"They're coming to get you, Barbara!"
I really don't know what it is about zombies that we love to love to hate (and love) but whatever it is, it seems to work. There's even an international zombie day now, can you believe that? Zombie proms, zombie weddings, zombie crawls, zombie family decals for your car, garden zombies (like gnomes, only more dead), zombie survival guides, zombie head cookie jars (no, I am not making this up), zombie games, zombie slippers, zombie cakes, zombie... well, pretty much zombie everything.
One of my favorite shows on tv now is The Walking Dead. Go figure!
One of the newer (not new at all, really - we did these 20+ years ago when you were just a weirdo freak if you loved zombies) trends in party themes that seems to be growing now is a Zombie Party. But now that it's hip to dig zombies, more and more people are into it. What's more is, they're not just for Halloween anymore! Oh no, people have Zombie themed parties for birthdays, promotions, engagements, in celebration of World Zombie Day (this year it's October 13th) or because it's Saturday.
Recently I had a custom request for a zombie party invitation and I thought to myself "self, are you wacky, you don't even HAVE any zombie party invitations!" so right away I created one. Which led to another, and then another, and the more I made the more fun it was and now I have a nice selection to choose from (and will be adding to it, I assure you). There are already a few styles that seem to be more popular than the others and I thought about it today and thought it might be a good idea to give some tips and pointers on how to throw a super-fun zombie party. There really is no "set" formula but there are some things you can do to make it more fun. So let's get started:
First, you need some cool invitations so all your undead friends know where to go, what time, and what's going on. The undead need a lot of help in this area so these are all very easily customizable:
Now on to the party itself.
This party is easy. You can either go crazy and raid the party store for any and all zombie-related items they have, or you can go totally casual and just light a few candles here and there. It all depends on what you're up for.
• One idea I really liked was hitting up the dollar store for things like "warning", "caution" and/or "biohazard" signs (the ones that have the blank spot for you to write in) and make up your own signs for the party itself and for directions to the party with big arrows on them and the address.
• Cut some cardboard strips the length and width of boards and board up your windows and then spray paint (be careful you don't overshoot & spray the house!) your "boards" with warnings like "DO NOT ENTER" or "DEAD INSIDE - CAUTION". You could also use finger paint (make sure it's red) to give it a more realistic look. Be sure to splatter some here and there on the "boards".
As we all know, zombies have 1 hobby: eating. Now, ask yourself "what do zombies like to eat?" Obviously, the answer is: neighbors, policemen (and women), pizza delivery boys, cheerleaders, soldiers, nurses and old people. And, pretty much everyone else. So, to make your party a hit you have to (at the very least) serve up some people-food such as:
• Zombie Fingers! Zombie Fingers are super easy to make and you can use several different things depending on your taste and time. One way to make them is with carrot sticks (or slender baby carrots), cream cheese (for the nail glue) and pieces of green (or red) pepper cut into the shape of finger nails. Just "glue" the nails onto the carrots and set them all on a plate. Creepy huh? The other way you can do it, is to use a package (or five) of lady finger cookies (or wafer cookies cut in half length-wise as shown in this picture), raspberry jam for the glue and sliced almonds for the nails. Then, there's cheese sticks (shown here with green pepper nails), peanut butter (which looks delightfully gross) and almonds. Still another version of zombie fingers is to cut hot dogs in half, wrap with strips of dough (the Pillsbury stuff in the can) for the "bandages" then bake them. Once done, dip the cut ends in a ketchup mixture and set out on a plate. (Yes, I actually did make zombie fingers today just to take a picture and show it here. Both batches of these took about 30 minutes total.)
• Intestines! I know it sounds putrid but it looks so real. Broil a whack of small linked sausages (don't cut the links) then lay out on a puddle of BBQ sauce (or ketchup) on a serving platter. Voila, instant innards.
• Eyeball Punch - will be a sure hit. The easiest way to make it is to get a bunch of bananas, scoop out balls with a melon baller and then freeze them until they're solid. Make your punch (green is a good color, use limeade and lime sherbet) then plop all the eyeballs in there. Yummy!
COSTUMES and MAKEUP
Costumes are the easiest part, unless you are getting real technical. You have tons of options from store bought zombie gear to make-it-yourself stuff. If you're doing it yourself, a great idea is to hit the thrift store for super cheap clothes that will be transformed into a zombie uniform. Coveralls, out-of-style dresses & shoes, whatever works for you. Buy it, take it home and trash it. Smear some fake blood on it, rip off a sleeve, tear a hole in it or whatever you like. Remember wherever you tear a hole or rip a sleeve (or pant leg) that's where you need to apply make up too. If the sleeve is ripped off, make sure you apply gouges and scratches to the bare arm. If you rip a hole in the shirt, do the same to the skin under the hole, etc.
Makeup is probably the most fun you're going to have getting ready to join the undead. You can go to youtube and find a bazillion helpful tutorials on how to apply zombie makeup, or just go nuts and do it yourself. Back in the day when I did zombie makeup, youtube didn't even exist so there was just a lot of blue, gray and green eyeshadow applied liberally to the natural indentations in the face & neck, plus some good old fashioned fake blood from the Halloween aisle at the store.
Well, I hope you found this useful and if you're planning a zombie party, just remember there are no hard and fast rules, except to have fun with it. Oh, grunt and shuffle a lot.