Halloween Jack O’Lantern Craft – with ‘Light Up’ Eyes

Bring the spirit of Halloween to life with this amazing craft and make your own glowing jack o’lanterns! When you move the pumpkin stem up and down, the jack o’lantern’s eyes and mouth will turn from dark to light. Spoooooky!

This is a great project for young kids at a Halloween party, families at home and students in the classroom.

Gather up your craft supplies and get ready for a fun and easy craft!

  • Table Of Contents:
    • Materials
    • Instructions
    • Tips & Troubleshooting
    • Benefits of This Jack O’Lantern Craft For Kids
    • Final Thoughts


  • Paper plates
  • Orange paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Construction paper


Step 1)

Take a paper plate and cut out two round circles for eyes and a small jack o’lantern mouth. An adult should supervise older kids using scissors, or do all the paper plate cutting for younger children.

paper plate jack o'lantern

Step 2)

Paint the cut paper plate orange as well as a second whole paper plate. Trace a pumpkin stem shape onto a green piece of paper and cut out. 

orange paper plate and green paper pumpkin stem

Step 3)

Cut a small rectangle of orange construction paper and a larger rectangle of black construction paper then glue them to the bottom of your green paper pumpkin stem. 

attach orange and black paper to stem

Step 4)

Take the orange paper plate that has a face cut into it and flip it over. Tape a strip of orange paper construction paper onto the back of the plate. 

Slide the pumpkin stem in between this paper plate and the strip of orange paper. 

If you fold the bottom edge of the black paper at the end of your pumpkin stem a bit, it will help keep the stem in place so it doesn’t fully slide out when you play with it.

inside of jack o'lantern craft

Step 5)

If you’d like to seal your craft shut, glue the second orange paper plate to the first. Add some thin curled strips of green paper to the top of your paper plate to make your pumpkin stem look more vine-like. 

If a regular glue stick isn’t sealing your plates together, you might have an adult use hot glue for this step.

glue jack o'lantern pieces together

Step 6)

Play! When you pull the stem up and down, the jack o’lantern eyes and mouth ‘turn colors’ from black to orange just like you’re lighting a candle and blowing it out. 

finished light up jack o lantern craft

Video Instructions

Prefer watching videos for your craft instructions? Check out the YouTube Channel for Crafty Kids Play and watch the video tutorial for this Jack O’Lantern Paper Plate Craft here.

Tips & Troubleshooting

Preparation is Key

Gather all materials before starting the project. This includes having the paper plates, paint, paintbrushes, glue, scissors, markers, and construction paper ready. Pre-cutting some elements, especially for younger children, can help streamline the process.

Supervise Cutting

Ensure that an adult supervises any cutting, especially when dealing with sharp scissors. For younger children, it’s safer for adults to do all the cutting.

Loose Pumpkin Stem Issues

If the pumpkin stem keeps sliding out, ensure that the strip of orange paper on the back is taped securely. Folding the bottom edge of the black paper at the end of the pumpkin stem will also help keep it in place.

Adding Details

Use markers or crayons to add more details to your jack o’lantern, such as lines to mimic the pumpkin’s texture or additional decorations around the face.

Creative Variations

Instead of using construction paper for the stem, consider using green pipe cleaners for a more textured and 3D look. You can also use glitter glue or stickers to decorate the pumpkin further with little details. Each of the pumpkin faces you make could be unique; give your jack o’lantern happy, sad or spooky facial features!

paper plate pumpkin craft

Benefits of This Jack O’Lantern Craft For Kids

Enhances Creativity and Imagination

Crafting is a great way to help children to express themselves creatively. Designing their own jack o’lantern faces encourages them to use their imagination and come up with unique designs for their cute pumpkins.

Improves Fine Motor Skills

Using scissors to cut out shapes and handling glue to assemble the parts of the craft helps children improve their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills by building muscles in their little hands. Holding a paintbrush and painting within specific areas of the plate enhances precision and control.

Boosts Cognitive Development

Completing the craft involves following step-by-step instructions, which enhances the ability of older children to follow sequences and understand processes. The interactive nature of the craft, where pulling the stem changes the jack o’lantern’s face, helps children understand the concept of cause and effect.

Provides Educational Opportunities

Crafting a jack o’lantern can be a fun way to teach children about Halloween traditions and the history behind them. Crafting might just be the best way to give kids hands-on experience participating in holidays and traditions.

Final Thoughts

This jack o’lantern craft is so much fun to play with after you make it! Kids will love watching the jack o’lantern’s face change as they pull the stem up and down, mimicking the effect of lighting and blowing out a candle. It’s a wonderful way to combine creativity, learning, and play.

Stick around Crafty Kids Play for more fun crafts and great ideas to keep kids entertained and learning.

Happy crafting, and happy Halloween!

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