The great thing about dressing as a zombie is it's simple and inexpensive to make your own DIY Halloween costume from old clothing, even as a last minute idea. Worn out pants and shirts, cut and shredded a bit to look ragged, are classic zombie apparel.
The key to making the cosplay zombie costume look legit is to ensure the cuts in the clothing aren't perfect, and that they're stretched, pulled and stressed a bit more to make them look like old wear.
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Adding real or fake dirt and grass stains as well as fake dried blood really round out the look for your homemade costume, just in time for a Halloween party. All in all, a homemade zombie outfit is one of the easiest Halloween costume ideas to create.
Perfecting the zombie costume pants
The ideal zombie pants already have a bit of wear on them, as that means less work for you, and the wear already looks realistic. Even so, they need a bit of work to give them the zombie look, as if they've been in the ground a while. For an effective look, choose pants that are easy to tear a bit and make stringy, such as some old denim jeans. Either use old pair you never wear from your own closet or pick up a bargain at a thrift store.
Use a utility knife to poke holes in strategic locations, such as along the fronts of the thighs and the knee area. Twist the knife in the hole a few times, then stretch the hole out with your hands. Stretch some holes quite large and leave others small, as if they're relatively fresh. Tug at some threads around the holes to shred the clothing a bit. If necessary, use small scissors or a razor blade to slice random areas around the perimeter of the hole, then tear those strips a bit to make flaps of random sizes.
Cut along the bottom hemline in certain areas and rip the bottom hem off of one of the pant legs, and maybe both. Feel free to cut off a few inches and shred what's left to make it look as though the pants have decayed. Continue shredding and tugging until the pants have the desired look for your zombie Halloween costume.
Making a zombie shirt
An old shirt that stretches easily, such as a T-shirt or sweatshirt, is a great choice for your DIY zombie costume since stretching it out makes it look old even before you cut it up a bit. Grab opposite sides of the neckline on a stretchable shirt and tug as hard as you can to make the neck hole look older and worn out. Make some slices in it with a razor blade or a craft knife and pull some of the threads to shred the neck hole a bit.
Choose locations along the bottom half of the shirt, the middle of the back, and sleeve areas to slice holes in the shirt; the holes may be wherever you like, but keep in mind that your bare skin will show through so a little hole-placement strategy is a good idea. Tug at some of the holes a bit to make them larger and worn out, and tear threads from some of them to make it look as if the shirt is frayed and decayed. Tear parts of some of the hems off the shirt as well; feel free to leave them hanging for added effect.
Adding dirt and stains
Dirt and stains add a bit of realism to your cut-up zombie outfit. Rub the shirt and pants in the grass, dirt or some coffee grounds. Feel free to dip certain areas in coffee for added dark stains. For blood stains around holes, splatter fake blood or slightly watered down red craft paint or food coloring in the area with a paintbrush, brushing some of the fake blood material directly around the holes.
Drip some of the fake blood material down the clothing in certain areas, such as along the neckline and down the front of the shirt. Continue adding fake blood and dirt stains until your zombie costume looks just the way you'd like. Put the costume on, jazz yourself up with some undead or zombie makeup and you're ready to join the walking dead.