Zombie on a Budget

Hallowe’en isn’t always a cheap affair. Adult costumes can often be outwith budgets and can cause no end of heartache. So, how do you deal with the struggle to find a cheap costume? Make it up yourself, of course! One of the easiest (and cheapest!) costumes to don for Hallowe’en is the guise of a zombie. This makeup tutorial is a simple and cheap look for a zombie costume.

You Will Need

  • White foundation or face paint (can often be found throughout stores in October)
  • White powder (this can be substituted for talcum powder if needed)
  • Medium grey, dark brown and red shades of eyeshadows.
  • Eyeshadows in dark grey or black, dark brown and red / orange.
  • An old red lipgloss (the stickier the better!)
  • Talcum powder
  • Old clothes
  • Fake blood (optional)


  1. Start by applying a thin layer of white foundation or face paint across your entire face, including your eyebrows and lips. You do not want to turn yourself completely white here — all you want to do is make your natural skin tone look ashen and unhealthy. Apply a liberal amount of white powder to set. Don’t be afraid to go crazy with the powder as you want your skin to look chalky at this stage. [1]
  2. For the eyes, take a grey eyeshadow and apply it firstly around the sockets of your eyes. The easiest way to do this is to take your finger and feel out the sockets, applying eyeshadow as you go. Fill this in from the end of the socket bone right into your eyelid. Do the same on the bottom, filling in heavily as you go. Ensure that you push this right out — to make your eyes look sunken, apply until just before the bridge of your nose.
  3. To make your eyes look ‘infected’, take your brown and red shadows. Apply the brown one lightly on top of the grey one. Take a small brush and apply red shadow around the tear duct, extending it out to halfway across your lower lash line. Blend it out into the rest of your shadow. [2]
  4. Next, take your grey shadow again. Apply this in a thin line to your nose, starting from the dent where your nose cartilage meets the bone and circle it around until it reaches your cupid’s bow. Blend this in heavily, ensuring that there are no harsh lines present. This makes your nose look more sunken.
  5. If you wish, you can add some bruises at this stage. For this, take your brown shadow and pat it on where you want to make the bruise (I chose the right side of my mouth). When it is covered lightly, switch to the red shadow and add it where you want the focus of the bruise to be. [3]
  6. Take your red lipgloss and apply a small amount to your finger. Pat this gently over your lips. This gives them a glazed / mottled look. At this stage, you can also pull this out from the corner of your mouth to make it look infected. Apply a liberal amount of lipgloss to the corner of your mouth and pat it gently, pulling it out a little from your actual lips. [4]
  7. If you've had your hair tied out of the way, let it down at this stage. Run your hands through it and mess it up a little bit — zombies don't have time to do their hair! Apply talcum powder to the roots and top of your hair and rub it in a little. You can also take the time here to rub talcum powder into your arms, shoulders, chest and legs if you'll have them out. Pop on some old clothes and try to make them look as distressed as possible — if you're unlikely to use the clothes again, a good way to do this is to tear certain areas and rub them in mud. [5]
  8. As a finishing touch, you can add some fake blood — I chose not to here as my skin reacts with it, but you can apply it liberally all over your body and even on your clothes, if you want to! If you’re feeling like splashing out a little bit, another great finishing touch to utilise is the addition of coloured contacts — red and white are popular for zombie costumes.

And there you have it! A Hallowe’en costume that you can create yourself through a very small amount of supplies! Here’s the finished look for the face makeup (sans fake blood) — all that's left is to get your beast death rattle on and roam the streets looking for brains!

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