How to Look Like a Zombie

Going out like a member of the living dead can be a lot of fun, whether it's during Halloween, for a "zombie crawl" through the city, at the workplace, or just to stroll around town. Here's a basic overview of how to make a zombie costume.


  1. Image titled Look Like a Zombie Step 1
    Apply makeup. You can use makeup to create the illusion of a deathly pallor. A white/grey, purple or green tint works well for most people. Go to the drugstore and look for under-eye concealer or foundation base in these colors. Also purchase some dark eye shadow, eyeliner and baby powder.
    • Apply the base over your entire face and down your neck to get that unhealthy pallor.
    • Get directly under a light source and start using eye shadow to accent sunken areas of your face, such as your eye sockets and around the mid-way of your cheeks. Find shadows and darken those a lot.
    • Black out your eyes completely, but keep it under control. Make it look like your eye sockets have shrunken in about an inch. Get darker towards the middle and inside corners of the eyes, making sure to accent natural shadows but a bit more darker. (you can even try a darker gray shade; this sometimes works better for a realistic effect than black).
    • Use baby powder on your face to make your skin look dull and dead. Put a lot on so it looks like you're pale and dead and use some colors like pale light green or grayish-green eye shadow and apply it in some parts of your face and around the areas you had darkened. Lighten the color of your eyebrows.If you want to be a zombie you have to look as realistic as possible.
    • Apply solid red lipstick on parts where later you will apply your 'fake blood' on your lips and apply some dabs of purple or grayish or maroon lipstick to make it look like as if the blood is a bit dried and look more realistic.
    • If you want or can afford you can purchase contact lenses with the scary eyeballs. Well, most people think it is unnecessary to have them and any ways you can look scary enough even without these lenses but it's up to you to decide. There are many people who didn't use these on Halloween so there's no need to worry if you are not buying.
  2. Image titled Look Like a Zombie Step 2
    Mess up your hair. Try to make your hair look like you just rolled out of a grave.You can also use a lot of hair oil to make your hair look greasy.
    • Backcomb it at the roots. You can also apply hairspray, then use a small teasing comb or brush to tease your hair (brush hair in the "opposite" direction toward the roots). Do this in small sections. Your hair will stay messed up (or in place) if you use hair oil and when you use other cosmetics on your hair (such as powder or your fake blood on your hair) it will come out easily in the end of the day when you take a shower.
    • Apply baby powder. Rub some baby powder into your hair to make it look grey and ashen.
    • If you have long hair, you can either leave it down or pull it into a messy up-do or even rub your head against your pillow. An extremely crooked ponytail, ratty braids or a falling-apart bun look appropriately disheveled.
    • Try starting with bedhead. If you're going to dress like a zombie first thing in the morning, try washing your hair right before you go to sleep the night before. Sleeping on wet hair will automatically make it look wild and mussed, and it might even get pushed far to one side like you've been lying in a grave. Or just not brush your hair when you wake up.
  3. Image titled Look Like a Zombie Step 3
    Make fake blood. For one fluid cup (probably more than you'll ever use), do this:
    • 1 1/2 cups of corn syrup. Do not use pancake syrup, which can make the blood go a bit gold.
    • 1-2 tbsp of red food coloring.
    • Some chocolate syrup, like the kind you put on ice cream (not a "shell" type).
    • A couple small drops of blue or green food coloring, for color preference. This will give your "blood" a deeper, more realistic red.
    • Mix well and add small amounts of water until desired consistency/smearing factor is achieved.
    • An alternative mix uses honey for thickness and stickiness instead of corn syrup, washing-up liquid (dish soap) (e.g. Fairy Liquid) and red and blue food coloring. The washing-up liquid helps the blood wash out of your clothes later. Play around with the ratio of honey to washing-up liquid to get the right consistency - different brands vary. Be warned, though - pine-scented dish soap isn't very tasty, so if you're putting this mix in your mouth, use a minimal amount!
    • To get a more paste-like or thicker consistency, petroleum jelly works very well. Just mix the food dyes in, or used a crushed maroon or red eyeshadow.
  4. Image titled Look Like a Zombie Step 4
    Apply fake blood. Here's the fun part, unless you get sick easily. Go nuts.
    • Give yourself some wounds of some kind. Dribble blood into your hairline and let it run down your face, arms, legs and hands.
    • If you want bullet holes, get a really black marker and draw holes on your shirt. Then dribble down some fake blood around it.
    • For the "I just got done munching on the neighbor" look, pour a fair amount of blood into your hand, and then "eat" it, to get a nice mouth smear. Then, put some more in your mouth (this mix is non-toxic, unlike some others) and let it dribble down your chin and throat.
    • If you have time, allow some blood to dry a little (about 10 minutes) and then re-apply another layer differently, to get a nice effect.
    • Try to go for dark colored fake blood, as bright red blood will give you a cartoony appearance.
  5. Image titled Look Like a Zombie Step 5
    Get your costume looking right. Here are the basic steps for getting your clothes properly trashed.
    • Go outside and roll around in dirt. Try to find some mud and roll in it.
    • While applying fake blood, make sure you're messy, and get it on your clothes. This stuff runs and seeps in quite well and looks extremely convincing.
    • Use a knife or other pointed implement (carefully!) and rip holes into your costume.
  6. Image titled Look Like a Zombie Step 6
    Act zombie-like. Zombies are slow, stiff, dim-witted, can't talk well, if at all, and crave human flesh.
    • Make moaning and gasping sounds when you breathe through your mouth. It adds great effect. Your jaw should hang slack at most times. If you must make other noises, talk in gibberish or moan louder/higher. Moaning always works.
    • Shamble, don't walk. Lean forward and almost fall with every step. Adding a limp or dragging one leg works great as well. Swing your arms limply, like you don't ever use them.
    • When passing people, growl or groan at them and wave your arms. Some higher-level zombies tend to moan for "brains!!!" as well. If you want to get some laughs, say "Hi!" to some people, and wave. You'll be hilarious. If you want to really freak someone out, go to a movie theater with a zombie movie out (if there is one). In the middle of the movie, where tension is highest, walk across the front of the screen. That will scare at least half the people in there.
    • Act stupid. The average zombie has an IQ barely above freezing temperature. They will run into walls, trip, fall, and can't work with their hands.


  • Have someone carry your cell phone and wallet for you. A texting zombie is unconvincing.
  • Wear your full costume during blood application to keep a consistent look.
  • If you are going for the 100 year old zombie effect, you should try not to wear modern clothes. This way your costume is more realistic and you newer clothes is clean.
  • If you don't want to use baby powder, try white eyeshadow or blusher. Not as white, but it works!
  • Adjust your level of "scariness" if appropriate-- for instance, you'll probably want to tone it down if you're around little kids or more sensitive people.
  • If you're worried about legal stuff, talk to the cops first if you're organizing a zombie crawl through town. They'll usually just send a couple of guys out to make sure nothing gets out of hand.
  • Be fun, most of all. This isn't worthwhile unless you intend to have a blast doing it.
  • Stand in the tub/shower during makeup application. A little morbid, perhaps, but it's better than getting goop all over the bathroom, and cleanup is a breeze.
  • Never leave a fellow zombie behind - it's never fun to be the only undead one when your fellow corpses have all left.
  • To be scarier rather than comical, try to be like zombies from horror movies or videos games.
  • Try a thematic approach - Mechanic Zombie, Ballerina Zombie, etc. Specificity will make you stand out in the drooling, grunting crowd.
  • Buy some fake blood, and grey face paint, and get some old clothes you don't wear and put rips in them, but have someone help you.
  • As a crawling zombie, don't crawl on your hands and knees as you will look childish and comical. The best approach for a crawling zombie is to look desperate enough to do anything for human flesh, and to look as though you have nothing to lose.
  • Don't stay with the stereotypical zombie- try to innovate a little. If your skin is green and you are very slow it just isn't very scary. Try moving quickly but only in jolts and not towards people. Also giggle or cackle madly, it'll freak everyone out and it's a lot of fun.
  • Play around with different techniques before hand and find what you like the best. You can browse the internet to find many good suggestions.
  • If you try to grasp people and hang your tongue out, you will be considered as comical rather than creepy.
  • Roll around in some mud or dirt to convince people that you haven't cleaned up in centuries.
  • Add cream-coloured make up to make it appear as if your skin is peeling away.
  • NEVER act like a zombie around, or try to scare any kids. It will get you in trouble and besides, it's just mean.
  • Never forget to wash your sink or tub which may have blood in it after showering.
  • If you are going for the mutated approach, walk pigeon-toed and haltingly, just don't over-do it.
  • Get permission from your boss if you do this at work. Unless your office is really straight-laced, it shouldn't be too much of an issue.
  • Try the cute zombie approach. Roll around in the dirt, bark or chuff and play with fellow zombies, just don't forget you're a zombie and start giggling. If you try this approaching kids and adults will find you less threatening but you won't get in trouble with cops or parents for scaring little kids.
  • Clean up when you're done.
    • Take a shower. Make sure you put your clothes somewhere that they won't get something else ruined. This blood mixture will usually come off pretty quickly with hot water, but make sure you scrub down and wash your hair several times. If you have light hair, it might get stained.
    • If you're not throwing your clothes away, put them in the washer by themselves. Usually the blood will wash out.
    • Make sure to clean out the tub, wipe up the sink, and make sure all the blood is gone. You don't want guests to freak out if they see your bathtub is splattered with blood!
  • Grunt and groan whilst doing your zombie impression. A lot of zombies grunt and groan.


  • Be careful pouring fake blood into your ear—don't let it get in your inner ear canal, as it may cause infection. Better to just smear it around or use a cotton swab to give the dribble-effect.
  • The fake blood mixture can be very sticky, so be careful if you have to get in a car or another place you don't want to make a mess of.
  • Avoid little kids if possible. They don't know it's fake and you'll get their parents mad.
  • Use reflective strips for safety and visibility to drivers if you are doing this at night.
  • If you are actually scaring one of your friends or family, or just freaking out a couple of strangers to the point where it's more than just screaming, then you should stop. If people start running away or even attacking you, then it's not funny anymore. At this point, break character and reassure them that it's just for fun.
  • Don't touch anyone! People will usually take this in the wrong way and scream for help.
  • Do not do anything illegal. Dressing up in a costume is not an excuse to break windows, loot shops, or flip cars. There will be consequences!
  • If the cops stop you, your boss tells you to clock out early, or you are generally confronted by anyone who has a problem, be friendly and understanding, and let them win any arguments. You're the one breaking social convention here.

Things You'll Need

  • A mirror (hand or wall-mounted)
  • Golden or white corn syrup (or honey, or dish soap, or petroleum jelly)
  • Red food coloring and blue or green food coloring in small amounts
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Light base makeup or concealer (white, purple or green)
  • Medium grey eyeshadow
  • Dark grey/black eyeshadow
  • Black marker
  • Baby powder
  • Comb
  • Hairspray
  • Clothes you can stain, rip, get filthy, and otherwise generally ruin
  • Mod podge can be used for wounds if you can't find or afford liquid latex- but do an allergy test first!
  • Regular eyeshadow can make bruises and dirt

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