aura.