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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Zombify Yourself for Halloween!

Happy Halloween! This is such a fun holiday. Because I love makeup, it’s the time of year when I can take things to the extreme. If you love playing around with makeup and need a last minute costume idea, let me show you how I turned myself into a zombie last Halloween.

In terms of clothes, the options are really limitless. You could find something at a thrift store—you could dirty up the items or cut holes in them. I went for a flannel dress with some ripped up black leggings. 

Warning: You might scare small children. I again apologize to Amanda's niece!

Now, onto the makeup…

All you’ll need is some cream makeup in various colors (white, gray, black, red, green, purple), regular liquid foundation, makeup sponges, makeup brushes, tweezers, toilet paper (yep!), fake blood, liquid latex and a hair dryer. The cream makeup and liquid latex could be found at any Halloween superstore, like Party City. Just a warning—when you buy supplies at a Halloween store they are most likely going to be of low quality. They will still work, but the cream makeup will be a little difficult to work with and the liquid latex may be too thin. The fake blood from superstores is usually way too thin and doesn’t stay put. If you want to do the zombie look right, try buying your supplies in advance from a good special effects store online like or

As you can see, I used some lower quality products and they dried out!

Here’s how to achieve some really cool zombie gashes and wounds:
  1. Plan out where you want your wounds and how large you want them to be. 
  2. Tear a few pieces of toilet from the roll and pull them apart so they are only one-ply. Set them aside. 
  3. Start by applying a thin layer of liquid latex with a makeup sponge (DO NOT use your makeup brushes) where you want your wound. Before it dries, take a one-ply piece of toilet paper and press it on the latex. If this doesn’t cover the entire surface of the latex, grab another piece and cover the rest. Tear off the excess around the edges and discard them. Use your hair dryer for a few seconds to dry out the area a bit.
  4. Add another layer of latex on top of where you just applied the first piece of toilet paper. Immediately take another piece of toilet paper, press it on top and tear off the excess. This time when you apply, don’t apply it perfectly, try to wrinkle it up a bit so it doesn’t lay perfectly flat against your skin. You’re going for open wounds here—you don’t want it to look nice and smooth. Use your hair dryer again to dry it out.
  5. Add a third layer (I’d recommend a fourth layer if you have the time). Again use your hair dryer to dry the area.
  6. Repeat this same process everywhere that you want a wound to appear. Just a warning—if you place a wound somewhere on your body that has hair (like your arm), it WILL hurt when you remove everything at the end of the night. I learned this the hard way. 
  7. Once you are finished placing all your fake wounds, it’s time for makeup. The first thing you'll want to do is darken up your eyelids and area around your eyes. You can use some regular black, dark purple and dark brown eyeshadows for this.
  8. Then mix your regular liquid foundation with some white cream makeup. The goal is to pale out your skin to give yourself a gaunt look. Make sure to apply this on your neck, chest and arms if they are exposed. It’s important to cover anywhere you placed your fake wounds.
  9. Next, mix some gray and green cream makeup. Use a sponge to blend a bit into your skin. This will help make you look sickly. Make sure to cover your fake wounds. Do the same with a blend of purple and gray cream makeup, but this time only add a little to your fake wounds. This will help create a bruised effect only in those areas.
  10. Now it’s time for the fun part. Use a pair of tweezers to gently start picking at the center of the layers of toilet paper and latex. You want to create a small hole. Once you’ve done that, make the hole bigger with your fingers and tear off a bit from the center so that the edges are jutting forward. Do this for all fake wounds.
  11. Now it’s time to bring those wounds to life. Using a small makeup brush (eyeshadow brushes are ideal), take some red cream makeup and color your skin inside the fake wounds. Using a separate brush, take a little black cream makeup and color on top of the red cream makeup you just applied. You want it to look very dark red.
  12. Add some fake blood around the edges of all the wounds and at the edges of your mouth.

And you’re done!

A few more fun tricks: 
  • Apply several layers of liquid latex to your skin (making sure to let each layer dry first). Pick little holes in the latex with a pair of tweezers to create an effect like the skin is decaying and tiny pieces are falling off. And of course, use makeup to color the area. This effect could also be used to make the skin look like it has been severely burned.
  • If you do very thin lines of liquid latex on your skin and build them up to be nice and thick, you will achieve the look of raised scars, which can also look very cool for your zombie costume.
  • Don’t want to go through all the trouble of creating your own zombie wounds? Just buy some pre-made gashes at your local Halloween superstore, secure them to your body with liquid latex and add some fake blood. All done! This method is a lot quicker, but I think the DIY method looks more authentic.

Did you go for a zombie look this Halloween? Share in the comments!

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