A spider web (also written as spiderweb and spider's web) is a device which is produced by most, but not all, species of spider. It is made from a sticky silk that the spider secretes from its body and is normally used to catch insects on which the spider feeds. The term cobweb is often used as another word for spider web. Properly, a spider web is a web that still has a spider in it and a cobweb is a web that has been abandoned.
Cobwebs often feature heavily in haunted house-style settings in movies and television programs. Most people dust a spider web away as soon as they see one, so a house full of cobwebs suggests neglect. It might indicate that the house has long been abandoned, and is now only inhabited by ghosts, or that the person who lives there is strange and somewhat menacing, like the Phantom of the Opera, or not quite human, like Count Dracula. The 1931 movie Dracula shows the Count living in a castle full of cobwebs. There is an early scene in the movie in which Dracula walks through an enormous cobweb without breaking it.
Fake spider webs, made of string or rubber, are popular decorations often seen at Hallowen parties. Spider web patterns may also appear on other items for use at Halloween parties, such as tablecloths, paper plates and cups. A spider web pattern is often printed on costume accessories, such as witches' hats and capes. Cakes and cookies decorated with a spider web pattern are often served on Halloween too.
- Wikipedia article on spider webs.