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Hallowe’en, cheap and easy: dive-bombing potato spiders

Are you getting sick of Hallowe’en yet? Shhhhh, yeah: me, too. But you know why I get sick of it? Because so many ‘experts’ seem to think we have the time to be experts, too. There’s a time and place for perfect Jell-O moulds of brains, and individually decorated cupcakes, but if you’re living fast and on the cheap like me, well, I’m just not sure when the time for the Jell-O is. So for those of you out there like me, who grew up with homemade holidays made of popsicle sticks and pasta art, here’s a three-step tutorial for awesome hanging spiders:

1. Start with a potato, some pipe cleaners, a screw, and some fishing line. Scissors are a bonus.

2. Stab (careful, now) four holes into the side of the potato. Repeat on the other side. This will make it easier to skewer the potato with the pipecleaners, which you can start to do now. These are legs.

3. Bend all the legs up to the sky…

4. Now bend ‘elbows’ into the legs. Move, bend, and arrange the legs ‘til they look leggy.

5. Take your screw and screw it into the back of the spider, basically right in the middle. Now tie the fishing line to the head of the screw.

6. Hang your spiders from anywhere you like.


7. Take two buttons, and two of those sewing pins with the colourful ends. Stab the buttons into the spider’s ‘face’ area to make two eyes. See, now he’s kinda cute.

These spiders are a part of my childhood. My mom was always the crafting fanatic in our household, but Hallowe’en brought my dad a-runnin’ with glue gun at the ready. My brother and my costumes were always handmade by my parents, everything from Mr Fantastic, to Wednesday Addams. My dad loved to blast the War of the Worlds soundtrack from the windows of our house, letting it echo and bounce across the street and traumatizing me for years to come at the very mention of Martians. One year, Dad donned a Grim Reaper costume complete with giant scythe, and, with face hidden in the voluminous hood, he stalked the neighbourhood all evening, chasing kids and scaring toddlers to tears. This was one of the things that raised my father in my esteem from an early age…this, and the potato spiders.

Every Hallowe’en, Dad would stand outside and rig eye hooks into the little awning over our front door. He would then slide the screens open in the living room window, and we would help him feed yards of fishing line out the window. From these lengths of line would hang my dad’s army of potato spiders, all tied to pens and pencils like kite strings, the spiders pulled up tight under the awning. The neighbourhood children would come to the house, ring the bell for candy…and down would come the potato spiders, swooping like Valkyries from the awning to child-height. Genuine screams of terror were guaranteed; and woe to the parents who screamed, too, for their children would sense their fear and run, run, run. My father would give his fantastic belly laugh, reel the spiders back up, and wait for the next victims.

This may seem too scary for your neighbours’ kids, and perhaps you want to stay friends with your locals. In that case, don’t try the dive-bombing spider setup. But as a little girl who helped her dad crouch by a window ledge all evening, his Reaper hood thrown back and his spider minions terrifying everyone, I can tell you my dad was my Hallowe’en idol…and now I dream of one day having a house of my own, where I can dress up and drop potato spiders out the windows on a new generation of soon-to-be arachnophobes.

Jordan Kent-Baas is co-author of the award-nominated blog Project: Priceless—The Free Wedding Experiment, and Project: Priceless—the NEST (the newlywed experience). The wedding experiment harnessed the power of social media to create a 140-person wedding for virtually no cost, while the NEST chronicles Jordan and Brian’s experience as frugal newlyweds. She is a social media fanatic who works in marketing and communications, and aspires to one day be a full-time author. Jordan lives with her fat senior pug and her sweet handsome husband, Brian; she has a passion for crafting, and exploring new activities around the city. Jordan has a dream of one day being a really good cook…in the meantime, she keeps a frozen pizza on hand just in case. You can connect with Jordan via her blogs at, on Facebook at, or on twitter, under her handle @projectpricelss.

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