ByKimberly Button

Oct 28, 2014

It’s just not Halloween without a Jack O’Lantern.

Flickering light inside a spooky carved pumpkin is a symbol of the holiday. Happily, there are a surprising number of ways to light up your Halloween pumpkin in an eco-friendly way – still tempting all those spooky trick or treaters.

The good news is that most of them involve repurposing items that can be used throughout the year. You save money, while reducing waste. Definitely a treat!

  • Flameless Candles Perhaps you already have some of these decorating wonders in a drawer somewhere. Giving the illusion of a real flame, battery-operated candles are a popular way of decorating year round without the worry of real fire. Add a few inside your jack-o-lantern, and then reuse throughout the home for any time you want the charm of a flickering flame.
  • LED String Lights Whether using a strand of twinkle lights or rope lighting, adding a length of LED lights inside a pumpkin gives you plenty of unique options to illuminate your  jack-o-lantern. Choose white clear lights, or give it a special touch with colored, flashing or strobing lights. Consider adding more than one strand to really give your Halloween decoration a bright glow. This eco-friendly lighting alternative is even better because it can be reused as part of your Christmas decorations just a few weeks later.  Re-purposing so good its scary.
  • Solar Yard Lights Borrow a couple solar lights from your landscaping to add a glow inside your pumpkin. You will need to remove the light each morning, and charge in the sun before replacing it back in the pumpkin each night.
  • LED Bike Light Got a flashing bright light on your bike for night riding? It can work to illuminate a small pumpkin from the inside, too.
  • Glow Sticks If you want to save on batteries or electricity costs, consider using glow sticks for a few nights of pumpkin lighting. All you need to do is activate the glow stick for instant lighting in a variety of available colors.
  • Flashlights Repurpose an emergency light that you already have at home into Halloween illumination. It can be an eco-friendly alternative if you are using rechargeable batteries, or a flashlight that is recharged by solar charge or hand crank. Don’s forget to return it to your emergency stash afterwards.
  • Small Lamps Perhaps you have a tiny lamp at home that can easily fit in a pumpkin. If you situate a jack-o-lantern by an electrical outlet, you can easily repurpose your home decor to Halloween lighting. Allow easy access into the back of the pumpkin for an electrical cord. Battery operated lamps can work, too, without the need to place a pumpkin by a source of electricity.
  • Soy or Beeswax Candles There is nothing wrong with burning a candle the old fashioned way inside a Halloween pumpkin. Paraffin is often made from petroleum products, though, and many candle wicks can contain toxic chemicals. Choose a soy wax or beeswax candle instead, with an all-cotton wick for eco-friendly light.

Looking to make more than just your pumpkin eco friendly this Halloween?  Check out Carving Out a Different Kind of Halloween.

Feature image courtesy of Peter Dutton

By Kimberly Button

Kimberly Button is the author of The Everything Guide to a Healthy Home and the Editor-in-Chief of GetGreenBeWell , featuring modern, sane ideas for living a non-toxic life. A professional journalist for nearly two decades, Button has written for magazines such as Martha Stewart's Whole Living, American Airlines, AAA, Sierra, National Geographic Traveler, and Vegetarian Times. Visit for more information.