Step four: Apply the prosthetic to your zombie's face. The guys at the Haunted Barn make their own using plaster molds, but similar gory-looking latex creations also can be found at costume shops and, sometimes, big box stores. Take your time when applying the prosthetic. Once the glue sets, it's difficult to move it. Pay attention to the edges. They're pretty thin, so make sure they don't roll up and stick together. If the mask is too large, carefully trim the edges with scissors.
Step five: Make the prosthetic's edges less noticeable by blending it into your zombie's skin with a latex product like Mold Builder. The Haunted Barn's makeup artists use a variety of tools, from makeup sponges to Q-tips and paintbrushes for this job. Be sure to cover the bridge of the nose and — ever so carefully — the area surrounding your zombie's eyes. Tell your zombie to close his or her eyes while you're doing this part.
Step six: Dry the latex with a hairdryer, but don't hold the hairdryer too close. You don't want to burn the latex ... or your zombie.
Step seven: Now that the latex is dry, it's time to start applying the makeup. Start by covering the zombie's face with a flesh tone. Although early zombie movies like "Dawn of the Dead" made the undead look a little blue or green, modern takes on the genre usually give these brain-eaters a more natural look with decomposing flesh and bloody wounds galore. The Haunted Barn uses an airbrush for this initial layer, but sponges and brushes also will work.
Step eight: Use craft paint thinned with water to blend any gory details of your prosthetic — ripped skin, open wounds, etc. — into the rest of your zombie's face.
Step nine: Dab your zombie's face with a sea sponge, dipped in dark-colored craft paint. It really brings out that freshly undead look, and draws attention away from the edges of the prosthetic.
Step 10: Time for a zombie cocktail. Mix your favorite mouthwash with red, green and blue food coloring. Have your zombie swish that around for 30 seconds to temporarily stain his teeth. Be sure he gets some on his lips and around his mouth.
Step 11: Apply a thick fake blood product like "Fresh Scab" around the zombie's mouth to make it look like he or she just had dinner. If your prosthetic features any gaping wounds, put some fake blood in those, too. For added gore, dip a large paintbrush in thinned stage blood. Then, use your thumb to fleck the zombie's face with blood splatter. The undead don't eat with knives and forks, after all.
Step 12: Now that your zombie looks like a zombie, he should begin acting like one. Help him practice groans and a stumbling, shuffling walk. Feel free to run into things. Remember, rigor mortis has already set in, so zombies don't move with much grace.
- Mortician's wax looks and feels like skin, so it also can be used to make realistic-looking scars on your zombie's face. Apply a thick layer and then carve out a scar with the solid end of a paintbrush.
- Liquid latex also can be used to create ridges and bumps on a zombie's skin. Just smudge it with your fingers.
- There are several kinds of fake blood. If you find stage blood too runny, you can use a product like "Fresh Scab" to give your wounds a lasting shine.
- Costume stores sell different color wheels for different makeup projects. Some give you all the colors needed to create realistic-looking bruises, while others mimic dead flesh.
- Thrift stores are a gold mine for zombie-worthy clothing. Don't be afraid to rip, tear and cut your clothes for added effect. If you choose to attack your new duds with scissors, use a wire brush to fray the edges.