Friday, October 27, 2017

So... You Want to Be a Zombie

Today, I would like to share a fun and easy program you can do with your teens (or you can do on yourself for an easy Halloween costume!). In a previous position, I held an annual Zombie Day at the library, and it was awesome - we watched two movies, ate Jello-o brains, and did our own makeup. The first year we did a Zombie Day, I hired a makeup artist to turn us undead, but the next year, I decided we could learn to do it ourselves. I'm so glad we did! Our artist was wonderful, but that was money we could spend on other things. And, as it turned out, more teens were interested in doing their own makeup, as we had about twice as many people as we did the year before!

Kat, the Zombie Librarian!
For those who would like to host their own Zombie Day, here is a quick tutorial on how to turn yourself into a zombie. I'm using my own face and hands as a tutorial, so please forgive the zombie selfie photos.

First, the supplies:

We had white, green, and black cream makeup; fake blood; liquid latex; toilet paper (to use with the latex); and LOTS of sponges. We also had small paper plates, so each person could have their own supply of makeup, for sanitary reasons.

To apply a glamorous undead look, first mix up some makeup. Using mostly white, with dabs of green and black, make a lovely disgusting color.  I found that it looked more realistic if the makeup was somewhat mottled, so try to not mix it all the way, and give it a marbleized look.

Give yourself a nice, even coating of a pale, sickly color, anywhere you would like to apply makeup - face, hands, even knees if they stick through the holes in your jeans, whatever. Try to get at least part of your neck, or else the makeup will look just like a mask.

Yes, this is me. Don't I look excited?!

My makeup ended up a fair bit more caked-on than that, but you get the idea. Try to get your lips, too, if your makeup is safe for that (it will say so on the tube).

Next, add a bit more green and black to your makeup to make a darker color, and dab it around your eyes, to make them look sunken in. Solid colors and absolute shapes aren't necessary - no realistic zombie would have a perfect circle of black around their eyes.

You can add some dark spots to cheekbones or for bruises, as well.  Add blood (with sponges! Blood stains clothing!) to your mouth or anywhere else you feel like bleeding. I had it coming out of one ear and dripping down from my mouth. Then, mess up your hair - maybe sprinkle some talcum powder in to make it ashen.  And, voila!

Now, let's say that you want to be the type of zombie that has gaping wounds. That will require liquid latex.

The first thing you do - ALWAYS - is a test patch. Put a little bit of latex on your hand or somewhere else that's easy to wash off, and make sure that you're not itching or burning. If it dries and you are uncomfortable, DO NOT USE THE LATEX! You might be allergic! Even if you've never been allergic to latex before, it is always a good idea to test any new product to see how it makes you feel, just in case. If you can't use latex, you can follow the rest of the directions using school glue; it won't be exactly the same, but it'll be similar.

Once you've tested, it's time to get started!  First, pick where you would like the wound to be.

Even with little dabs of makeup, my hand is rather boring, wouldn't you say? Let's make one here.

Add a layer of liquid latex to your hand (or wherever), and then add some toilet paper to the top of it.  You can scrunch it up or lay it relatively flat (as I did here). Put more latex on top of the toilet paper, until the whole thing is wet, and make sure it's evenly stuck to you on all sides.

The red is fake blood.  Fake, I swear!

Let it dry. (This is the boring part.)

Paint it like you painted your face. Don't forget fingers!

Once it's dry, pick at the latex a little bit, somewhere in the middle of your hand, and pull it up to reveal the skin underneath. This will make a gaping wound, with skin peeling away. Gross.

Like this.

Dab some black paint into the wound to give it some depth.

You can drip or sponge on blood, as well.

Eeew! It's a fresh bite!

The fake blood that I had dried nicely after a few minutes, so I didn't have to worry too much about it rubbing off on anything I touched. It smeared a little bit, but the blood smears seemed to accentuate the look, so I was fine with that.

Here's how one of my teens did with her hand.  It looks so gross - I love it!

A few notes on liquid latex:

  • Always do a test patch before you apply! I know we said that, but it's worth re-stating.
  • It smells really bad. Fair warning.
  • You can use this anywhere on your body, but be careful that you don't get it into your hair. If you do get it caught in your hair, it should dissolve or loosen up with oil - baby oil, olive oil, and peanut butter all work really well, much like they do with bubble gum. It takes a little while, but this does work! (I gave myself a head wound on Halloween, and ended up using the peanut butter method on my hairline and my eyebrow. I smelled delicious.)
  • You can use things besides toilet paper for texture. Coffee grounds make excellent scabs, and crushed cereal gives you a flaky, falling-apart look. Experiment and have fun!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

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