2020 Halloween Costume Contest
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Lightning Bug Costume

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Lightning Bug Costume

Lightning Bug Costume

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Photo #1 - Lightning Bug Photo #2 - Lightning Bug

View more awesome bug costumes designed by Heather.

Costume type:  Costumes for Women
Categories:Halloween Costumes, Animal Costumes

This homemade costume for women entered our 2011 Halloween Costume Contest, and won a special prize in the Most Creative Costume nomination!

A word from Heather, the 'Lightning Bug' costume creator:

I tell myself every year I only dress up because it makes my kids happy and I'll stop when they tell me to .... oh, who am I kidding!

While making the 13 "Insect" themed costumes this year, I made a lightning bug for myself, blinking butt included. I wanted something light-weight, that moved with me. (SOMEONE still had to chase the rogue insects from house to house Halloween night!) I also wanted something different.

Looking around online for some inspiration, I found nothing I wanted. Sorry, I'm not into sexy, skimpy costumes... No one would be thrilled to see me in one anyway, and I WAS NOT gonna spend the night freezing.

So I decided to build it out of wire and paper-mache (sort of, my homemade paste sucked so I ended up using the spray adhesive). It was light-weight, easy to move in, and the only piece was on my back so my hand were free.

The light I used in my "blinking butt" was borrowed, but it's got a flashlight at one end and the green light has two mode (solid and blink), and it was made by Energizer. (Nothing like free advertising! :O )

Below are the instructions and the illustration chart. I enjoyed making it, wearing it, and once it got dark, it really came to life. The only thing I would change is that on the wings I wish I would have used some glow-in-the-dark paint on the wings so they would show up after dark, since they were black.

Materials Needed

Heavy-duty Wire (Mechanic's Wire)
Zip ties
Glue, Spray Adhesive, or Paper Mache Glue
Black Spray Paint
Glue Sticks
Silver Glitter

Heavy-Duty Wire (Mechanic's Wire)
Zip Ties
Glue, Spray Adhesive, or Paper Mache Glue
Black Spray Paint
Strip of Fabric

White or Cream Colored Knee-high Nylons
Green Flashing LED light with a string

Bend some wire to make the frame of the body. And so it starts at about the wearer's lower neck and ends at the bottom of their behind. (See 1)

Take the body frame and hold it to the wearer's back. Bend the wires to accommodate the shape of their back, and to make sure it goes past their behind. You can add the fabric strip at this time, making sure there is enough to go over the shoulders. Under the armpits and tie at the back.

You'll need to add support wires to the oval to get the dome shape of the body. Only do this on the side that will be facing away from the wearer's back, EXCEPT for the "nub" at the bottom. Make a support wire on the side facing the wearer's back. (See 2)

Next, bend your wire to shape two separate wings. Leave a 3" tail of wire where you have come back to where you have started with the wire, and make sure the come to about the waistline of the costume wearer. Make sure they are bend on a slight angle, so you can see the body of the lightning bug once they are attached. (See 3)

Tweak the wings to the shape you want, then add some support wires. This will add some stability. Set aside. (See 4)

Start to cover the body frame and wing frames with newspapers. Ripping them into about 2' wide strips. You can either paper mache the pieced, or you can use spray adhesive and the paper strips. Or you can use foam and fabric to cover the frames. You will need to cover both sides of the frames for the wings.

Whichever method you choose, make sure you bring the materials used around the underside of the body frame, EXCEPT for the very end (the smaller rounded "nub")

If you chose to use newspapers, after the glue or paper mache has dried, use the black spray paint to cover the newspaper. You may need to do a few coats. Set aside and allow to dry completely.

Take the nylon and slip over the "nub" at the end of the body, being sure to bring the top of the nylon up onto the body about 3". if you want to, the one support wire used in the "nub" can be painted white to blend in with the nylon. The part of the nylon that is on the body can be painted black to blend in. (See 5)

Bring the wings together and secure them in the middle, leaving a small gap in between so you can attach them to the body.

Poke a hole in middle at the top of the frame of the body, and thread a zip tie through it, but DO NOT tighten it down. Just pull it together until it clicks a few times.

Poke two holes on each side of the hold you just poked in the body. Lay the wings out and poke holes in the wings to line up with the holes you poked in the body.

Thread the zip ties through both sets of holes and tighten done, snipping off the long ends as close to the "knot" as possible. (See 6)

Take the LED light and string it from the loop you made from the zip tie and make sure it drops down into the nylon a little bit. (See 7)

You can decorate you lightning bug as you so choose.
Turn the light on when you are ready to wear the costume.
A headband and pipe cleaners can be used for antenna.
Black pants and a black shirt will complete the costume.

Rating: 3.3 of 5. Votes: 14

14 votes
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