DIY Halloween Light Bulbs Ghost and Pumpkin

Decorative painted light bulbs are so fun, but did you know you can paint your own to use as fall decor? This tutorial shows you just how to paint light bulbs to turn them into a ghost or pumpkin that adds perfectly to your Halloween centerpiece. What a fun idea to upcycle old lightbulbs!

On a budget? Check out my list of frugal Dollar Store Halloween craft ideas!

How to make Halloween Decorative Light Bulbs for table decor

Ghost and Pumpkin Decorative Light Bulbs

I never thought I would be reusing lightbulbs, but in the world of recycling as much as I can, I realized they are perfect for using in fun holiday centerpieces! An old lightbulb can become a totally new piece of art in your home with just a bit of paint and imagination!

I already repurpose coffee containers, have created some super fun ideas for repurposed wall hooks, and even use light bulbs to make planters in the spring. Why wouldn’t I add this fun idea for Halloween to my list of crafts I have completed?!

Completed halloween decorative light bulbs painted and sitting on egg cups to display with pumpkins in background

What Lightbulbs Should I Use for this Craft?

I prefer upcycling when possible, so for this craft, use any dead lightbulbs you have saved from when they were changed out earlier in the year. If you don’t have any, make a trip to your local discount store and grab a package of any wattage inexpensive incandescent lightbulbs.

If you cannot locate incandescent lightbulbs in your area, any lightbulb will work, you just want it to have the bulb shape as shown.

Can These Be Used in Lights After Being Painted?

No. While I have not tested them in light sockets after painting, I cannot in good conscience recommend using them for light after painting. Not only are many paints flammable and create a fire hazard, but they could also potentially melt and create a mess in your light or flooring.

Painted orange pumpkin decorative light bulbs idea

Only use these painted decorative light bulbs as decor. They are not to be placed in a light socket.

How Should I Display these Painted Decorative Light Bulbs?

These are a perfect fall decor piece that can be placed in a large basket or bowl as part of a centerpiece. I love adding some straw or hay to a basket and then adding a few of these to the top. It keeps them nestled in and safe from breaking, while also showcasing how cute they are! Ideal for sitting on a buffet at a party!

You can also add a ribbon to them and use it as an ornament for your Halloween trees this year. Hanging them from the ceiling, a doorway, or even your mantle are also options for displaying your unique painted decorative light bulbs for Halloween.

Two completed halloween decorative light bulbs sitting on tan cloth

Supplies for decorative light bulb ghosts and pumpkins

  • Lightbulbs
  • Craft paint in black, orange, and white (or whatever colors preferred)
  • Paintbrush
  • Ribbon or twine
  • Permanent marker

Supplies for halloween decorative lightbulbs

How to Make Halloween Decorative Light Bulbs

Gather all of your supplies and have them ready on your workstation for easy access. For making anything with paints involved, I always like to have a smock or apron to keep my shirt clean. I may also keep an extra cup of water and some paper towels for cleaning the brush between colors.

Painting light bulb for halloween decoration

You will hold one of the lightbulbs and cover the entire surface with orange craft paint to begin the pumpkin bulb. This works best if you are able to tie it up to a hook above your work surface so you don’t have to hold it while the paint dries.

Drawing face on orange painted decorative light bulb

For ghost decorative light bulbs, you will coat the entire bulb including the stem with white paint.

Once the bulbs paint has dried, you will move on to creating their faces. You can do this with a black permanent marker. Alternately, you can use the marker to outline the design and black craft paint to fill it in. Using craft paint will typically work better on top of the other paint colors, but test both ways to find what works best for you.

Tying a ribbon on the ghost decorative light bulbs

Once the paint dries, you will then coat the top (stem) with green to make it look like a stem.

Once your decorative bulbs are completely dry, you can tie ribbons on top to hang them, or simply display them in a basket.

Two decorative light bulbs decorated for halloween sitting on wooden stool

Video Tutorial:


Printable Step by Step Photo Tutorial:

Yield: 2

DIY Halloween Light Bulbs Ghost and Pumpkin

Make these adorable Halloween Decorative Light Bulbs out of repurposed lightbulbs! Paint, ribbons, and imagination are all you need!

Prep Time
5 minutes

Active Time
25 minutes

Total Time
30 minutes


Estimated Cost


  • Light bulbs
  • Craft paint (green, white, and black)
  • Permanent marker
  • Ribbon or twine

Recommended Products

My favorite Etsy Halloween products.

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