Children's Zombie Makeup Ideas

Written by dan ruppel
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Children's Zombie Makeup Ideas
This young zombie is just a smudge of make-up away from eating some candy brains (Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

From movies like "28 Days Later" and "I Am Legend" to pop culture phenomena like "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," there has been a veritable resurrection in people's interest in zombies over the last several years. Chances are, when Halloween rolls around, your child will have zombies on the mind. Fabric costumes just don't do it for zombie-lovers, but helping your little one attain that undead pallor for their big night is simple, if you keep these few provisos in mind.

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The Base

Most zombies have spent at least a couple weeks underground before the unholy ritual that brought them back from the grave. Getting the right colour of etiolated flesh is crucial to creating a fearful zombie visage. Start with white pancake make-up to give a solid base on which to draw the rest of your frightening designs. Make sure that the lips are whitened too (that lovely red is a telltale sign of a beating heart). Solid dark circles beneath and around the eyes will help give the impression of an unpleasantly interrupted rest.

Disintegrating Flesh

Nothing says "rotting corpse" like a peeling cheekbone. Remember that you're working with kids, so the object is more to develop a funky and cool texturing than to convince your child's classmates that his or her face is actually falling off. Take a latex balloon and cut it into pieces. Stretch the pieces until they lose their elasticity, and cover them in the same white pancake make-up that you used for the face. Use spirit gum to attach onto the cheeks or forehead.

Brains, Sinews, Etc.

Zombies may be soulless, but these walking cadavers do provide a glimpse of our inner being in a certain sense. Drawing bits of "exposed" muscle or teeth can really differentiate zombie costumes from other skeletons or ghouls that may be wandering in the night. Again, though, remember that you are not trying to make your child into a walking anatomy lesson. Keep the designs as vague and simple as possible -- a little bit of suggestive squiggle goes a long way.


Chances are, your little zombie wants to be a little boy or girl again in the morning. Choosing the right make-up will help ensure it comes off easily and treats the skin gently. A children's face-painting kit, available at many toy shops or art supply stores, should do the trick, and it's cheaper than professional make-up. Double-check that all make-up is non-toxic before applying it to the child's face and use white lipstick for any areas that the tongue can reach.


Of all the costume possibilities, zombies probably offer the greatest potential for graphic representation. Consult with your child about what she thinks a zombie looks like before you apply any make-up to her face and body. Have her look in the mirror before she leaves home. The most important thing is that the child is comfortable in her own skin.

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