Melbourne Zombie Shuffle

I’d been wanting to go to the annual Melbourne Zombie Shuffle for several years, but this is the first year that I actually made it! I cut up some old thrifted clothes and go as a fairly straight-forward steampunk zombie. My outfit was based on an actual outfit that I regularly wear but caked with fake blood. I had the most awesome time scaring the bystanders and the crowd was very friendly. At one point I ended up getting into a “braaaaaains” groaning match with a fellow zombie.

There were pretty much every type of zombie under the sun. Characters included Lady Gaga, Barber Shop Quartet, Rocky, Rambo, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Domo Kun, Marie Antoinette, Jesus (of course), Silent Hill Nurses, Zombies vs Plants, Indiana Jones, Freddy Kruger etc etc etc. The effort some people had gone to was amazing. Other people had fairly simple costumes but were just always “in-character” so the strength of their, um, personality made them stand out in the crowd.

FAKE BLOOD RECIPE

My fake blood recipe was a combination of stuff I’d read on the internet and some helpful suggestions from friends. I didn’t measure anything, I just sort of mixed everything together until I felt it was the right consistency.

You’ll need:

  • Cocoa powder
  • Glucose/corn syrup (I found it with the baking stuff in the Supermarket after looking everywhere)
  • Corn flour
  • Red food dye
  • Blue food dye
  • Yellow food dye
  • Hot Water

I started with about half a cup of hot water and gradually mixed in a few tablespoons of cocoa and maybe one heaped tablespoon of corn flour. The cocoa will give the blood a deeper colour and help with the crusting (and the taste). The cornflour will thicken the mixure but not colour it.

I added glucose syrup next, until the blood dripped with the right consistency. The syrup will also allow the blood to shine and crust after its dry on clothing or skin.

I added a tiny, tiny bit of red food dye. The first batch I had to throw out because I added too much red, then too much blue, then more red and the colour was really too bright. Mix in a tinier bit of blue and even tinier bit of yellow, and then add more red until you’re happy with the colour.

Bottle it! It’s edible so you can gurgle and and spit it out of your mouth. It’ll also crust and flake once it’s dry on your skin.

As nice as the red-blood-on-white-shirt contrast is, my favourite zombies were the ones who looked liked fairly ordinary people who’d been infected doing daily stuff. Cyclists, artists, tennis players, business men, schoolkids, etc. And there were some really snappy-dressers there, even covered in rips and fake blood.

So without further ado, the best of undead fashion:

ZOMBIE DRESSING TIPS

Blood: The easiest way to create realistic looking blood spills is to spit it from your mouth and let it dribble down, or to hug fellow zombies. Blood pools in certain areas (like around the breasts) and there’d be more blood on the front of the body than the back because most of the blood would come from you attacking a victim from the front. Think about gravity and the source of the blood when applying it to clothing.

Clothing: A zombie has torn clothing usually because it’s brainless and will get their clothing caught on obstacles but keep shuffling. Tears are most likely to happen on either the joins of the clothing pattern (ie. where things are stitched together) which is relatively weak OR on loose material that could be pulled or caught on things. On my dress there were more tears around the edges because they’re more likely to catch onto things than say, close to the waisband.

Skin and Wounds: I used PVA with liquid foundation, purple and green eyeshadow. That looked okay, but I actually liked the simple bruising that a lot of zombies had. Around the knuckles and eyes are darkened with purple, and you can blend the edges in with some green. I also used a thin layer of white facepaint that just gave me a sickly pallour.

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2 responses to “Melbourne Zombie Shuffle

  1. I love the fact that your first photo is of my lovely godsister Erika and her awesome costume, because that’s so incredibly Melbourne-esque that your first photo should be someone I know…..

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