How to do your zombie makeup for the Atlanta Zombie Pub Crawl

Cofounder and special effects artist Luke Godfrey shows us the steps
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Zombies
Photograph by Black Medusa Photography

On July 25, the undead will fill the streets (and bar stools) during the annual Atlanta Zombie Pub Crawl. We asked crawl cofounder and special effects artist Luke Godfrey about how to get that “fresh from the crypt” look.

You’ll need:

  • Nonreinforced cotton coil (find at beauty supply shops)
  • Liquid latex*
  • Alcohol-based body paint or grease paint* (Ben Nye brand)
  • Hairspray or gel
  • Powder (Ben Nye brand)
  • Ben Nye Final Seal spray
  • Fake blood

*Can’t find latex or paint? Try the Engineer Guy store near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

1 Sculpt wounds
Pour liquid latex into a bowl, then add cotton coil. Shape the saturated cotton around your brows and cheekbones. To make wounds, wait for the cotton to dry halfway, then use your fingers to pull pieces away. (Before adding latex to hair—like eyebrows—smear on a thin layer of petroleum jelly.)

2 Start painting
Wait for the latex to dry completely, then use a sponge to apply a base coat that’s a few shades paler than your regular skin tone. Play up natural indentations (eye sockets, throat) with medium to dark brown paint, and lightly add squiggly brown, red, and blue lines to create veins. Use burgundy or black to color wounds. Remember: The more exposed skin you have, the more makeup you have to use. There’s a reason zombies on “The Walking Dead” roam around in long pants and dresses.

3 Tease and tangle your hair
Add hairspray to hold or hair gel for a slick and matted look.

4 Get grubby
Pat white, brown, or black powder onto your face, hair, and clothing for a dirty appearance.

5 Make it last
Secure your makeup with Ben Nye Final Seal spray, then dab on fake blood at the very end (because it’s so sticky and messy), suggests Godfrey.

Expert Tip
Get creative: Think of a superhero or another famous figure, and invent an undead version of that character.

On the calendar: Practice your best wobble walk at the Virginia-Highland bar hop on July 25.

This article originally appeared in our July 2015 issue.

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