Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to make your Little Pumpkins...ZOMBIES...for Halloween

There comes a time in every child's life where they go from wanting to be a PBS character on Halloween to wanting to be something really scary. Yes, it is sad, but your Little Pumpkin is growing up and wants to test the waters of a pre-teen.

If your Little Pumpkin wants to be a have come to the right place.

This is my little guy last Halloween as a zombie. He had just turned 8 at the time and wanted to dress more like his older siblings. The weekend before, we were at a Halloween festival camping and he let me dress him up as Carl from the movie UP!, and he ended up taking 2nd place in the costume contest. The picture of him as Carl it to the right, big difference between the two costumes. I made a deal with him, if I could dress him for the contest, he could pick anything he wanted to be Halloween night. He chose to be a zombie. Also note, I work a full-time job during the day, got home around 5:00, served dinner and had this make-up done by dusk at 7:00. It is very easy and manageable. I also "zombiefied" the older boy who was Trick-or-Treating for the last time (another sad story that I don't want to get into right now).
Zombie Make-up for Kids
What you need:
old clothes for them to wear
toilet paper (the cheap stuff)
white glue
face paint:

hair dryer
corn syrup
food coloring:

Old Clothes: we went to the Goodwill to find some old clothes that we could shred up. We used an old suit coat that no longer fit, a plain long sleeved t-shirt and Goodwill jeans. Cut a snip in the bottom of the jeans and tear them upwards a little to get tears to look like weeks of walking around looking for brains to eat. If you are in a cold weather climate, buy larger jeans that will fit over layers.

Make-up: Start with a clean face. I used a headband to hold the hair off of the forehead to make things easier. Bobby pins will also work for this. Rip up small quarter sized pieces of the toilet paper. Get a whole big mound of them. Then grab a small bowl and pour in some of the white glue. I used my fingers, but you could also use a small paint brush, but get some glue on your finger and dab it where you would like the first wound to be, I started with the forehead. Put some of the wet glue on the forehead, add a piece of toilet paper, then add more glue, then add more toilet paper. And so on, think of paper mache, same concept. You will be making it look like a large bump on their forehead. Make it spread out a little bit but not taking over the entire forehead. Be sure to keep dabbing glue and then toilet paper. Once it is a big mound shape, put a light layer of glue over the whole wound. Move onto the cheek or second area now doing the same process. Once both areas are complete, take a hair dryer, set it to cool (don't want to burn them) and try to dry the wound as best as you can. You don't want it completely dry, but not wet either. If you don't have a hair dryer, let it dry while they are eating some dinner, that should give it enough time.

Now you need to open the bump up to look like a real wound. Take something like a toothpick, end of the paint brush, tweezers, bobby pin, something that you can break into the middle of the bump with. Poke into the middle of the bump down to their skin. Be careful not to poke their skin too hard or they will complain (learned that the hard way). Once you get your tool down to their skin, wiggle it around a little bit to be able to get your finger inside the bump. Then wiggle your finger around a little bit to get it to open up. Use both hands to kind of peel the open skin (toilet paper) in a volcano type of shape. Don't open it up too close to the edges of the toilet paper so it comes off. Just make a large hole in the middle and let the edges of it be jaggy like they were torn open. At this point if the inside of the toilet paper is still wet, use your hair dryer again to dry the inside of the wound. This part does need to be dry before continuing with the face paint.

Once the would is dry you can start with the face paint. Now if you are more talented than me, use your own style and go crazy. I went with a simple approach as it was just for Trick-or-Treating, not any contests. I started by dabbing black paint around his eye sockets using a make-up sponge. Covering the whole eye socket with a light layer of black. I then covered the rest of his whole face with white, even the outsides of the wounds, even though the toilet paper is white too. While the white was drying, I went over the black by his eyes with a purple to make it look more hollow. Also a little red under his eye lids to make them more blood shot looking and tired. Then onto the wound. Use red face paint to try to cover the entire inside of the wound including the toilet paper that is pulled away from their face. It is tricky and a paint brush may be needed to get into the little spaces. Add a little purple into the red of the wound also, it will give it a more realistic blood look than just the plain red.

Optional: You can make the wounds look ever grosser if you want to by adding fake blood. If your child is younger, I would skip this part as it could get quite messy. In a small bowl, pour about 1/8 cup plain corn syrup and mix a few drops of red and one drop of blue food coloring in. Stir well. This is all you need for fake blood. Use a paint brush and paint it into the bottom of the wounds, corners of their mouth, neck, anywhere. They will look like they just came from a brain feeding if you have it going down their necks. It is sticky and gross, but really catches the light and looks real. The fake blood is the difference between "Look at that cute little zombie." and "OMG that is so gross!"

Both the boys ended up going with the fake blood, because come on, they are boys, they love this stuff. I ended up making way to much fake blood, so be aware that a little goes a very long way.

Clean up for your little zombie is also quite fun. The wounds peel right off the face. Remember back when you were in elementary school and would put glue on your hands to peel it off later...same thing. Because it is just glue and toilet paper, it peels right off their face. Be careful if any of their hair got into it as it will hurt pulling any hair out. The fake blood washed right off, and the face paint might need a little more scrubbing, but should wash right off too.

The best part of this type of costume is that it is unisex, and works for all ages. They can be a zombie anything...zombie football player, zombie cheerleader, zombie wedding party, zombie prom. Any costume with a non-masked face can be turned into a zombie. It works for little ones all the way up to adults.

If you try it out, let me know how it goes. If you have any further questions, please leave a comment and I will get back to you. Now start thinking about how you are going to zombie your kids up this year.

Check out my other Halloween ideas here.

I am sharing this post with all of these lovely bloggers.


  1. So creepy!!! Great costume. I'm hosing a state art giveaway that you should enter!

  2. You are one awesome mom!!! I adore special effects makeup and Halloween is my absolute favorite time of year. I can imagine your kids growing up would be sad for any mom but I thinks it's so cool your helped your older boy go out with a bang. Very cool costumes. If your older boy wants to dress up again this year and you need any help creating awesome creepy gory things check out my YouTube channel. Yes the makeup is bloody and gory but also very fun. I hope your boys keep up with at least dressing up each year.

  3. This is sooooo cool. I saw once how to make face wounds but this takes the cake. Very cool. Wow. Take care, Linda

  4. Wow, these zombies look very credible as the undead. Wonderful job, and I love the toilet paper option! Problem is I can only practice this on myself since my kids are too old for my interference. So sad...

  5. Oh myyyy! These zombie Halloween makeup look so gory and so real and give me some creeps. Brrrr

  6. There comes a time in every child's life where they go from wanting to be a PBS character ...