How to Act Like a Vampire

Four Parts:Finding Vampiric InspirationAdopting the Correct Behaviors and Personality TraitsRe"vamp"ing Your AppearanceCompleting The Transition To Vampire Life

Whether it's for Halloween, a costumed event, a performance, or a committed lifestyle choice, many people love the glamour of dressing up as vampires. Here are some suggestions on how to perfect the look and mannerisms.

Part 1
Finding Vampiric Inspiration

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    Study famous vampires in literature, television and film. Reviled and revered vampiric characters are born in literature, television and historical accounts, where they resonate with people around the world. When you find a vamp character you like, try to analyze what you find so fascinating about him or her. Some places to start include:
    • John William Polidori's The Vampyre, the first mainstream vampire book. If you can't obtain a copy, find an online version at Project Gutenberg.
    • Bram Stoker's Dracula. This should be readily available in a secondhand book store, but if not, you can read it online at Project Gutenberg. Further, there are several movies based on the character of Dracula.
    • Contemporary vampire stories. There are thousands of vampire-themed books, comics, and graphic novels available to suit every taste.[1] Stephenie Meyer's Twilight and Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles are two well-known modern series, but a quick online search will point you in the direction of many more. Reading books from different decades of the last century would also give you a good idea of how the vampire genre has evolved over time.
    • Several modern network TV shows have featured vampires, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and The Vampire Diaries. Or "My Babysitter's a Vampire".
    • Vampires have been a staple of horror movies practically since cinema was first created and every manner of vampire has made an appearance on the silver screen. Some classic vampire movies that should definitely be on your watch list include: Nosferatu, Interview with a Vampire, The Lost Boys, Blade, Vampires, From Dusk Til Dawn, Underworld and the countless Dracula adaptions.
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    Research vampire myth and legend. Read information gathered about vampire lore, as well as data collected on allegedly "real" vampires. These figures, whose ritualistic crimes or abnormal behavior inspire fear among their communities, crop up regularly throughout history.
    • Some people today still believe that vampires are real and walk among us; others believe in them more figuratively as people with "low pranic energy" who drain the life force from others.[2]
    • Seeing the vampire as a historical figure will help you understand why this mythical being still has the power to thrill. Moreover, it will enable serious enthusiasts to better respond to their critics.
    • Dr. Elizabeth Miller is considered to be a foremost expert on Dracula,[3], and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry has a number of articles on vampires.[4]
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    Decide what kind of vampire you want to be. Now that you've familiarized yourself with famous vampires and brushed up on your vampire mythology, try to decide which dark interpretation to base your appearance and behavior on. Are you more of a claw-curling Nosferatu than a punk-rock Spike? A smooth-talking Dracula or a butt-kicking Selene?
    • There are many different degrees of vampire; find the one that appeals to you most and best suits your personality and tastes.
    • If you're making vampirism a lifestyle choice, consider easing the transition by simply becoming the vamp version of your authentic self.

Part 2
Adopting the Correct Behaviors and Personality Traits

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    Adopt a vampiric demeanor. Now that you’ve filled in the blanks for your chosen vampire style, assemble traits suitable to the personality. There are many stereotypical vampire personality traits -- you may decide to adopt all of them, or just pick and choose your favorites.
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    Develop or affect an aversion to sunlight. Being a lover of the night is an essential vampire characteristic, but this love of the dark is balanced by an extreme aversion to sunlight. In fact, if someone opens the curtains or you're forced to walk outside during the day, you should hiss and draw your cloak protectively over your face. You should also claim to be highly photo-sensitive and prone to sunburn.
    • Change your sleeping patterns to sleep during the day and wake during the night instead. If possible, you should try to sleep underground so you are less vulnerable. This way, no one can sneak in and expose you to sunlight while you sleep.
    • During the day, you should move furtively and look slightly paranoid, always on the lookout. Vampires can never feel fully at ease during the day. Once night falls, however, you can relax and be your normal fearless, pompous self again. You are master (or mistress) of the night after all.
    • This may conflict with school, work or other events. Ask someone to teach you from home or choose a night job if you want to act like a "vintage" or old styled vampire. However you could also retain a "normal" sleeping pattern and act as a modern styled vampire and wear glitter on your skin (à la Twilight).
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    Work on your night vision. Vampires have excellent night vision. Their sharp eyes can pick out even the slightest movement, so their prey don't stand a chance. Therefore, if you want to become a vampire, you will have to train yourself to see in the dark.
    • You might need technical help here to avoid stumbling around outdoors on a moonless night, but if you're the type who can keep reading when everyone else is complaining it's too dark, this is good proof of your vampiric qualities.[5]
    • Other things you can do to improve your night vision include upping your vitamin A intake (liver is a good source - yum!), wearing red-tinted glasses throughout the day (these help your eyes adjust to the dark), learning to pick out contrast and working on your peripheral vision.
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    Be narcissistic. Vampires are prone to dominating the limelight. When they are in a crowd, they are prone to drawing the eyes of everyone in the room as they possess a sort of terrifying, unearthly beauty -- and they know it. To achieve this effect, you should pay immaculate attention to detail when dressing yourself. You should walk with an air of authority, with your shoulders back and your head held high.
    • You should only be interested in talking about yourself and your interests (while still retaining an air of mystery). You should speak at length about historical events from times gone by (from a personal perspective, of course) and rhapsodize about the days when all of Eastern Europe feared your name.
    • You should only become animated during your own speeches, if anyone else dares to open their mouth, you should adopt an expression of boredom and disdain.[6]
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    Show off your rapid healing ability. Vampires have the ability to heal quickly after almost any injury. In fact, they can be brought to the very brink of destruction, only to be resuscitated and restored to their former glory by a few drops of blood.[7] This one can be a little tricky to enact, as you want to avoid anyone pushing you for proof. However, there are a couple of things you can do.
    • If your bruises, cuts and scrapes tend to clear up quickly, you're in luck. You can claim this as proof of your vampirism. If they don't, you can use a little high-coverage makeup to aid the illusion.
    • If any injuries should befall you while in the company of other people, you should rush off immediately, exclaiming "I must feed!" Vampires need blood for their miraculous healing powers to work, everyone knows that.
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    Yearn for a long-lost lover. Vampires are darkly romantic creatures, and although most of them are unable to maintain long-term stable relationships with other people (human or vampire), they often hold a deep longing for one particular person who may be deceased already (although not necessarily so).
    • Do you have a special person you're pining for? If so, consider keeping a picture of him or her in a locket and gaze at it longingly every so often. Then, when anyone approaches, let them catch a quick glimpse before snapping it shut. This will give you an added layer of mystery.
    • Or, perhaps there's a historical character you can pin your undying, centuries-old love to, and raise him or her as a topic of conversation now and then. Find out all you can about them, and construct an entire backstory about how the two of you met and what tragic ending befell your doomed romance.
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    Work on your soul-piercing gaze. A vampire may seem to look right through you, right into your soul. Or perhaps they don't even see you at all, but are focused on some other dimension entirely. To achieve this effect, you should practice an unblinking gaze which you can hold for what is seemingly longer than humanly possible.
    • Try to creep people out by picking someone from across the room and staring at them intently until the hair on their neck start to rise and they notice your gaze. They should feel uncomfortable and slightly unnerved
    • Don't be surprised if people consider you to be "off with the fairies" rather than perceptive; it's a hard look to pull off, as sometimes you can look dazed rather than intent.
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    Be condescending and intellectually superior. Vampires are prone to condescension toward people they assess as "fools"; vampires consider themselves highly intelligent and respect intelligence in return. Whenever someone you don't approve of is speaking, you should adopt an expression of distaste and look down your nose at the speaker. Snort derisively from time to time, in order to show your disdain. Alternatively, you can abruptly leave the conversation with a sweep of your cape.
    • Just don't expect this type of behavior to win you any friends. Ever wonder why vampires never seem to have any buddies?
    • If you want to attract intelligent company, be intelligent. Vampires have been around for centuries and have acquired vast stores of knowledge. You should know your history, literature and politics like the back of your hand.
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    Maintain a serious disposition. Vampires are not known for their bubbly, fun personalities. They are serious and contemplative, without time or patience for frivolity. Most of the time, a vampire should be withdrawn, sullen, demure, and silent.
    • As a result, you should reserve your smiles for moments of real joy and hilarity, not for commonplace happenings.
    • Vampires don't giggle either. If you must laugh, aim for a dark chuckle or grunt of amusement.
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    Speak in a low voice. A low speaking voice, that is perhaps husky, seductive, or sensual is typical of vampires. You should never shout or raise your voice. In fact, the angrier you are, the more quietly menacing your voice should become.
    • Listen to actors who played vampires in some of the older movies to get a good idea of the voice style.

Part 3
Re"vamp"ing Your Appearance

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    Dress like a vampire. Vampire clothing varies depending on the era of vampire that you're emulating, but there are some commonalities on the whole: the clothing is of generally good quality; it tends to be dark (often black), with some color relief (often red, white, or gray); it is often sexy, maybe burlesque, or at the very least, shows the body off to its best advantage; and it is flexible enough to allow for stealthy night movements.
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    Decide if you want to wear a cape. A large cape is a traditional vampiric item of clothing, although more modern vampires seem to have lost this typical style; despite this, the cape is a "must-have" for fancy dress or dramatic moments when acting.
    • One alternative to wearing an actual cape is to wear long, flowing or billowing coats.
    • If you're doing a fancy dress vampire, black bat or spider broaches add a nice touch.
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    Add make-up and accessories to appear vampiric. Make-up can help you achieve the pallor common to traditional vampire appearance. White skin, dark eyes and crimson lips are easy to achieve, while getting the right fangs and changing your eye color can be a little more challenging.
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    Develop glowing, luminous skin. To achieve this, try to stay out of the sun, use sunscreen religiously, and dust your face with white or very light make-up to make it pale. However, be aware that vampire skin may appear flushed after consuming food, especially meat products.
    • If you want to be a Twilight-style vampire, consider adding glitter to your skin to imitate the way Edward Cullen's skin "sparkles" in direct sunlight.
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    Wear dark eye make-up. Wear slightly dark make-up under and around your eyes. Wear enough to look sultry and mysterious, but not so much that you look like you just lost a fight.
    • If your school or workplace frowns on heavy make-up, reserve this look for evenings, weekends, and vacations.
    • Always remove make-up before sleep; your skin needs to breathe.
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    Get crimson/red lips. Crimson or red lips are important for a vampire, as they can make it look like you just fed on some fresh blood. Girls can use red or purple lipstick to achieve the right effect, while guys can use a little lip stain or fake blood to get the same look.
    • Leave a little trickle of fake blood trickling down your chin for an extra creepy "just-drank-someone's-blood" effect. Just don't go too crazy with the fake blood, or people will think you don't clean up well. And don't just draw a squiggly line with some lipstick! That will blow it all because, well, it just isn't legit at all. At Halloween, stock up on tons of fake blood.
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    Find the right fangs. Find some good-quality, fake fangs to insert if you don't already have a nice set of pointy teeth. This is optional if you're adopting a vampire style long-term, but probably essential for costume events.
    • Try to buy fangs that look realistic and avoid adhesive sets (custom-fit fangs are cheaper in the long run). is one of the best places for this.
    • Some people go to the trouble of having their teeth filed down to sharp points. This is a drastic and irreversible measure; as such, it's not to be done lightly.
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    Keep your nails long. Long nails, painted black or red are a great vampire accessory. Make sure they're well groomed, however; a vampire is proud. (Note that it's currently more socially acceptable for women to have long nails than it is for men.)
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    Change your eye color. Consider wearing differently colored contacts if you want a different look for your eyes. For instance, the vampires in Twilight are said to have golden eyes; others traditionally have red or black irises.
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    Get the daytime vampire look. Wear scarves, hats and other items that cover you up when out during the daylight. Use an umbrella or dark parasol to shield your skin from the sun. You should also wear large, dark (opaque) sunglasses to cover your eyes and much of your upper face, such as aviators or "Jackie O" glasses.
    • Switch the glasses up a bit by owning a few pairs, including a special pair for evening events.
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    Make use of vampire stereotypes. For a cosplay or fancy dress, have a friend carry a stake, garlic, and a cross. Your friend can chase you and make an amusing parody out of the traditional methods of getting rid of vampires (note that some modern renditions of vampires cease to use some of the traditional vampire frighteners, reflecting a more sophisticated challenge).

Part 4
Completing The Transition To Vampire Life

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    Move like a vampire. Vampires move with stealth and grace. Try to sweep around as you walk -- capes and long coats are ideal for this.
    • Consider gym, dance, or martial arts lessons if you're not already graceful in the way that you move.
    • Try to stay in peak form. Whatever your size and shape, it's important to be fit and a vampire will benefit from being able to move easily and quietly.
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    Speak like a vampire. Cultivate elegant diction and impeccable pronunciation - vampires are usually portrayed as being intelligent and highly cultured after living for centuries. Have some vampire responses at the ready. To act in character, you might like to respond to people with the following:
    • When asked your favorite color: black, and maybe red.
    • When asked your favorite place to sleep: in a coffin.
    • When asked your favorite meal: smile and say, "anything red and moist."
    • When arguing for a vampiric fact, make sure you say: "It's true! Lestat spoke to me last night." Or use any other famous vampire in your sentence.
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    Find a coven of other vampires. Look for others of your kind, with similar beliefs, interests, and knowledge of vampires. Spend time discussing vampire lore, vampirology, vampire literature and shows, and generally seek to have an enjoyable time together.
    • Attend vampire conventions, meet-ups, and similar events to meet like-minded vampire fans and vampires.
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    Consume red food, as representative of what a vampire would normally consume. Berries are ideal, as are apples, strawberries, red cabbage, tomatoes, anything using red food coloring, etc.
    • Drink cranberry juice, raspberry juice, or red cordial drinks in place of blood.
    • Vampires have been portrayed as being anything ranging from blood-sucking to vegetarians. The diet you wish to pursue is entirely your choice.
    • See "Warnings" below for consuming blood.
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    Try not to let your vampiric power consume you. If you're seeking to be like a vampire because you want to lord it over other people, disempower others, and mess with their lives, rethink your destructive tendencies. Behaving like a vampire in order to bully others, to make yourself seem more important than anybody else, or to cause harm to others is unacceptable behavior. This kind of approach will not win you friends, and will most likely cause you to be ostracized and despised.
    • Modern vampires are depicted as being in control of their blood lust and emotions as a matter of choice. Living among human beings and being almost human, modern vampires have powers (a blessing) but are bloodthirsty (a curse) and this sets up an eternal struggle for them.[8]
    • Being like a vampire in modern times can include enjoying a sense of mischief, taking pride in your intelligence, and having a willingness to always ask questions about the consequences of your actions.


  • Avoid provoking any fights over your vampiric "beliefs"; be the mature one.
  • Don't go around "biting" people. This is offensive, dangerous, and taking things to a ridiculous extreme.
  • This article is about role playing or masquerading as a vampire. It is not about going so far as to perform acts of bloodlust or creating a vampire cult, actions which are perverted at best, and possibly criminal.
  • Avoid spreading rumors about people sucking blood, slitting throats, etc.; that's a form of bullying and is harmful to other people's reputations.[9]
  • Some people who consider themselves to be vampires do drink human blood. They term themselves "Sanguinarians", and claim that they only consume clean blood from consenting adults.[10]. The reality is that drinking anyone's blood is unhygienic and potentially dangerous to your health; it can spread disease, such as HIV and AIDS. Depending on the origins of the blood, you may also be committing an offense, or find yourself committed to a mental health institution.

Things You'll Need

  • Access to vampire lore
  • Dark clothing (optional)
  • Make-up (optional)
  • Vampire fangs (optional)
  • Colored contact lenses (optional)
  • Black nail polish (optional)

Sources and Citations

  1. The Vampire Library,
  2. Inanna Arthen, Real Vampires,
  3. Dracula's Homepage,
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