So you want to join the ranks of the undead for Halloween this year. But you don’t want to be a vampire-I mean, come on! Can you say “lame and overdone?” Being a zombie is where it’s at!
(Note: this costume took me three hours to assemble. Start well before you have to go out to your party or Trick-or-Treating.)
Part One: Supplies
a. The Makeup
We all know what a zombie looks like: dirty, bloody, falling apart and pretty gross overall. With the large variety of horror cosmetics available today, it’s really not hard to recreate. I buy all of my supplies at stores like Wal-Mart or Target, as my area does not have specialty costume shops, so if you don’t have access to a professional costume outlet, don’t panic.
What you need:
1. Cream face paint in white, red, black, brown, and (optional) yellow, green, or grey (one palate of each)
2. Fake blood (two 1 oz. tubes will suffice)
3. Liquid latex (at least two 1/4 gram packages)
4. Scar skin (optional)
5. Black lipstick (optional) and dark eye shadow
All of this is available through Living Nightmare, which is sold all over the place around Halloween. As stated above, I buy all of my effects makeup at Wal-Mart.
b. The Clothes
For my zombie costume, I use a white shirt and a black skirt or pants. You can use whatever clothes you wish, though I do not recommend using an outfit you are particularly fond of, as you will be ripping it up and splattering it with fake blood.
Go out to your backyard. Get some sticks, dead leaves, and dig around for some nice, black dirt. This is all optional, but it adds to the effect.
You will also need a hairbrush, 4-6 cotton swabs, 5 or so makeup sponges, and a paintbrush.
Part Two: Assembly
1. Lay out all of your materials in your chosen workspace. You will need a mirror large enough for you to see your head and shoulders.
2. Take the clothes you have chosen and rip them however you would like. If you need to, use scissors, but make the edges of the tear ragged. When you finish ripping up the outfit, take some fake blood and smear it around the rips. If you would like, splatter it over the rest of the outfit, as well. Lay the clothes out to dry (you may want to lay them on a towel).
3. If you have time, take a shower. The makeup will look better if applied to clean skin.
4. When the fake blood on your outfit has dried, get dressed. Putting on your costume after the makeup is just asking to mess it all up.
b. The First Layer
1. Using one of the makeup sponges, take the white cream and cover your face and neck. Blend it well so there are no visible lines. If you wish for a yellowish zombie complexion, mix the white and yellow creams together. Do the same if you want greyer or greener zombie look.
2. Apply the eye shadow as desired. If you want darker-looking eyes, put it under your eyes as well as on the lid.
3. Using another makeup sponge, pat some of the black or brown cream makeup around your cheekbones. Blend it so it is smoky grey in color. You can do this on your neck as well, or anywhere you want your skin to look bruised.
4. Using a makeup sponge, take the red cream makeup and pat it around wherever you want it to look like you are losing flesh. Blend it around the edges.
c. The Second Layer
1. Using the paintbrush, paint the liquid latex over the red patches of makeup. Let it dry, and then peel it back. Not off, but back, so it hangs from your face and looks as if flesh is peeling away. If it is not showing up well, pat it with a little white cream makeup.
2. If you chose to use the scar skin, build it up on your neck to make it look like a gash. This is difficult to do, but it looks great. If you have trouble making it stick, try using some excess latex to adhere it to your skin.
3. Take the fake blood and smear it around the neck wound, and wherever else you see fit. Dab it around your mouth to make it look as if you’ve just dined on an ill-fated victim.
d. Finishing Touches
1. Using the hairbrush, tease and tangle your hair. I tie sticks and weave leaves into mine, as well.
2. Take that dirt and dig in it, getting it under your nails. If you don’t want to use real dirt, use the brown cream makeup instead.
3. If you wish, put some fake blood under your nails and on your hands.
4. If you wish, apply the black lipstick.
Part Three: Zombie Mannerisms
As you parade around town Trick-or-Treating (or walking around at your party. Whatever), be sure to shuffle and stare off into space, keeping your face blank. Groan like those zombies in the movies. Get into your role! Just don’t take it so far that you actually, you know, attack somebody. That’s just rude.
Also, be warned that your zombie costume may be frightening to young children. Mine made three kids cry when I was Trick-or-Treating with my little brothers last year, which made me feel like a jerk. If you’re going to be around a lot of little kids, tone it down a bit.
If Michael Jackson’s Thriller comes on while you’re at your party, be sure to dance to it. After all, that’s what good zombies do!
Remember, this costume takes several hours to get together. If you’re not willing to be patient and take your time, find another costume. And, most important of all, have a fun, safe Halloween!