It’s not just in your head, in your head: zombies have evolved like crazy. Hollywood’s reaching for a new take on the walking gross practically every year. And the result is terrifyingly…well, awesome.
Twenty-first century zombies achieve top speeds (runners), ooze infection (carriers) and may even launch a vomit attack (spitters).
Of course, there’s a place for classic Romero love too. Anything goes, and we love it!
Want to be the social distancing dead this Halloween? Try these tips.
Where to Unearth a Zombie Costume
This is the easiest part. Just check that corner of the closet where you’ve stuffed your grunge gear from college days.
If you don’t have anything on hand that you want to sacrifice, try the Goodwill. The weirder the clothing find the better, so take your pick.
Another great thing about thrift shopping? You may find discarded Halloween or cosplay gear, like the nun and priest above.
Anything you don’t mind ripping up and staining is ideal. If you’re stumped (get it?), here are a few ideas to chew on:
Try These Twisted Zombie Themes
- Sports hero or cheerleader. You know you’ve been just waiting to see this pair get it.
- Ghandi. No…seriously. Who’s expecting that? Wrap yourself in white, pour on loads of gore and kill it, guy! Namaste.
- Prom queen. A classic, plus you get to wear a crown.
- Groom-to-be. Maybe he’s better off this way. There…we said it.
- Bride. Ditto the above.
- Pajamas. Add a teddy bear for an infected sleepover theme.
- Pregnant woman. Ugh…we’re not sure we want to see what’s going to come out of there.
- Granny or Grandpa. They weren’t in a rush anyway.
- Michael Jackson. Come on, how could we not?
- Businessman/businesswoman. This one is so easy, because all you really need is a white shirt, frayed tie and any old dark pants to gore up.
- Zombie nun or priest. Oh my God! Sorry.
- Santa Claus. Yeah, we went there.
- Zombie animal. Why not? Grab a cute pair of kitty ears or a lion’s mane wig and add loads of scars – claw marks would be perfect. Another idea: be a zombie carrying a zombie pet. Double trouble!
Once you have your outfit, tear it, cut it and smear it with nearly any color of anything drippy. You really can’t go wrong with this step. The worse condition your clothes are in, the better.
Easy, easy, easy! (Did we mention it was easy?)
Yes, you can buy a kit. But you don’t really need to – most of what you have is already at your house (or your girlfriend’s).
- Make yourself paler than you usually are. Foundation or face powder can achieve this. Or you can use light-colored traditional Halloween face makeup. The trick is to get a cool-based color (green, blue or purple undertones) rather than a warm one (yellow or pink). A cool undertone will make you look nice and ashy.
- Add some green food coloring to face foundation for a truly garish appearance. Hey sis: you can also use primer. It looks absolutely gross and garish with nothing over it. (Ask us how we know.)
- Smear circles under your eyes with black eyeshadow.
- Some people wear colored contacts for this effect. If your eyes are sensitive, don’t (just trust us on this). Otherwise, go for a traditional color with tiny pupils; somehow, that’s scarier. Milky white with no or barely any iris is a great choice too.
- Blend red food coloring into corn starch with JUST enough water to make it thick and gooey. GO SLOWLY with this; use 1/8 cup of corn starch and add a teaspoon of water at a time. It’ll stick to skin – sort of. That drippiness is exactly the effect you want.
- Pick up some pro-grade skin wax. Apply in little bumps and long ridges, then dab the corn starch and food coloring blood mixture. A few darker colors on the scars are great, too, so mix up another batch that’s purplish (primarily blue with a dot of red). If you have black or brown liquid eyeliner, you can even make a few stitches.
- Dab red, yellow and purple matte eyeshadow for bruises.
- Use black or gray lipstick for your lips.
- If you want to use prosthetics instead of making your own bumps and scars, go for a zombie makeup kit. But we’re going to ask you to BE CAREFUL – many contain Latex, which can produce a dangerous allergy in some individuals.
- Whatever you do, don’t forget the bite marks! A row of upper and lower teeth is perfect, but any bite wil do. Use the same method above of corn starch and food coloring or faux blood and black costume paint.
For some reason, everyone seems to think zombie hair is white. You can use any color – your own would be good. Or you can spray bits of white or gray to make a more weathered effect.
If you use hairspray to get a wild ‘do, remember that you’ll need to wash it out at the end of the night. Try for a lighter hand with this and build if necessary. You’ll be surprised how weird your hair can get with a little tousle and some gel or spray.
For added fun, stick a few leaves, some torn newspaper or other “I woke up undead in a gutter” items to your locks.
Should You Use Props?
You can. But bear in mind that whatever isn’t actually attached to you will be something you’ll have to carry around all night.
With that said, some funny/horrifying (take your pick) props might include a doll or teddy bear for a child; a dangling cigarette for a 1930s gangster; pom-poms for a cheerleader; a soccer ball for a European football hero; a decaying bouquet for a bride; or a sling with a zombie baby for a zombie mom or woke zombie dad.
That’s It. Really
Time to party! Even if you’re creeping it up via Zoom, you’re going to be badly-dressed-to-impress with the easy tips above.
Do as much or as little as you want; even the bare minimum will be terrifying.
Now stumble on out there and have fun!