DIY Cactus Costume

If you follow me on Instagram, you are well aware of my obsession with all things cactus. Sadly, since I live in on the ground floor of a New York City walk-up apartment (but actually #blessed), we get no direct sunlight and therefore almost every cactus I’ve ever owned has died. But alas, my obsession lives on in other forms, which most recently is my HALLOWEEN COSTUME !

I take Halloween costumes very seriously. Last year’s Iris Apfel was a huge hit, as was 2012’s Frida Kahlo. In recent years, I’ve been drawn to dressing up like older women (whattup Diana Vreeland of 2014) which looks cool to us ladies, but my boyfriend dreads it. When I told him the base of this year’s outfit is a tight green dress, he became so excited at the prospect of adding the word “sexy” to my Halloween costume. Not exactly what I was going for but hey, if it makes him happy, “sexy cactus” it is.

This costume is super easy to make and really only requires a few materials: a long sleeve green dress, embroidery thread and needle, faux flowers, a headband, a glue gun and a couple other things to keep everything neat. Read on for instructions so that you too can trick or treat dressed as a cactus. (“Sexy,” optional.)




Step one: Draw “spikes”

Using your white marking pencil, draw 3-point spikes over the front of your dress and both front and back of the sleeves. I purposely varied the lengths and angles of each spike design to make them look a bit more organic.


Step two: Embroider your spikes

Cut a piece of embroidery floss about 2 ft. Thread it through your embroidery needle and double knot it at the end. Start your embroidered spike by entering through the inside of the dress and coming through the bottom point of the spike cluster.


Put the needle through the top of the first spike and back out the bottom. Repeat for the middle spike. For the last spike, just push the needle through the top of the spike and then flip your dress inside out to tie off a knot.

*Tip: Be sure that your embroidered spikes aren’t too tight or too loose. They should lay nice and flat against the fabric. If you pull the thread too tight or not tight enough, use your fingers to pull the thread to the desired taught-ness.


To tie off a knot, push your needle through the thread or knot at the bottom of the spike point. Do this a second time and then thread your needle through the loop to make a knot. Pull securely.


Trim off the thread and voila! You have an embroidered cactus spike. Now repeat this for all the spikes on your dress.


Step three: Add flowers

Start by removing the faux flowers from their faux stems and place them where you intend to glue them, including on the headband. I placed one on the left shoulder, one on the under side of each sleeve and two on the headband. You can go crazy and add as many flowers as your like or even do a combo of colors, sizes and styles.

*Tip: By glueing the flowers to the under side of the sleeves, they will show if you decide to pose like a cactus with your arms up. See first and last photos for the pose in action. 🙂


Next, trim the little stemmy part of the flower. Be sure to leave a little bit of stem so the flower doesn’t completely fall apart. (But if it does, you have your handy glue gun for an easy fix.)

Squeeze a large dot of glue off-center on the headband. Place the green part of the flower on the glue and hold for a few seconds while it dries.


Do this again with a second flower and add any additional glue as needed to ensure your flowers are secure.


Last, glue the flowers onto the shoulder and sleeves of your dress. That’s it!


Optional last step: Head to your local taco stand and pose for some photos in your awesome new costume. You’ll totally fit in.



Special thanks to Pulqueria for letting us shoot in front of your adorable Bowery taco stand. Your vegetarian jackfruit tacos are BOMB.

So what are YOU being for Halloween? A cactus? A sexy cactus? A sexy taco? TELL ME TELL ME in the comments, I’m dying to know!

Have a safe and spooky ‘Weenie, everyone!

peace, love & neon,


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