Zombie Costume How-To

Learn how to make a truly frightening zombie costume with this quick tutorial.

Portrait Of Man With Zombie Make-Up
Sean Schallberger / EyeEm / Getty Images

Zombies have exploded on the costume scene in the past few years, thanks to movie hits like Zombie Land and the Walking Dead comic series. It is a great group costume because you get to gross each other out all night and tell lame jokes about brains.

The Makeup

The most important part of making an authentic-looking zombie. I have had the pleasure of learning zombie makeup from the professionals, and I'm sharing their knowledge with this complete zombie makeup tutorial. I'll show you how to create bloody wounds, dark under-eye circles, and disgusting liquid latex bites.

Those rubbery wounds you can pick up at the Halloween store need some help. I'll show you how to blend wounds into your skin and add makeup to make them look disgusting.

The Blood

Put simply: you're going to need some blood.

  • Spray-Bottle Blood - This water-based recipe is great for spraying clothes with blood.
  • Dark, Thin Blood - This lightweight recipe is good for smearing on clothing or walls.
  • Thick, Realistic Blood - A touch of cocoa gives this thick blood a dark tint.
  • Gross Blood - With flakes of skin and scabs inside.
  • Fake Flesh - Make chunks of flesh using items found in your kitchen.
  • Dripping Blood - This reddish brown blood is the perfect consistency for dripping down the walls.
  • Scabs - Make a clump of bumpy brownish scabs. Yum!
  • Prop Guts - Use our fake flesh and gross blood recipes for disgusting decoration.

The Clothes

What kind of zombie do you want to be? Sure, you could just be undead, but going with a theme is always fun, too. Be a bride zombie, tourist zombie, businessman zombie... whatever you like. Score a set of clothes at the thrift store and prepare to destroy them.

Create rips in your clothing by cutting a notch with scissors, then ripping with your hands. For more authenticity, cover your hands in a thin fake blood while you rip, to make it look like your victims or other zombies did it.

One secret to great zombie clothes is to use ashes. Ashes give you a dirty look that makes you look like you've spent weeks trolling the streets for brains. Close you eyes and have a buddy chuck ashes at your outfit.

Have a shirt or pants you want to make worn in a hurry? Lay your pants on the driveway, have a friend sit on them (in their old clothes), then drag them across the driveway. This short ride will tear up your pants and give theirs a little wear, too.

Paint one hand in blood and smear it across your shirt to make it look like a hurried hand print.

Put a thin fake blood in a cup, and dip in a paintbrush. Tap the stem of the paintbrush to flick spatters of blood on your clothes.

The Hair

As messy as it can be. For my housewife zombie, I like to wear curlers in my hair. You can make yourself look disheveled with an interrupted hairdo. Put your hair up in pigtails, with one pigtail flopped over and bits of hair pulled out of it. Clip hair in a business up-do and pluck out a lot of loose strands. Smear blood on select strands or bloody a patch of short hair to recreate a head wound.