What makes a great zombie costume?
By Leisa Rae
The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating a great zombie costume. Odds are you won’t have to spend much money on a costume, just use what you already have!
Look around, surely you have some old clothing that you no longer wear. Zombify them! Simply score, cut, and fray. The amount of wear and tear depends on the type of zombie you wish to be. A freshly minted zombie has minimal amounts of decay on their clothing, while a zombie that’s been around a while could have clothing with large amounts of decay.
So first, you’ll need to decide what type of zombie you want to be. A freshly made zombie might have a bite, defensive wounds, or even chunks of flesh missing. The amount of blood obviously depends on the wound. And the color would begin to fade from the face and exposed skin areas. (Our own Fuss will have advice on makeup application later on!) The clothing may be ripped and torn from trying to fight off a zombie attacker. However, the clothing would most likely be clean, aside from a grass stain or two from trying to escape. So remember a fresh zombie would most likely have minimal amounts of blood and dirt on their clothing. Then there’s the zombie that been around the block a few times. This zombie survived its own death and has been fighting for food. Fresh, rotten, or anywhere in between, once you decide your zombie’s approximate age, it’s time to figure out what clothing your costume will consist.
People can become a zombie at any time. So, if you play sports and you have an old uniform handy…zombify it! If you’re a construction worker, zombify those old work clothes! Even your favorite super hero can be zombified! I’ve seen zombie princesses, cheerleaders, football players, rock stars, ballerinas, cowboys and cowgirls, business people, law enforcement…the possibilities truly are endless! So get your imagination in gear and create your best zombie outfit!
Decaying your costume
So you’ve decided your type of zombie and found a killer idea for a costume. Now what? Simply kill it and bring it back from the dead!
The severity of the decay of clothing is up to you. If you choose the rotting zombie, you can get really creative! Some folks like to bury their costumes in the backyard for a few weeks for realism. Some like to cut and score the fabric then wash it to fray the stressed areas. Either works. Just don’t let your costume rot away into nothing! Whichever method of distress you choose, make it dirty! Go outside, throw your costume on the ground, and then stomp the heck out of it. In dirt, grass, mud, sawdust, gravel, whatever you have available to make your costume appear as though it crawled right out of the grave, or collapsed building, or river, or anywhere! These techniques can be applied to a fresh zombie, but keep in mind that decay should be minimal.
Adding fake blood
There are numerous fake bloods on the market, especially around Halloween. Or, you can make it yourself. A simple Google search can return numerous recipes, which would allow you to control the color of your fake blood. There are several ways to apply fake blood to clothing. Pouring, dripping, and splatter techniques all work very well. Before you begin, hang your costume somewhere. Put down a tarp or some type of protective covering. Have an outdoor clothesline? Perfect! Cause we’re about to get messy!
Think about what your zombie has been through. Where would blood show up on its clothing? Of course, fake blood can be applied around most rips and tears. Has it been feasting? Apply around the shirt collar and/or sleeve cuffs. These are areas that I like to pour the fake blood over. Start with a small amount, then increase until you reach a look that you like. Has your zombie suffered blows from a blunt instrument? Splatter! I like to use a disposable cup and an old paint brush. Put the blood in the cup, dip in the brush, then use the edge of the cup to run the bristles over and flick the fake blood onto your costume. (Think running your finger across your toothbrush…speaking of toothbrushes, they are great for smaller, more detailed, splatter effects!) For a larger splatter effect, dip the brush in blood and fling it at your costume. Close up creates large droplets, the further away you are, the smaller they get.
After you’re satisfied with your artwork, allow plenty of drying time. Most fake blood has a corn syrup base and can take quite a while to dry. Thick areas may feel tacky for a few days.
These are just a few of the many ideas to help you create your perfect zombie costume. Scour the internet for ideas on fake guts and fake insects that you could expose from wound sites. The most important part is to just have fun! After all, we’re only undead for so long.