Firefly Costume: DIY Lightning Bug Idea For Halloween


Make a lightning bug or firefly costume for kids with this sewing tutorial. The DIY wings light up to keep children safe on Halloween night.

Need a cute Halloween dress up idea for your children? Today, I’ll show you how to make a lightning bug or firefly costume for kids with this sewing tutorial and a few other costume pieces. The DIY wings even light up to help keep your child visible and safe on Halloween night.

Create an adorable Halloween costume for your child using this sewing tutorial for a DIY firefly costume (or lightning bug). The wings even light up!

I’ve got to be honest with you, I have mixed feelings about Halloween. I could do without all the creepy blood, guts, gore and scary creatures. I am not a thrill seeker and if I never see a horror movie or haunted house again in my life, so much the better!

But I absolutely LOVE seeing little kids going door to door in creative and cute Halloween costumes. My boys have dressed up as many things over the years including super heroes, Curious George, Humpty Dumpty and even Minions. However, my favorite so far is when they let me make firefly costumes for them last year.

DIY wings that light up make an adorable firefly costume that kids can wear for Halloween or dress up. This sewing tutorial will show you how.

Okay so I know I’m completely and totally biased, but seriously — how cute are these little lightning bugs?! It took a little thinking on my part but making a firefly costume was something unique, original and fun – I only wish they’d wear them again this year!

First, I started by making sketches of my ideas for the firefly costume. Then I created a little template or pattern for the DIY wings. Next I took step-by-step photos as I put the pieces and ideas together. I thought I’d share a little tutorial with you today in case you were inspired to make a firefly costume like this for your own kids.

Sketches of a design for a kids firefly costume for Halloween created by Carrie at Ideas for the Home by Kenarry®

How to Make a Kids Firefly Costume for Halloween

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What You Need:

For the DIY Wings:

For the rest of the Firefly Costume:

Materials and resources needed to create a firefly costume for Halloween


1. Cut your fabric for the DIY Wings

You’ll find instructions below for how you can download the sketches I used as a pattern or you can make your own for the firefly wings. For each set of wings you make, you’ll need to cut:

  • 4 upper wing pieces from the colorful iridescent fabric
  • 4 lower wing pieces from the colorful iridescent fabric
  • 2 large tear drop shaped pieces from the silver shiny metallic fabric
  • 4 large ovals from the black cotton fabric (see notes and lines on the sketches in the PDF)

Download My sketches for the pattern

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2. Create the Firefly Wings

2.1 – Using a sewing machine, sew around the outer edge of two pieces of the upper wing with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Leave the end of each wing open. Turn the wing right side out.

2.2 – Insert a loop of heavy floral wire into the end of the wing. Bend it as you go to create the shape of a wing.

2.3 – Cut the end of the floral wire with tin snips and twist it into a knot to hold it in place. Then use the sewing machine to sew the end of the fabric closed.

2.4 – Repeat these steps with the other three wing pieces, so that you have two upper wings and two lower wings.

Learn step-by-step how to make DIY wings for a child's Halloween costume. This tutorial is especially for a firefly costume but would work for other flying insect costumes as well.

3. Sew the Back Pack for the Wings

Now we’ll use the four black ovals to create the backpack that holds the DIY wings all together.

3.1 – Leave one oval in tact and trim the other three pieces as shown in figure 3.1 below. You’ll need one full oval, one vertical strip, one lower oval and one upper oval. The lower and upper ovals should each be about 2/3 of an oval so that they overlap slightly. Turn the straight edges of the lower and upper oval pieces about 1/4 of an inch and hem them with the sewing machine to create a finished edge.

3.2 – Turn the edges of the long vertical strip piece and run them through the sewing machine to hem them. Then sew the long vertical piece to the full oval piece, only at the top and the bottom. Leave the sides of the long vertical piece open. In step 6, you’ll slide the ends of the wings into those openings.

Create the Straps

3.3 – Cut two long pieces of the black grosgrain ribbon, long enough to make straps for the backpack. Pin the edges of the ribbons to the front of the large oval to hold it in place. Then roll the ribbons into little spools and temporarily secure them with pins. You’ll want the ribbon straps to stay tucked inside the back pack while you move on to the next step.

3.4 – Place the upper and lower ovals over top of the rolled ribbons, so that the finished sides are facing the inside and the straight edges overlap slightly. Pin the ovals together around the edges. Use two straight pins to mark where you want to leave about a two inch gap at the bottom of the oval to attach the firefly tail in step 4. In figure 3.4 below, you’ll see I put a yellow vertical straight pin on the left and a red vertical straight pin on the right. Then sew about 1/4″ seam around the outer edge of the ovals from the yellow pin to the red pin, leaving the two inch gap at the bottom that you marked with pins.

Step-by-step sewing instructions to make DIY wings for a firefly costume or insect costume that kids can wear for Halloween or theatre.

Once you remove the straight pins, you should be able to turn the entire back pack right side out where the upper and lower oval pieces overlapped. Then you can also remove the pins you were using to keep the backpack straps secured and out of the way.

4. Sew the Pouch for the Firefly’s Light Up Tail

4.1 – Using the sewing machine, sew 1/4″ seam around the two pieces of the silver shiny metallic fabric for the tail of the firefly costume. Leave a 2 inch opening at the top. Turn the metallic piece right side out.

4.2 – Turn the lower half of the black backpack piece inside out again. Line up the opening of the tail with the opening of the backpack and secure with straight pins. Next use a regular sewing needle to sew around the opening of the two pieces to attach them to one another. Do not sewing the opening closed.

4.3 – Flip the backpack right side out again. You should now to able to reach all the way through the opening in the backpack into the tail pouch.

Sew an iridescent pouch to a black back pack to make DIY wings for a child's firefly costume for Halloween.

5. Fill the Firefly Tail

Stuff mesh tulle and holiday lights through the opening in the backpack to fill the tail pouch. Keep going until all the lights are inside of the firefly tail. You can then tuck the battery pack for the lights inside the backpack.

Use toile and holiday lights to create a tail for a kids firefly costume for Halloween or theatre.

6. Attach the Wings to the Firefly Costume

Tuck the end of each wing under the long vertical strip in the backpack. The upper wings should overlap slightly with the lower wings. Use pins to hold the wings in place. Then hand sew the wings to secure them to the backpack. I chose to sew all the way through the three layers of the backpack. This created a tighter pocket for the battery pack in the holiday lights so it wouldn’t slip out as the boys ran from house to house.

Create DIY wings for a firefly costume a child can wear for dress-up, a theatre play or Halloween. The tail of the lightning bug even lights up!

7. Test the Lights

Now this is the fun part — switch the battery pack to on and test out the beautiful twinkle lights for the firefly costume.

This step-by-step sewing tutorial will show you how to make DIY wings for a child's firefly costume for Halloween, dress-up or a theatre play.

You may need to manually move the lights or tulle around in the firefly tail to get the amount of light you want to shine through.

Make DIY wings for a child's Halloween costume. This sewing tutorial would work for any bug costume, but is especially designed to make a fire fly costume or lightning bug costume for kids.

8. Create the Rest of the Firefly Costume Pieces

Use a needle to punch small holes in the edges of the large googly eyes. Then use a needle and thread to sew the eyes onto the hat. You may be able to use hot glue or something to attach the eyes, but I was concerned they might fall off. I also wanted to easily remove the eyes after Halloween so the boys could use the hats for winter.

Next cut and place long strips of reflective tape across the front of a black long sleeved t-shirt. This tape creates the abdomen for the firefly costume.

A few basic black costume pieces, large googly eyes and some metallic tape are the foundation for a kid to dress up as a bug for Halloween. Use them for a lightning bug or firefly costume - or even a spider, lady bug or fly.

The reflective tape also serves as an important safety feature for the firefly costume. With this much black fabric, I was really concerned about the boys’ visibility at night as they walked between houses to trick or treat. The light up tail on the DIY wings makes the kids easy to see from the back side. But they really needed the reflective tape on the front so cars could see them head on too.

9. Trick or Treat and Enjoy!

Once you’ve completed all the parts and pieces for the firefly costume, you’re ready to go when October 31st rolls around. On Halloween night, just have your child put the costume on starting with the black sweatpants and shirt. Then turn on the lights and strap the DIY wings to their back.

Use this sewing tutorial for DIY wings to make an adorable firefly costume for kids. The wings work for any other flying insect but are especially designed to light up for a lightning bug!

I made the straps a little too long, so I used two smaller pieces of ribbon to tie the straps together in the front to hold the wings in place.

Reflective tape on the front of this adorable firefly costume for kids helps your child to be seen on Halloween night. Learn how to make DIY wings for a lightning bug that really light up!

As Halloween night gets darker and darker, you’ll really see this firefly costume come alive. We got so many compliments on it as the boys walked from house to house collecting candy in their trick or treat bags.

This firefly costume for kids lights up at night to make it easier for a child to be seen on Halloween night. Learn how to make DIY wings for a lightning bug costume.

Have a Happy Halloween!! I would love to see how you take this firefly costume idea and make it your own for your child. If you make a lightning bug or insect of some sort for Halloween or a school play using this tutorial, please post a photo on Facebook or Instagram and tag me @kenarryideas so I can see!

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Learn how to make DIY wings for a kids firefly costume for Halloween, playing dress-up or for acting in a school or community theatre play. This sewing tutorial will show you step by step how to make lightning bug wings that really light up!

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