Recycling: Frightful fun with discards

Monday, October 23rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Rebecca Perry / The Dallas Morning News

Milk cartons, tin cans and other household discards can be turned into Halloween decorations in three shakes of a bat's tail.

Following are just a couple of the "reusable" ideas from Halloween Fun: 101 Ways to Have a Safe and Fun Halloween by Eleanor Levie (Gramercy Books, 1993).

Tin-can lanterns

Remove the lid from an empty tin or aluminum can. Remove the paper label, but save it if possible. Clean the can, then fill it with water and freeze solid.

Draw a simple design on the can label or on a piece of paper. Mark dots about 1/4 inch apart along the design lines. Tape the design over the can, with the open end of the can at the top. Hammer a nail into the can at each dot, removing the nail as soon as it pierces the metal.

Empty the water after the ice melts. Set a votive candle cup in the bottom of the can.

Or, hang a series of lanterns on Christmas tree lights. To do this, hammer two pairs of holes in the top of the can, with each pair on opposite sides. Thread twine across the top of the can so that you can weave a string of Christmas lights through the twine.

Bat mobile

For this project, you need a half-gallon milk carton, black construction paper, a white or light-colored crayon, string, aluminum foil (optional), a hole punch and a stapler.

Cut all the way around the sides of the milk carton, 1 inch from the top. The top portion will be the mobile hanger; the bottom can be saved for candle making.

Cover the top of the milk carton with aluminum foil, if you like. Punch one hole in the top of the container and one along each side.

Cut four bat figures out of the black construction paper. You can use the hole punch to cut eyes for the bats, too. Draw other details on the bats with your white crayon.

Cut four different lengths of string. Tie a knot at one end of each piece. Staple the knotted end of the string to the wrong side of the bat, and tie the opposite end to one of the holes in the side of the milk carton.

Thread some string through the hole at the top of the carton, too, and hang up the mobile.

Jar lids and the top of a gallon-sized milk jug also can be used as mobile tops. Mobile figures can be cut from plastic foam cups and packing trays or from scrap cardboard.