The preying mantis is one of the more unusual and beautiful members of the insect kingdom. The distinctive shape and upright walking posture of the mantis make it a good choice of inspiration for a Halloween costume. While there are many ways to create a mantis costume, having an attractive and recognizable outfit requires getting a few of the key mantis features just right.
Foam Ball Eyes
Preying mantises have large, bulbous round eye areas that stick out from the sides of their heads and serve as a distinguishing feature. Get a polystyrene ball about the size of a grapefruit (available at craft stores) and cut it into two equal pieces using a small hand saw. Paint with lime green paint, plus a brown dot in the center for each eye, and glue these to your headpiece on the sides of your head.
Mantis antennae are delicate and whispy, extending almost straight up from the head but with a slight backward curve. Find a thick wire, such as a coat hanger or a very thick craft wire, and spray paint lime green. Twist the end of the wire into a loop about the size of a quarter, then bend the loop at a 90 degree angle from the body of the wire. Insert the wire into your headpiece, with the loop against your head for comfort and stability.
Wear a lime green body suit. Good options include a green unitard or combination leggings and tight, long-sleeved shirt or leotard. If you can't find form-fitting clothing in the right color, or in matching colors, try a fabric dye or fabric spray paint to give a uniform shade.
Because the praying mantis is usually photographed with its wings folded and not visible, whether you chose to include them is up to you. If you choose to add wings, though, it's as easy as purchasing an inexpensive pair of fairy wings (try to get some that look like dragonfly wings rather than butterfly wings) and spray painting them lime green.
The arms of the mantis costume are one of the most important components, given their distinctive shape. Use a rigid material, such as paperboard covered in cloth or large sheets of green craft foam (more comfortable), to cut out two-sided mantis mitts for your hands. Draft long, curved shapes, like a scythe blade, with raggedy undersides, like the edge of a leaf. Make these pieces large enough that you can insert your hands into just the end of the shape when the two sides are glued back to back.
- "The Halloween Handbook: 447 Costumes;" Bridie Clark, Ashley Dodd, and Janette Beckman; 2004
- Photo Credit mantis image by Gerhard FÃ¼hring from Fotolia.com
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