Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, combine shortening, sugar, water and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add eggs into mixture and blend.
Slowly mix in flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder using low-medium speed.
Drop tablespoon-size helpings of mixture onto ungreased cookie sheets and roll each helping into a ball. Bake for 9 minutes.
Let cookies cool for about 10 minutes. Then, using a toothpick, create four small holes in either side of the cookie. Still using the toothpick, push one end of a piece of the cut licorice into each hole, creating the “legs” of the spider. Keep licorice pieces short so as not to harm braces.
Once all eight pieces are in place, create eyes or decorate at will using the green decorating gel.