Spooky DIY totems

October 2016

Here’s a terrific idea for Halloween: two fun DIY projects using recycled containers that you can do with the kids!

Whether displayed at the front door or in the window, or used as eye-catching lanterns that your kids can take along for trick-or-treating, your creativity will shine!


Required materials

  • Milk cartons
  • Permanent marker
  • X-ACTO-type knife
  • Foam brush
  • Black paint or chalk paint
  • Glow sticks
  • String
  • Chalk (optional, if using chalk paint only)


  1. Step 1

    On the side opposite of the spout, draw 2 faces of a monster, ghost or skeleton on the milk carton, one below the other, using a permanent marker

  2. Step 2

    With an X-ACTO-type knife, carefully cut out the faces.

  3. Step 3


  4. Step 4

    Cover the milk carton with black paint to give it a completely uniform look. Attach a glow stick to the cap of the carton’s spout using string, so it hangs inside the carton.





  • Rinse the milk cartons well before using.
  • A small X-ACTO-type knife is better for cutting out small areas.
  • Kids will find a foam brush easier for painting.
  • Apply several thin layers of paint rather than one thick one. This way, the paint won’t run and you’ll avoid streak marks.
  • If you opt for chalk paint, your children will be able to draw, write or personalize their totem as they like!
  • Let the black chalk paint dry for at least 3 days before decorating it.
  • Black paint will give your totem a more solid, opaque look so that in the dark the illuminated faces stand out more.
  • You can also run a string from one side of the carton to the other to create a handle and transform it into a lantern. Convenient and useful for making sure your little one is visible when they go trick-or-treating!