Help With Zombie Makeup, But Not Really Gross Zombie Makeup
October 6, 2014 8:03 PM   Subscribe

So, my kid wants to be a zombie for Halloween. Fine. But stuff that is too scary gives him nightmares. I do not think he can deal with most of the zombie masks you can find in costume stores. And also I don't want to scare the little kids that will be at the places we are going.

Makeup? Great. I can do that. But in the millions of online tutorials, most of them are focusing on being as gross/gooey/scary as possible...lots of blood and all. Which we don't want to do.

I can do the toilet-paper wounds thing and just keep it at the lower end of gross, like this mom. But her tutorial kind of sucks and also I do not have random pots of makeup lying around.

So! What I need is someone to tell me what supplies I need. I've got the cheap toilet paper, oats, or elmer's glue for wounds. But I need some makeup base, right? Like a cheap pale base? (the stuff you get in Halloween kits isn't going to cover his whole face and neck and hands, I think?) What do I get to make the shadows/bruises? We will put a little fake blood on him and more on his clothes, but not ultra gory. We can shred up some old clothes. But the makeup is stumping me.
posted by emjaybee to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Lex from "MadeYewLook" on YouTube is my favorite body painter these days. Her zombie tutorial may be a bit over the top, but covers what you might want to think about in terms of colors and approach.
posted by xingcat at 8:06 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

It might be a little more expensive than you would spend on a kid's halloween costume, but I highly recommend going to a real costume shop and getting professional-grade makeup. You'll want to get some kind of white or pale base, and also a "bruise wheel" which has purple and yellow and a few other colors. Look up some tutorials on YouTube. A couple years ago I had a costume that required bruises so I did this and made some really convincing-looking bruises. I am not artistic at all but I was impressed with myself!
posted by radioamy at 8:08 PM on October 6, 2014

Oh also you can also get this "setting powder" to dust over the makeup when you're done that will set it so it won't smudge. It looks white but it absorbs and works great.
posted by radioamy at 8:10 PM on October 6, 2014

Zombies are just normal people who got bitten by a zombie, aren't they? My kids went as zombie princesses and faeries a few years ago. They wore their tutus etc and I just got white face paint and did serious black eye liner and red lipstick with a bit dribbled down the sides of their mouths. Worked a treat. And the normalcy of their clothes meant they weren't scary to other kids.
posted by taff at 8:14 PM on October 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

I would buy the snazaroo kit that includes black, green and white.
Do a mix of the green and white on the sponge. A very little goes a long way with the green. Then just black around the eyes.
posted by beccaj at 8:17 PM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: What kind of face paint did you use, taff, just the drugstore stuff? The last time I used something like that (ages ago) it made me break out so bad!

Maybe it's better
posted by emjaybee at 8:37 PM on October 6, 2014

If you don't want it to be too scary, I'd go for a flat cartoonish look with a green face and dark eyes instead of a pale/bruised/bloody palette. This one's still a little bloodier than I'd like, but it's closer to a cartoon than some of the others out there. Here's a grown-up green zombie face that's not scary at all; just flat pretty green. Here's a slightly scarier grownup green zombie with black around the eyes. If you only needed to buy green, maybe that'd make it easier to pick up professional grade?
posted by redsparkler at 8:39 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

emjaybee - Snazaroo is good. You can prob get it at a party store. The drug store stuff it the same as it always was, terrible!
posted by beccaj at 9:02 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Zombies vary, so where has he seen the zombies that make him want to be one for Halloween? I'm betting it is more of a Tim Burton cartoonish zombie he has in mind than a Walking Dead decaying corpse. You can probably skip the blood and gore completely, which I agree could be a bit scary for /little kids.

I think this fine upstanding young zombie (he likes turtles!) could serve as a good model for your son's costume.

Basically, just a pale face with contrasting dark eyes and lips.

White t-shirt under a torn long-sleeved shirt(or sweatshirt if you live some place nice where it is actually cool in the Fall), with dark pants and shoes, and you are good.

Also, this may be off the wall, but he could collect his trick-or-treat candy in this brain mold! Bonus: It's bright green and so will make him more visible in the dark (but he will just think it's cool).
posted by misha at 9:02 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

If it's for little kid, just get facepaint, paint him a bright (almost lime) green and have silly stitches, frankenstein style.
posted by Elysum at 9:03 PM on October 6, 2014

Oh, here is a great kid zombie face tutorial! She uses kid safe white makeup, black eye liner and mineral green eye powder.

Warning, a few seconds of scary laughter at the very beginning.
posted by misha at 9:08 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I bought a small pot of professional, expensive white face paint. The brand is Derivan, but it may be Australian.
posted by taff at 10:47 PM on October 6, 2014

Is he into Minecraft? That game has zombies that are not particularly gory or scary, and would be an easy to put
together and very recognizable costume for a lot of kids (even if you didn't do the whole rectangular head thing).
posted by Zephyrial at 11:04 PM on October 6, 2014

Best answer: A lot of what makes your skin break out isn't the makeup itself, but how you take it off. Almost all makeup will come off nicely without irritating the skin by using olive oil. Just put olive oil on a cotton ball or pad, and work it into the makeup. Wipe off with a clean pad, and repeat until all the makeup's gone. Use a q-tip for the finicky spots. Then wash your kid's face with normal gentle soap and water. Don't worry if he's still a little oily in the end, it'll absorb in a while and it's totally safe.

I would also suggest going a little hardcore and spending money on good stage makeup. Ben Nye is a classic line for good reason. It will last all day and night, come off well, blend nicely, and if you store it right (in the fridge!) can be used for many years. Try this Monster Wheel. You'll also need Translucent Face Powder.

Do a base of the grey. Don't forget the backs of hands, wrists, and neck. Build up a couple layers and blend so some parts are more grey than others. Set it with powder (that means take a puff or big brush, put powder on it, and dust that powder all over the makeup. Wait a little while.) Then do your shadows with maroon and violet (mix them for a dark sludge color). Contour under the eyes and brows, the ligaments of the neck and wrists, the cheekbones, a little around the jaw, lips, temples, nostrils. Set it with powder. Then do highlights with the white and blue, along the top of the brow, bridge of the nose, sides of the neck, bones in the back of hands. Set it with powder. (Do you sense a pattern?) Then do a little color, dusting green where you'd put blush on the cheeks, forehead, chin. Set it with powder. Apply really dark lipstick, or use the makeup palette's, and set that, although it'll get licked off via candy I'm sure.

Zombie is more about the shuffle and groan than the wounds and yucky flesh stuff. Practice that and no gore is required. Although you could also buy some pink stockings and stuff them and sew them together like a cartoonish intestine spilling out of a raggedy buttondown shirt!
posted by Mizu at 12:02 AM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

my daughter went a few years ago as a ghost bride and i used the cheap white halloween makeup you buy at CVS plus a cheap dark blue glittery eye shadow dusted over the top with a big brush to give her a blueish hue. Would work the same with a green for a zombie. Then used black eyeliner with a darker coating of the blue eyeshadow on her eyes and lips.

She looked awesome and it was easy and cheap. I am no help on the wounds. usually i see kits that have stick on wounds. might be less itchy than glue and toilet paper.
posted by domino at 6:59 AM on October 7, 2014

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