Years ago, I saw these glow stick spiders on the Martha Stewart show. All the credit for this Halloween DIY decor idea goes to her! I made our first set of these in 2011, and we used the same styrofoam balls to recreate them every year through 2017.
After 7 years of use, the balls were toast, so we tossed them when we sold our house in preparation for our RV trip.
Now we get to decorate for Halloween again, and it’s not a spooky holiday in our family without these super simple and relatively inexpensive glow stick spiders.
- 2 styrofoam balls per spider- one larger than the other, representative of a head and body
- 1 thick glow stick for each spider body
- 8 glow stick necklaces or 16 glow stick bracelets per spider body
- 1 hook per spider body
- floral wire or clear thread
- hot glue gun
The styrofoam balls can be pretty pricey, especially if you get big ones (my biggest one for this was priced at $17). The big box craft stores sell these in the floral department, and they usually have a 40-50% off coupon on their apps that you can use for a single item. I happened to hit Michael’s up last week when I was able to stack an additional 20% off on top of that!
An important note about timing!
Since you’re putting these together with glow sticks, they will only glow for however many hours your glow sticks stay activated. So I always put our spiders together and hung them about an hour before we left to tick-or-treat.
Activate (by bending) your big glow sticks. These came in a combo pack, but you can usually buy these by themselves, too. Don’t worry too much about the shape. They all work the same. You just need them to be at least 4 inches long.
Push the stick into your largest ball (the body). Don’t stress about perfection. Leave half of it out.
Now mash your smaller ball, the head, onto the stick. Push both balls together until none of the stick is showing.
We made a baby and a momma!
As you’re doing this, you can have your kids (or partner) help you activate all the legs! Naturally, this is the part my litter of children always fight over.
If you have bracelets, join two together per leg.
And just stick 4 on each side for a proper spider.
We used necklaces for momma’s long legs.
You may be ok just pushing your hooks into the spider (for the first year- more on that later), but I would recommend hot gluing them in there just to be safe.
To hang, clear fishing line or thread is probably best. We only had some floral wire hanging around this time, and it worked fine! Tie one end to your hook, then wrap around a tree branch or awning outside.
When it’s dark, the bodies of the spiders really glow! It’s a little hard to tell from these pictures.
These spiders have always been conversation starters with trick-or-treaters at our house! Lots of people comment on them. And the best part is that at the end of the night, when we are all out of candy, I take them down, pull them apart, and hand out the still-glowing glow sticks to the last trick-or-treaters. They are always SO excited!
That’s a big reason why I wait until the last minute to activate the glow sticks- so they will still have some life left at the end of the night.
After we pull out the glow sticks, we store the balls in a plastic container with the Halloween decor for next year.
A note about re-use!
Next year, and every year after, you’ll probably have to hot-glue the glow sticks into the body because the holes will get too big to keep them in snugly. You don’t have to use a ton, and the sticks will still easily pull out at the end of the night. You can get 5-6 years of use out of these! I think we will try to add to our collection each year until we have a yard full of glow stick spiders.