In our house, the Nightmare Before Christmas is a favorite Halloween movie. It is just so much fun and we love the characters. So, when making this, I loved the idea of it becoming a Jack Skellington Halloween Garland. Those little round white ghost heads soon reminded me of this movie and became a great addition to a whole Nightmare Before Christmas Halloween decor theme. If you love the movie, or just like garlands that are also lights, this is a great project to create.
Jack Skellington Halloween Garland
While most of the time my crafts are kid-friendly, this is one that just isn't ideal for kids to make on their own. The individual ping pong balls themselves are great for kids to decorate, but when it comes time to cut the holes and string the lights, it's just something better for an experienced adult. That said, it's such a cute idea, you have to get the whole family involved making it!
If you aren't as big a fan of the movie as I am, then this can just be a cute ghost garland with twinkle lights. The name doesn't matter - the cute project does! And this one, it's definitely a project you are going to love adding to your house this Halloween season.
I love the idea of hanging this above a candy buffet with these cute Halloween spider bowls filled with candy and popcorn.
What Else Can I Use to Make This Instead of Ping Pong Balls?
The real question here is more about whether you want this to be a lighted garland or not. If you want to use twinkle lights as I did, you need to use something round and easy to see through.
Ping pong balls are small, round, plastic, and somewhat transparent so the light inside will glow nicely. The only other option I have found that works for that is to find small ornament balls or light globes. Sometimes, you can even buy outdoor camping lights that are already round and can be painted to look like ghosts.
If you aren't worried about lighting the garland, you can use ping pong balls, golf balls, wooden balls, or even styrofoam balls for this. You could even use balloons and paper mache over them to create a little round ball to paint and decorate.
Tin cans are another option for making a garland with twinkle lights, but they would look something like this upcycled tin can hanging ghost decoration and less like the ping pong ball ghosts.
What Paint Works Best on Ping Pong Balls?
For this, I simply used a black paint pen. You could probably use a Sharpie or other permanent marker to add the faces onto yours. If you really wanted detail, painting might work with craft paint, but your best bet would be a permanent pen or marker for making the faces stick to the plastic.
How Can I Make the Hole for Lights?
I used a wood-burning tool that I already had on hand for other projects. This is an easy option that quickly melts the plastic and creates a hole just where I want it to sit. The problem is, this would be dangerous to use with kids and maybe expensive if you don't already have it on hand. Below are some other options you can use to create a hole in a ping pong ball.
- Use a drill with a small bit and gently press on the ball until it pokes through.
- Add the hole with a hammer and nail.
- Use a screw and screwdriver to cut a hole through the top.
- Cut the hole with a sharp knife.
Why Aren't All of the Faces Like Jack's?
This started out as just an idea for a ghost garland, then I found myself making more and more of the faces look like the traditional Jack Skellington look. The thing is, as Jack moves and talks, his face changes, so why wouldn't they look a bit different? It really doesn't matter that they are all identical. Make yours all the same or as a variety like I did. It will look great no matter what.
If you want something a bit more lighthearted to use as a garland, then you'll like this yarn pumpkin garland instead. It's super easy to make and works all fall, not just for Halloween.
How to Make a Jack Skellington Halloween Garland
Make a hole in the top of each ping pong ball using your preferred tool. You want one ball per light on the twinkle lights string.
Push the light through the holes in the tops of the ping pong balls until it is just secured.
Draw a ghost face onto each of the ping pong balls.
Add different smiles, round eyes, square eyes, slits or stitches, and different looks to create unique faces.
Once happy with all of the faces, hang your garland from the mantle, wall, or porch.
Add your own unique looks to the faces to create a cute garland that lights up a space while adding decor.
More Halloween Crafts and Ideas
There are so many ideas out there for Halloween decorations. I absolutely love that you can make it spooky and creepy for a haunted house, or cute and fun for kids' parties. There have been hundreds and thousands of decorations created through the years, and many I have recreated myself. Below are a few of my favorites that we've shared here and I hope you too will enjoy this year in your own Halloween decor.
- 15 Halloween Trees and Creative Ways to Prepare and Decorate Them
- Spooky Halloween Characters from Toilet Paper Rolls
- 25 Adorable DIY Halloween Decorations You Can Knit or Crochet
- 25 Gruesome DIY Haunted House Props to Make Your Halloween the Scariest Ever
- Fun and Easy Halloween Clothespin Bat Decorations
- 20 Spooky and Fun Handprint and Footprint Halloween Crafts
If you don't want to worry about making holes in ping pong balls, you could definitely pick up already strung colored ball lights or even basic white ball lights. These are usually found in camping supply or outdoor living sections of stores. They can then be drawn on to create the ghost faces and strung up indoors or outdoors as desired.
Active Time 20 minutesTotal Time 20 minutesDifficulty EasyEstimated Cost $5
- Using a burning tool or knife, add a small hole in the ping pong balls, one for each light, and just big enough for the light to fit through;
- Push the light through the holes in the tops of the ping pong balls;
- Draw ghost faces onto each ball including ones with big eyes and stitches for mouths;
- Once all ping pong balls are attached to the lights you can hang as a decoration or light around your home for Halloween.
Use pre-strung balls found in the camping section and simply draw faces ona s desired.
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Finished Project Gallery
I love that this can add light to the room at night and can just be a cute decoration during the daytime.
Each ping pong ball gives it a unique look and can be customized to happy or scary, depending upon your mood.
You'll love how this looks alongside other ghostly decorations around your home!