Chris Hackett, who helps organize the annual event in Westminster, Vermont, offers these tips:
Reach out to every family along the luminaria route and get them to “buy in” to the event. Westminster’s display is a volunteer effort put on by the residents of the village, with no funding or official support from the town government.
Solicit donations from local businesses, civic groups, and individuals to purchase votive candles for the display. Request donations (or discounted prices) for white lunch-size paper bags and dry sand from local supermarkets and/or hardware stores. (Highway-department sand is often too wet to use with paper bags.)
Put just enough sand into each bag to weigh it down: about an inch or so.
Enlist your local fire department for help in transporting and setting out the luminarias; depending on the number, flatbed trailers may be useful.
Place bags at even intervals, about seven or eight feet apart.
Use votive candles that can burn for 10 to 12 hours. Use a barbeque-style lighter while there’s still daylight left.