Halloween Ideas

Turn a Wood Pallet Into a Halloween Jack-O'-Lantern

Spook up your front porch, walkway, foyer or any dark corner with this rustic recycling project that uses a (free!) wood pallet to craft a Halloween pumpkin you can display year after year.

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Pallet Jack-o'-Lantern Head: Beauty 1 Sam Henderson

Materials Needed:

  • wood pallet
  • 1/2" mdf cut into (2) 15"x15" squares
  • 1"x1/2" craft strips: (2) 15" and (2) 14-1/2"
  • 1/2" finishing nails
  • 3/4" nails
  • spiral saw
  • orange craft paint and wide paint brush
  • tap light or battery-operated votive
  • wire

Disassemble Pallet and Lay Out Boards

First, break apart the pallet and cut the boards into 12 to 16 pieces that are 22" long and 3 to 4 pieces that are 17" long. Next, cut 2 of the wood craft strips into 15" segments and 2 into 14-1/2" segments. Place the pallet pieces on the floor with the 15" x 15" mdf board in the middle, creating a cross shape. For the front and back of the box, lay the pallet pieces 1/2" past the edge of the mdf board. Measure the space in between the two outside pieces and subtract 1/2". Use that measurement to cut the remaining board for the middle, if necessary. Repeat for the sides; however, the side pieces should not extend beyond the edge of the mdf boards so that once your box is assembled, the front and back boards will overlap and nail into the side boards.

Begin Assembly

Once your pallet boards are in place, attach the 15" strips to the front and back pieces 1/2" from the top and 1/2" from the sides using 3/4" nails (Image 1). Then attach the 14-1/2" strips to the side pallet pieces 1/2" from the top and 3/8" from the sides using 3/4" nails (Image 2). Bring the front, back and side pieces together with the mdf board at the bottom and the craft strips at the top; clamp together with long clamps and use finishing nails to secure the joints at the corners (Image 3). Turn the box on its side and secure the bottom of the pallet boards to the mdf board with 3 or 4 finishing nails per board (Image 4).

Finish Pumpkin Assembly

Lay the other mdf board on top of the box resting on the craft strips. Line up the two outside pieces with the edge of the box. Measure the space between them and subtract 1/2". Use that measurement to cut the middle piece if necessary. Next insert a 1-1/2" wood screw through the center of the middle pallet piece on the top from the back of the wood through to "good" side (Image 1). This screw will later be used to attach the stem to the top of the pumpkin. Nail the top pallet pieces to the mdf board with finishing nails (Image 2). For the pumpkin's stem, break some of the pallet scraps and find two pieces that can be glued back to back for a stem, apply wood glue and clamp the pieces together to dry while you finish the project (Image 3).

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