Want a quick and easy DIY Halloween costume that you can put together in 15-30 minutes? How about one that costs you ZERO to make, because you probably already have what you’ll need on hand? If so, give this adorable spider costume a try!
Essie learned about spiders a few summers ago, at a summer reading-in-the-park program sponsored by our church, and was hooked. So I wasn’t surprised when she announced she wanted to be a spider for Halloween.
What DID surprise me was how easy it turned out to be to put together a spider costume, from stuff we already had lying around the house! (And even if you don’t have all these items, you can probably acquire them for less than $10, especially if you shop children’s resale events like I do!).
So gather your supplies and get ready for one of your most adorable Halloweens ever, with this so-simple, spooky-yet-cute spider costume!
So Simple Spooky-Cute Spider Costume
What you’ll need
For the legs:
- Four wire hangers – the lighter-weight and flimsier, the better. If you regularly dispose of such things as soon as they enter your home, then ask a neighbor. Or stop by your local dry cleaner’s and ask if you can have four hangers from their recycling pile. No matter how you get them, cost = zero.
- An old pair of black pantyhose. (It’s OK if they have runs – no worries!) If you don’t have any, check your nearest dollar store or supermarket for an inexpensive pair, or try a local thrift store. Cost: zero to minimal.
- Some black elastic, which is one of the things I have on hand in my sewing stash. If you don’t, you can get some at a sewing/crafts store or a thrift store that sells crafting stuff; mine originally came from our secondhand crafting-supply store. In a pinch, you could also use several decent-sized rubber bands.
- A pair of scissors
- A needle and black thread, for a tiny bit of hand-sewing.
For the rest of the costume:
- Black clothes for your child to wear underneath that are seasonally appropriate for trick-or-treating where you live. (For us, this usually means a long-sleeve T-shirt and long pants, which I originally picked up at “Baby Consignment Sale” for maybe $4 total. But since this was a costume for Essie, I already had these items on hand in her size, from when her sister dressed up as a bumblebee a few years before. So actual cost this time around, zero.)
- Strongly recommended: a flashlight, blinking light, or reflective strip for your child to wear, so that they can be seen! We have our girls wear their camping headlamps when they trick-or-treat. Often they also wear necklaces made from the reflective ankle bands my husband and I wear when biking near dusk. The year she was a spider, Essie also borrowed a blinking tail light from my bicycle, which we pinned to the back of her extra set of legs.
The secret to making this costume work
Once you’ve got some black clothing to cover your child’s arms and legs, the only thing you have to do is make the other four “legs” of the spider. This is easier than you’d think.
To do this, I borrowed a hack used by companies who make children’s butterfly and fairy wings for dress-up. Specifically, I made the other four legs into something Essie could wear on her back, by strapping it on with elastic straps that slide over her arms like the straps on a backpack.
This is how to make your four hangers/pantyhose/elastic into a set of wearable spider legs:
Making the framework
1. One at a time, grasp each hanger by the hook firmly in one hand. With the other hand, grab the center of the bottom bar of the hanger, and pull. The goal is to bend the wire so that instead of a triangle shape, you have a long skinny diamond shape.
2. Grab the two long skinny ends of each diamond shape and bend them slightly, so that your diamond is now three-dimensional instead of lying flat. (The goal is to get something that looks like a bent spider leg.)
3. Once you’ve reshaped all four hangers into “legs”, attach them into two leg pairs by twisting two hanger necks around each other, then doing the same with the hanger-necks on the other two “legs.”
Converting your frame into “legs”
4. Cut the pantyhose into four pieces, as follows: First, cut the bottom half off of each leg. Then, cut along the front-to-back seam in the “panty” part of the pantyhose to separate the top half into two separate pieces.
5. Turn each of the top pieces inside out. Make a small knot at the end of the leg part. Turn each of the top pieces right-side-out again, so the knot is on the inside.
6. Cover one leg in each pair with one of the bottom-half pieces of pantyhose leg.
7. Twist the two pairs of legs together into a single four-legged unit by joining them at the hanger necks. Adjust angles as needed so that the legs are all going roughly in the same direction. (See picture above of the finished “legs,” all creeping along on the floor in the same plane, instead of one or two of them pointing upward.) Also make sure there are no sharp ends sticking into what will be the part against the child’s back. Stretch the ends of the pantyhose legs such that you can tie them together, over the central bundle of hanger necks.
Securing the legs together and finishing it off
8. One at a time, slide the remaining pantyhose leg pieces onto the remaining hanger-legs. Use the attached pieces of “panty” to wrap around the hanger-neck bundle, partly for padding and partly to reinforce the place where all four hanger-legs join together in the center. Leave a small tail out from the first panty piece, and tie it into a knot with the end of the other piece in such a way that the knot ends up hidden from view. Carefully baste the panty edges into place only if it’s needed to further secure the legs together; otherwise, you’re done attaching them.
9. If you already have a set of fairy wings that fit your child well, measure the elastic straps on that set and add one inch to each strap. If not, have someone hold the legs against your child’s back while you measure how much elastic you need to make straps hanging around your child’s shoulders.
10. Cut the elastic to size. Sew the ends securely to the center of the backside/underside of your spider legs.
Don’t worry if your legs aren’t locked in a rigid frame when you’re done. Essie’s set wiggles a tiny bit in the middle, but I know they aren’t coming apart because a) the two halves are literally hooked together in the middle, and b) the pieces of “panty” tied securely around the place where they meet is helping to hold the two halves together.
That’s it! There’s nothing I love better than a costume I can make in very little time, from items I already have on hand! Here’s wishing you and yours a creepy, spooky, downright adorable Halloween!
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