So Simple Spooky-Cute Spider Costume

Want an easy DIY Halloween costume you can assemble in 15-30 minutes, from things you probably have on hand? If so, give this adorable spider costume a try!

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

This is what the finished spider legs look like – creepy enough to take off on their own!

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.
Notice the reflective necklace around Essie’s neck!

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.)

This is what the hangers look like after you’ve bent them into “legs”.

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.”

Twisting two of the “legs” together at the hanger-necks

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.

Essie ready to trick-or-treat, with her blinky light attached to the center of her extra set of “legs”

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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96 thoughts on “So Simple Spooky-Cute Spider Costume”

  1. This looks SO good! You did an amazing job. I’ve never made a costume before. I’m the bad mum who always buys something from the store 🙁

    Louise x

    1. Aww, so glad you like it! And no, buying the costume doesn’t make you a “bad mum” – I’m honestly just a lazy mama who hates schlepping the kids to ten stores with me – we are enough in the suburbs that you have to drive around quite a bit to find what you want, and the traffic around us is horrendous, so it’s much easier to just stay in for the afternoon lol!

  2. I love simple and easy DIY costumes like this! This spider costume is so cute and I saw a similar one on a crawling babe the other day that was so adorable!

  3. This is such a cute costume! I love making costumes at home. The wire trick can be used with so many other things, too. Great post!

    1. So glad you liked it, Stephanie! Essie only wore it once for trick-or-treating, but wore it for several dress-up days at preschool over several years 🙂

  4. Oh my goodness, how precious is this costume! And it’s genius how you thought to put it together like that, piece by piece. Thanks for the tutorial – I love seeing these types of posts.

    1. You’re so welcome! It’s crucial to get my kids’ ideas by August so I can figure out HOW to execute what they want – this really was one of the more fun ones! 🙂

  5. What a great outfit – and so simple to make! I’m terrible at making costumes… I tend to go for the easy option and buy them lol!

    1. See, my problem is I never seem to get out of the house – traffic will eat up half the day for even the simplest errands, so as a work-at-home mama, I just stay here and work with what I’ve got lol!

  6. I love it and he looks so cute. I remember going to my daughter’s school Halloween parade to admire all those cute costumes.

    1. Haha! I still can’t quite believe Essie insisted on this one year – or that I figured out how to put this together!

    1. *Thanks* – glad it was convincing in the photos! Honestly, the hardest part was just figuring out HOW I was going to pull it off – but once I got the idea of making something that would strap on like butterfly wings, using hangers and pantyhose, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the solution I’d hypothesized actually worked!

    1. *Thanks* Sheri – please do! I hope to get at least one more up in the next few weeks, in plenty of time for this Halloween 🙂

    1. *Thanks,* Cherralle – glad you like it! (there are several other low-cost DIY ideas elsewhere on the site, so do check those out too if you like!)

  7. Aww I wish I still had littles because this is totally adorable!!!! I’m going to share this post with my cousin with a wee one…

  8. I love this idea, super cute! DIY Halloween costumes are always so fun, I love trying to come up with something creative for my son each year

  9. That is very clever! What a unique idea with the hangers. I grew up always having store-bought costumes but homemade ones can be so amazing. And you never have to worry about someone having the same one!

    1. You’re totally right about that, Rebecca! I think it was the year Essie wore this that her preschool class had about 8-9 Queen Elsas wearing the *exact same costume*! Essie was very proud NOT to get lost in the pack!

  10. I would have never thought of this, but I love the simple technique behind this costume. I’ll definitely have to keep this in mind in the future!

    1. *Thanks*, HilLesha! To be honest, it did take me awhile to figure out how I was going to engineer those extra legs – but once I had a plan, it worked out great! 🙂

  11. These costumes remind me of the ones my mom made for us as kids. She would go all out and we look amazing. Love the idea of using hangers to create spider legs and wings.

  12. Emily Smith | The Best of this Life

    What a great idea! This is so fun, even just for dress up – which both my kids love to do. Can’t believe Halloween is just around the corner.

    1. *Thanks*, Emily – goad you like it! It is great for dress-up, too – Essie LOVES putting them on and sneaking up on us, trying to scare us!

    1. Then do give it a try, Brittany! – good thing to do to recycle some of those old pantyhose many of us seem to have taking up space in the back of our closet! 🙂

  13. Yay I was waiting for the follow up to the other costumes. This is so cute! Very creative! Haha I’m trying to convince my husband we can DIY something this year.

    1. So glad you like it, Hanna! I’m hoping to get at least one more of our past costumes up between now and Halloween, maybe 2 – so do stay tuned! 🙂

  14. Flossie this is so creative and sooooo cute. You should start making lots of design and sell it on Etsy. I for one will be your first costumer. Love love.

  15. This is so practical and so creative! I always think it’s ridiculous to spend so much money on a Halloween costume. I’d much rather spend $0 and make a cute homemade costume for my kids!

    1. I agree 100%! I just can’t stomach buying a brand new costume that is made so poorly, you’re lucky if it makes it through trick-or-treating w/o falling to pieces!…

  16. Oi! So glad that The Child is now grown. I remember those make-the-costume years! She was never a spider; was more into inanimate objects like: #2 pencil (yellow sweatpants/sweatshirt, yellow paper cone worn on head), a candle, a strawberry, and (my favorite) a pre-war building. Sigh. My best creation, though, was a last-minute one. I fished out a note from her backpack saying ‘your daughter may wear a simple Halloween costume to school today’ five minutes before the bus. So I quickly drew a fish on a white teeshirt, hung a surgical mask around her neck (her Dad is a doc) and instructed her to tell all who asked that she was a ‘sturgeon’.

    1. Just be careful, if you keep the legs for dress-up (as we did), that you don’t leave them lying around in a place where they could be problematic – Essie’s were hanging on the basement door about a year later, when we had some out-of-town friends visiting, and their little boys would NOT sleep until we took those creepy legs off the door and hid them away! (oops! – forgot that they’d cast spooky shadows, too!)

  17. I spent many years as an actress. My first role was at 7 years old and I was in Charlotte’s Web. I was one of Charlotte’s baby spiders that comes out in the end. I remember putting on my spider costume and feeling nothing but joy. (Lol, as I typed that I remembered that my character’s name was Joy!) This is a great costume that I’m sure children will love!

    1. Aww, thanks for the great memory, Erica – that is awesome! That’s exactly how Essie felt when she donned her spider legs on her back! 🙂

    1. Oh, I totally agree – not only is it more cost-effective, but it’s also a lot more fun, especially when it’s this simple! 🙂

    1. OMG, didn’t think of that idea either! Actually, you could make a whole ton of variations on this theme – brown spiders, brown fuzzy spiders, etc! 🙂 Thanks for the suggestion, Susan!

  18. Such a neat and easy costume! I love how it turned out. Super cute and simple but it looks like you spent hours on it. That’s my type of costume! Bonus for being cost effective.

    1. Me, too – I was pleasantly surprised at how great the legs looked, in the end! And once I had all the pieces together, it honestly didn’t take that long to make! 🙂

    1. You know, I hadn’t even thought of that! – but sure, if you have a butterfly wing set that’s torn, might as well re-bend the wires and recover with black pantyhose for an all-new look! Great thinking!

  19. I am all for a free to minimal cost costume. I can’t believe how much they are charging for these elaborate costumes these days. It’s one day of wearing a costume. Why should I pay 30-50 bucks for it. This looks easy to make as well. I only have to convince my son to give it a try.

    Thrifting Diva

    1. If you don’t have any luck convincing him to be a spider, check out my other DIY Halloween costumes – maybe he would go for the ghost instead? (They are all around $10 or less to make, and only the ghost was complicated or time-consuming, but thanks to my post, you’ll know about the pitfalls!)

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