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Paper Halloween Lanterns for Spooky Decor

These paper Halloween lanterns are so easy for kids to make! You’ll only need a few simple supplies and you can have cute holiday decor to light the way for trick or treaters. Free templates included.

halloween paper bag lanterns

Guys – I’m a little behind in the Halloween decorating this year. Okay . . . that’s a lie . . . I’m a lot behind.

So far I’ve put out a wreath on the front door, some skeletons on the front bench, and a small Dracula on the table right inside the front door.

That’s it.

Actually there’s one more thing. I’ve got my Halloween felt ball garland on the mantel. But even with that? It’s not enough. Not even close to enough.

For being as passionate as I am about the holiday, it just feels like I need to “zhuzh it up” around here before the trick or treaters come.

The inside of my home is a lost cause at this point, but there’s plenty of time for a few more outdoor decorations.

Recently my little neighbor friend Ronan let me know that he was excited to trick or treat at my house, and he mentioned that he liked decorations but “nothing too scary.”

Which got me thinking. I want some Halloween outdoor decor that is easy to make, fast, and isn’t scary. How about some paper Halloween lanterns to light the way for the kids that night?

diy halloween paper lanterns

This easy kids’ Halloween craft fits Ronan’s criteria of not being scary, and it fits all of mine too. And if it’s a kids’ craft, that means the project is simple enough for adults as well.

It’s also not expensive, and once the holiday is over you can recycle the bags or simply flatten them and store them to display again next year.

Oh and if you can’t draw? I have templates for you!!

paper halloween lanterns

Before you get started on these paper Halloween luminaries, you need to gather your supplies. Here’s what you need:

  • Paper bags – white is preferable over brown, but both will work
  • Black permanent markers
  • Flameless votives – do NOT use regular votives with paper bags. You want battery operated votive candles
  • Templates

The templates include eight designs: a jack o’ lantern pumpkin, bat, ghost, skull, owl, hand coming out of the ground, black cat, and spider. Use any of them – use them all!

Or you can freehand them. Some kids (and adults) want to do their own thing and that’s always okay. Aren’t these so fun for the holidays?

These cuties will light the way for all those littles wanting their candy. Of course you can use them indoors as well. These lanterns are amazingly simple Halloween party decor.

I hope Ronan likes them and can’t wait to hear what he thinks!

Halloween paper lanterns

Tip: If it is a windy night and the bags will not stay still, add sand or rocks to the bottom of the bag around the votive.

halloween paper lanterns diy

Get the printable instructions for this craft below:

Yield: 3 lanterns

Paper Halloween Lanterns

halloween paper lanterns diy

Learn how to make these cute paper luminaries for Halloween using bags and permanent markers! Free templates included.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $1


  • White paper bags
  • Flameless votives


  • Black permanent markers


  1. If using a template, print it out. Gather the paper bags and permanent markers.votive candles, black marker, and a white paper bag
  2. Use the black marker to draw faces, shapes, or silhouettes on the paper bags.jack o lantern face drawn on a paper bag
  3. Open the paper bags and place a flameless votive inside, then line the sidewalk with your bags.luminary down inside a white paper bag

Did you make this project?

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Did you enjoy these paper Halloween lanterns? Let me know in the comments! I’d also love for you to check out these other fun holiday ideas:

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