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Tips for Creating a Zombie Apocalypse Cosplay

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Cosplaying as a zombie is a lot of fun, as there is so much that goes into it. It is not just splattering on some blood and wearing dirtier clothes than usual then staggering around, groaning. If you want to go into detail with your zombie costume, then these handy tips can help you out.

The Character

Nowadays, it isn’t just George Romero’s Day of the Dead zombies you have to base your cosplay on; there is a lot more zombie stuff out there. From zombifying well-known characters like Superman to comedy horrors like Shaun of the Dead, zombie rom-coms like Warm Bodies or the favourite of many, zombie drama The Walking Dead, there are a lot of options to choose from. Then there is the case of zombie or human. Dressing like Shaun from Shaun of the Dead is an easy choice, you just need to put a little red on yourself and get a cricket bat, and there are plenty of good characters from The Walking Dead to cosplay as – Rick, Daryl and Negan to name a few.

But if you want to go down the zombie route, there are several options. There are simple options of zombie cosplay, where you just have some fake dead skin, lots of blood and dirty clothes, but then there is the opportunity to go all out and cosplay as the Spiked Walker from the latest season of The Walking Dead. Both terrifying and cool, your cosplay will definitely stand out!

The Costume

Start with the easier part of the cosplay: the costume. Forget the overly priced, specialised outfits you can get online – the best place to get clothes is from a second hand or charity shop. It is much cheaper, and you just need to spray fake blood on, and rough it up with a few tears, rips and expert fraying. Rub dirt on the clothes to give it the grubby zombie look – this is pretty much what the professional costume designers do on films and TV. Charity shops are also good if you want a more specialised zombie cosplay, such as the undead bride. It is relatively easy to pick up a second-hand wedding dress!

The Makeup

Even a novice at special effects makeup can do a decent job with zombie makeup. However, if you want it to look good, then head to YouTube. It may seem cliché to say, ‘Google it,’ but there are so many great guides and videos out there to give you tips. There are even some videos from The Walking Dead makeup effects supervisor Greg Nicotero, giving advice on how to create the perfect undead look for cosplay. These videos will tell you what makeup to buy, any extras such as fake teeth or liquid latex you may need, and the equipment like brushes and sponges to apply it.

Like with the clothes, there is no need to splash out on the makeup and equipment. Avoid using expensive brushes for things like liquid latex, as it can damage them. Use a basic set of brushes and sponges and a basic makeup pallet. If you have sensitive skin, of course, it is beneficial to buy makeup that will not affect you, but usually, basic sets will do the trick. Make sure you have a good range of colours to use – red, purple and black are good for the wounds, and white and green will create the pale, dead look.

The Hair

If you are cosplaying a zombie, you want to make it look like you just rolled out of the grave, and there a few easy ways to accomplish this. Use hair oil to make it look greasy, or do an extreme ‘bedhead’ by backcombing your hair at the roots, applying hairspray to keep its place; this technique works for both long and short hair. You can also apply baby powder to give your hair a grey and ashen look. For those with long hair who want to keep it out of the way, go for a crooked ponytail, messy bun or ratty braids; these styles will keep your hair out of the way, but also give the unkempt, dishevelled look of a zombie.

The Accessories

To complete the cosplay, you, of course, need the accessories. If you are going for a human character, you might need a crossbow, baseball or cricket bat, an air pistol or gun. However, if the cosplay is for an event, avoid using guns, but getting an air gun can add an air of authenticity to the cosplay, especially if you are doing a professional photography shoot.

A zombie outfit requires few accessories, if any, but make the character your own, adding any extras you feel like. This could be odd weapon choices, such a pitchfork or roses dyed black for the zombie bride. Subtle accessories such as coloured contacts or fake nails that look as though they are broken and rotting are an added layer that can totally complete your cosplay.

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