In the midline glia of the embryonic ventral nerve cord of Drosophila, differentiation as well as the subsequent regulation of cell number is under the control of EGF-receptor signaling. During pupal stages apoptosis of all midline glial cells is initiated by ecdysone signaling. In a genetic screen we have identified mutations in disembodied, rippchen, spook, shade, shadow, shroud and tramtrack that all share a number of phenotypic traits, including defects in cuticle differentiation and nervous system development. Some of these genes were previously placed in the so-called 'Halloween-group' and were shown to affect ecdysone synthesis during embryogenesis. Here we demonstrate that the Halloween mutations not only affect glial differentiation but also lead to an increase in the number of midline glial cells, suggesting that during embryogenesis ecdysone signaling is required to adjust glial cell number similar to pupal stages. Finally we isolated a P-element-induced mutation of shroud, which controls the expression of ecdysone inducible genes. The P-element insertion occurs in one of the promoters of the Drosophila fos gene for which we present a yet undescribed complex genomic organization. The recently described kayak alleles affect only one of the six different Fos isoforms. This work for the first time links ecydsone signaling to Fos function and shows that during embryonic and pupal stages similar developmental mechanisms control midline glia survival.