Thanksgiving candles

Halloween has come and gone once again, leaving in its wake a trail of spiders, witch hats, and a lingering sugar high that may well last into late November.

Now the question is, what does one do with all the spooky decorations? Most are easily boxed up and stored to be reused next year, but what about all those tiny pumpkins and gourds that so brightly adorned your mantle and front porch?

You can compost them or keep them around for Thanksgiving decor, but you can also employ a little crafting ingenuity to create a fun candle that will make your home feel warm and inviting until the snow blows.

This simple tutorial teaches you how to create festive Thanksgiving candles out of leftover gourds and mini-pumpkins using just a few basic supplies. With natural beeswax and lead-free wicks, hollowed out mini-pumpkins are transformed into cute, waste-free, natural DIY candles.

The process is simple, and a perfect activity for little hands to help. Just make sure adults handle the power tools and hot wax.


  1. Start by drilling a hole in the gourd or pumpkin to hollow it out. Alternately, use a knife to cut the top off and scoop out the seeds as though making a tiny jack-o-lantern.
  2. Measure and cut a lead-free wick so that it extends about  one-quarter inch above the top of the gourd.
  3. Melt pure beeswax in a tin can or double boiler until the wax becomes liquid. 
  4. Place the cut wick inside the gourd and hold it centered while you pour in the melted beeswax.
  5. After you have poured the beeswax, place the finished candles where they won’t be disturbed and allow them to cool and harden.

Not only is this a great way to repurpose Halloween decorations, but these homemade candles readily replace store-bought versions that may contain artificial waxes, lead-containing wicks, and a host of artificial fragrances, too.

When complete, these natural candles make great seasonal decor, thoughtful hostess gifts, or, paired with a sweet note, they can become wonderful Thanksgiving gifts for your children’s hard-working teachers.

Feature image courtesy of rjcox

Editor’s note: Originally published on November 6, 2014, this article was updated in November 2018.

By Madeleine Somerville

Madeleine Somerville is the author of All You Need Is Less: An Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Living and Stress-Free Simplicity. She is a writer, wannabe hippie and lover of soft cheeses. She lives in Edmonton, Canada, with her daughter. You can also find Madeleine at her blog, Sweet Madeleine.