How to Create a Zombie Costume

Zombies! These stone cold, slow-paced horrors from the grave are a popular choice for Halloween costumes. Fortunately, the zombie costume is relatively easy to put together. Simply choose what sort of zombie you wish to be and zombify your clothing and body, and you’ll be all set for your costume party or zombie walk.


EditDeciding on Your Zombie Style

  1. Go for a traditional zombie. If you want to embody the classical zombie type, go traditional. Be a walking, shuffling zombie who’s slow and dumb with dead eyes.[1]
    Create a Zombie Costume Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • You won’t need any specific type of clothing for this type. Use whatever’s on hand, such as old jeans and t-shirts.
  2. Turn something cute into a zombie. Wanna be a zombie princess or ballerina who’s been zombified? Go for a cute identity that’s gone terribly, terribly wrong.[2]
    Create a Zombie Costume Step 2.jpg
    • This might be where last year’s costume comes in handy. If you have an old ballerina tutu or princess costume hanging around, you could zombify it so long as you don’t mind destroying it in the process.
  3. Be a zombie couple. Have a significant other who also likes zombies? Be a zombie pair, such as a zombie bride and groom or maybe a famous couple from history who’ve come back from the dead.[3]
    Create a Zombie Costume Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • Hit up a used clothing store to look for wedding apparel.
  4. Be a recognizable character. Have a favorite superhero? Nursery rhyme character? Disney character? Choose a character and turn them into a zombie!
    Create a Zombie Costume Step 4.jpg
    • Make sure you’ve got a costume on hand that’ll identify you as your character. You could always do something recognizable, such as Little Red Riding Hood, that has a simple costume.[4]

EditZombifying Your Clothing

  1. Make your clothing look old with food coloring or tea. Zombies don’t wear brand new clothes, so you’ve got to make your clothing look old to be authentic. Use a spritz bottle filled with water and a few drops of brown or black food coloring or black tea to make your clothes look old.[5]
    Create a Zombie Costume Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    • Spritz your clothing unevenly to make it look more realistically aged.
  2. Tatter your clothes by ripping and tearing them up. Zombies stumble around catching themselves on things, so to make it realistic tear up those clothes. Add some tears into your clothing with a seam ripper or knife. Don’t be afraid to also use your hands to tear at some small cuts.[6]
    Create a Zombie Costume Step 6.jpg
    • To make your tears look realistic, cut in random areas and vary the size of the cuts and the amount of fraying.
    • Remember that your clothing will need to stay on your body, so don’t get too carried away with the ripping and tearing!
  3. Grime up your clothes with dirt and mold. Take your clothes outside and rub them around in the dirt and mud to get that grimy zombie look down for your clothing. Add mold to your clothes by mixing up some liquid latex and oatmeal and letting it dry on your clothing.[7]
    Create a Zombie Costume Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • If you’ve got time in advance you could always bury your clothing outside for a week.[8]
    • You can find liquid latex at any costume store, a basic superstore, or online.
  4. Add blood to your clothes. Zombies are all about blood and gore, so add some to your clothing to help add to the effect. Use store bought blood or make your own, and then spatter it all over your clothing using your own hands and sponges.
    Create a Zombie Costume Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • Make sure to step away from your clothing to see how it looks at a distance.[9]
    • An easy do-it-yourself recipe for fake blood is combining corn syrup with a few drops of red food coloring. Then add a squirt of chocolate syrup to thicken and darken the blood.[10]
  5. Singe and sear your non-flammable clothes very carefully. Using extreme caution, take a lighter to your clothing to singe or burn parts of it to achieve that zombified look.[11]
    Create a Zombie Costume Step 9 Version 2.jpg
    • You should always do this in an open area away from flammable surfaces and have a fire extinguisher nearby.

EditZombify Your Body

  1. Make wrinkles using liquid latex. Apply liquid latex on your face in a light layer using a sponge, and then stretch your skin tight while drying the liquid latex with a hairdryer. This’ll be sure to make your face look old and tired.[12]
    Create a Zombie Costume Step 10 Version 2.jpg
    • Do this before you put on your face makeup so when you apply makeup the wrinkles will appear deeper.
    • If you’ve got a latex allergy, you can easily make your own liquid latex substitute. Mix together 1 cup (236.59 mL) cold water, ¼ cup (59.15 mL) tapioca flour, 1 packet plain gelatin, and 1 tablespoon (14.79 mL) of solid coconut oil.[13]
  2. Use makeup to make your face pale. Make sure your face is pale by blotchily applying a very pale nude makeup to your face. You won’t want your natural skin tones to give you away as alive![14]
    Create a Zombie Costume Step 11 Version 2.jpg
    • Don’t make your face blue or green since zombies are always very earth toned.[15]
  3. Make your tongue dead with food coloring. Zombies shouldn’t have pink tongues, so mix a drop of black food coloring in with your mouthwash and swill it around in your mouth. This’ll give you the perfect dead looking tongue and mouth.[16]
    Create a Zombie Costume Step 12.jpg
  4. Make your eyes look sunken in. Make your eyes appear sunken in by adding a dark purplish-brown makeup color around your eye socket and along your upper and lower lids.
    Create a Zombie Costume Step 13.jpg
    • Go darker along the lids by adding a black eyeliner pencil on top of your purplish-brown color.[17]
  5. Wear colored contacts. Colored contacts are a great way to mute the life from your eyes. Try a pair in red, green, or another dark color.[18]
    Create a Zombie Costume Step 14.jpg
    • Colored contacts should only be used with a prescription, even for non-corrective lenses. You can get them by visiting your local eye doctor and getting a prescription.[19]
  6. Make open wounds on your face and body using liquid latex. Mix up some liquid latex and cotton, tissue paper, or toilet paper in a bowl and then apply to your face or arm. Allow the mixture to dry halfway and then begin to pull pieces away. Sponge on some dark earth tone colors and then add blood into the mix.
    Create a Zombie Costume Step 15.jpg
    • If your liquid latex wound is going to cover any hair, add a layer of petroleum jelly first.[20]
    • When you’re done being a zombie you can just peel off the liquid latex to remove it.[21]
  7. Add blood to your face and body. Use a Q-tip to apply some blood smears to your body and face.[22]
    Create a Zombie Costume Step 16.jpg
    • You can make the blood drippy or smeared.
    • Go ahead and give yourself a bloody nose![23]
  8. Tease and grease up your hair. Don’t forget to make your hair look disgusting to complete your zombie look. Tease it out with a brush and tangle it all up. Use hairspray to make sure your teased hair stays in place. Put conditioner in it while dry to make it look greasy and gross.[24]
    Create a Zombie Costume Step 17.jpg
    • You can find colored hairsprays if you want to add some darker black or brown tones into your lighter hair. You can purchase these at any local pharmacy.
    • Get creative and incorporate leaves or twigs into your matted hair.
    • If you don’t want your hair to be ruined or deal with combing it out later, get a cheap wig that you can destroy.


  • Experiment with fabrics and makeup beforehand, giving yourself plenty of time to prepare and fix mistakes before an event.


  • Test any products on a small section of your skin beforehand to make sure you’re not allergic. Avoid using liquid latex products if you are allergic to liquid latex.
  • Be aware of scaring others, especially small children or others who might frighten easily. Stay good-spirited and keep the fun going for everyone.

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