DIY: Upcycle Fishing Buoys into Halloween Decor

A member of our partners in the commercial fisherman community shared a jack-o-lantern she made from an old buoy, and I love this idea for several reasons:

  1. It gives new life to old buoys hanging around the yard.
  2. Halloween buoys add a playful twist to the holiday, whether you make many or just one!
  3. You can turn them into ghosts, Frankenstein, or vampires. Heck, draw a spider web...or even turn one into a spider by adding long legs somehow – maybe with old line!
  4. Kids will love it. We don't have children, but our nephews would LOVE this project!
  5. You can caption your social posts like, "A boo-uy to get you in the Halloween spirit!" Pun and run with it.
  6. Since buoys don't rot like traditional pumpkins, you can store your boo-uy for next year. Time and money in the bank.
  7. You're saving used gear from the dump. It may not be to the level of Net Your Problem, but it's a start!

I used leftover buoy paint, but any color will work for a jack-o-lantern, ghost, Frankenstein, or Vampire. Get creative – the world is your oyster!

Buoy painted with bright orange paint.

Drawing on an orange buoy with a pencil.

Orange buoy with a jack-o-lantern face.

What you'll need:

  • An old buoy
  • Gloves
  • Paint brushes (Hardware or Dollar Tree will have them.)
  • Leftover Paint
  • Permanent markers (optional)
  • Heavy duty or reflective tape (optional)
  • Pencil to sketch the face


Put on gloves to protect your boo-tiful hands, then paint the entire buoy your desired color and let dry. While the paint dries, do a quick internet search for pumpkin/ghost/Frankenstein/Vampire face ideas if you haven't already. Sketch a face on your buoy with a pencil. Then, use a marker or paint to trace your lines or cut the tape into desired shapes to make a face. Take pictures, text friends and family, or post to social media to inspire others to make their own. Happy Halloween!

For more fun tips for partners of commercial fishermen, visit

Megan Waldrep is a writer based in Ojai, California, and Wilmington, N.C. Her husband, Chris Dabney, is a second-generation California spiny lobsterman and Bristol Bay fisherman, which gives Megan plenty to dish about on her lifestyle blog for partners of commercial fishermen at

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