Looking like a zombie


Graphic by Laila Hack
Graphic by Laila Hack

With the annual Waterloo Zombie Walk dawning upon us, it may seem like a daunting task to perfectly capture the look of the ever-popular, ever-trendy beings we know as zombies. In order to accommodate those who may not know where to begin, here is a guide to help send you lurching in the right direction.

A definite must is to not wear any cherished or valuable clothing, as you and everyone around you will be covered in staining makeup. Make sure what you wear is disposable so any dripping liquids don’t ruin your day. If you don’t have anything old that looks good in public, go to a thrift store and pick up some cheap, potentially disposable clothes, as tearing here and there is a must. While it would be easiest to assemble an outfit that allows for the best and most comfortable shambling, an intricate costume can lend all sorts of personality to the zombie you wish to role-play. Have some old formal wear? Go as a lonely prom-dweller struck before they could ask the person they liked to dance. Got an unused tracksuit lying around? You’re now a hyper-dedicated track star who was training for Olympic gold.
It depends on your dedication level, but the ones that stand out are always the most intriguing.

Ah, now here’s where the fun begins. To be frank, a non-mutilated zombie is also a boring one, as the right amount of blood and guts can give the right look to the kind of zombie you wish to portray. Even if you don’t have the time to make a latex monstrosity to marvel the best zombie flicks, a nice slathering of fake blood can compensate for a lack of complexity in the viscera. Of course a sufficiently thick mixture —typically one part water and three parts corn syrup with drops of red food colouring — does the trick nicely. In order to really capture the grotesque nature of a reanimated corpse, a bit of cocoa powder will give it a sickly brownish colour, as well as giving it just the right amount of thickness to make it seem as though the blood has been there a good long while. Either way, a selective amount of fake blood can be the perfect concoction to help support your particular zombie’s sense of identity amidst a crowd of fellow shamblers.

Getting the right undead hue for your skin is the foundation the entire look rests upon. If this is not successfully pulled off, the rest of the costume falls apart because of how alive you look compared to your fellow walkers. And when they’re so often used as a metaphor for conformity, sticking out like a pulsating thumb would be rather antithetical.
To achieve the exact hue of the recently-rotting will change from person-to-person, but a good base to start with is a thin layer of baby powder, as it drains the vibrancy and sheen from the skin until it becomes beautifully dull. Combining that with a face powder to match your skin will help you reach a tone that will make you appear undead without going so far as to look like a pale, sparkling vampire.
While there are more elaborate ways of transforming into an undead version of yourself, these simple tricks are a good starting point and will hopefully guide you on Oct. 4.

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