These DIY Garbage Bag Ghosts are a simple last minute Halloween DIY project, made from simple items you have in your home right now.
For more ways to make this the best holiday, check out all of our Halloween posts.
There are so many people in our neighborhood who go all out for Halloween. One house has about a dozen Halloween inflatables. And there’s another that has two of those giant skeletons and an entire pirate ship.
And then there’s us, who have a small handful of mostly homemade decorations.
So when my friend made some trash bag ghosts a couple years ago, I thought it was such a brilliant idea. They were a really easy and cheap decoration.
The best part is that you only cut up one of the bags. The rest are kept intact. So you’re not even being wasteful.
If you love this idea too, just follow our step-by-step instructions to find out how to make these ghosts for your home.
If you’re looking for more Halloween ghost crafts, you’re in luck. Check out our list of Easy Halloween Ghost Craft Ideas for ideas of crafts like wine cork ghosts, toilet paper roll ghosts (which are perfect to make with small children), and more.
How To Make DIY Garbage Bag Ghosts:
Open one of the garbage bags.
Quick note: You want to use garbage bags that are made to fit small office or bathroom garbage pails. You don’t want to use garbage bags that are the size of a large kitchen garbage pail. Those would make a comically large ghost decoration (and honestly, would look pretty ridiculous in your front lawn).
Ball up six of the remaining bags and stick them into the bottom center of the open garbage bag.
Use the last bag to tie a knot to create a neck.
If it’s easier for you, you can use a small piece of butcher’s twine or a rubber band to secure the bags in the head before tying the last garbage bag around the neck.
Squish the bags around until you form an oval-ish shaped head.
Draw the ghost’s face onto the head. Be sure to draw the face large enough that you can see the face from the street.
If you’re making a bunch of these, draw a bunch of different expressions. You can make one with a spooky face, another with a funny face, some with a serious face. Be creative.
Cut the bottom of the bag with the scissors into multiple strips that can blow in the wind.
If you have large hedges in your front yard, they’re the perfect place to tie up your ghosts. Use the sides of the tie that you used for his neck and tie the ghost to the hedge.
Prop up the ghost’s head and stuff a little more hedge around the neck area to assure that the trash bag ghost stays in place.
If you don’t have any hedges in your front lawn, you can make a small hole in the top of the head and thread a tiny bit of fishing line through it. Then, you can use that loop to affix him to a garden stake, your front door, or columns on your front porch.
One Halloween is over, gently untie the garbage bag from the hedge and from around the ghost’s neck. Then, take out the six garbage bags that you used as the stuffing for the head. You can reuse all seven of those. The only garbage bag you’ll need to throw away is the one that you drew on, not because you drew on it but because you cut slits so now it won’t be able to hold any trash.
DIY Garbage Bag Ghosts: Frequently Asked Questions
When my friend originally made these, she used one larger garbage bag and stuffed it with plastic bags from grocery store checkout to make the head. You can do that if your grocery store uses white bags. Some of our stores here use blue or tan bags, which would show through.
If you do use grocery store bags, you’re going to want to make sure that when you’re balling them up, the letters are inside. If not, they’ll show through behind the ghost face.
We don’t recommend using tissue paper to stuff the ghost’s head. Since these are outdoor decorations, the tissue paper could get ruined in the rain and the ghost’s head would deflate.
We use a black marker to draw our faces because the dark color is easiest to see from the street, which is the goal of these.
If you want, you can use a different colored marker. Just know it might be hard to see your ghosts that way.
If you want to make glowing ghostly figures, you can crack a glow stick and stick it up in the head, above the garbage bag that you’re using for the neck. It’ll give them an eerie touch at night.
Personally, I would only light these up on Halloween or if you’re having a Halloween party. Since glow sticks don’t last forever, you’d have to untie and retie these every day to make them glow every night. That feels like more effort than I would want to put into it.
- 8 2.6 gallon white garbage bags
- Black permanent marker
- Open one of the garbage bags.
- Ball up six of the remaining bags and stick them into the bottom center of the open garbage bag.
- Use the last bag to tie a knot to create a neck.
- Squish the bags around until you form an oval-ish shaped head.
- Draw the ghost’s face onto the head. Be sure to draw the face large enough that you can see the face from the street.
- Cut the bottom of the bag with the scissors into multiple strips that can blow in the wind.
- Use the sides of the tie that you used for his neck and tie the ghost to the hedge. Prop up the ghost’s head and stuff a little more hedge around the neck area to assure that the trash bag ghost stays in place.
Did you make these DIY Garbage Bag Ghosts? How did they turn out? Let us know in the comments.