Dim the lights and board up the windows -- it's zombie party time.

How to Decorate for a Zombie Party

by Kris Gleba

Costume parties allow you and your family to not only socialize with friends, but to dress up and pretend to be someone else for one special night. Hold a zombie party at any time of the year -- not just at Halloween -- and allow your kids to mimic the undead. Your children can act indifferently, wear soiled and ripped clothing, go days without bathing and speak in mumbled, barely coherent phrases. You know -- just as they would normally behave -- if not for you.

1. Get the Party Started

When decorating for a zombie party, first think of the guests and their age ranges. For young children, keep much of the scary decor to a minimum. If you are hosting a wide range of age groups, create one room that is kid-friendly for the younger set, while the other rooms can appear as if they have been hit by the zombie apocalypse where not only is everyone infected, but everyone else has left town. Add scraps of torn newspapers and a disheveled appearance to the room.

2. Den of the Living Dead

Protect furniture by draping seating with canvas dropcloths repurposed as slipcovers. These protect your furniture because zombies are notoriously messy, never washing hands after a kill. Amplify the scare factor by staining the slipcovers with fake blood. Remove all decorative accessories for zombies, because much like children, they do not keep things nice. Make the remaining furnishings, such as media units or bookcases, part of the scene by draping them with fake cobwebs. Tea-stained, shredded cheesecloth or plain white tulle both work as the latter. Drape the windows with similar cobwebs for tame parties, or go for the kill and tack thin pieces of board over the windows and position fake arms as if they are reaching inside through the windows. When the party room is far from the main door hang directions, complete with arrows, that read "Brains this Way" or "Caution: Infected Area Ahead." Biohazard posters complete the look.

3. Decor of the Dead

Bring out your zombie Halloween decorations to become part of the zombie festivities. Display fake spiders near skull-shaped candles in the bathroom or the kitchen. Transform the latter into the laboratory where you, the mad scientist, create the potion that changes the partygoers into zombies. Provide two versions of the potion, depending on partygoer's ages -- alcoholic and non-alcoholic -- alongside juice, soda and other drinks. When playing the mad scientist does not appeal to you, use accessories to convey the theme. Provide drinks in plastic cups emblazoned with a skull and crossbones and biohazard stickers. Adorn your kitchen counter or island with mad scientist laboratory supplies such as mason jars filled with cauliflower brains floating in clear gelatin, toy eyeballs and fake rats.

4. Me Eat Brains

All zombies require a healthy mix of brain and snack food. Set up a buffet area for food service or several snack areas spread throughout the party area based on the size and nature of the party. Zombies of any age can munch on traditional party snacks such as cheese and crackers, or vegetable crudities plus chips and dips, but make specialized fare age-appropriate. A sheet cake cut into the shape of a tombstone or cupcakes decorated like zombies plus candies made to look like brains or skulls befits zombies of all ages. For older zombies, artificial gravestone markers, fake rats and severed fake hands add a sufficient amount of "ick" to the table without interfering with the food.

Photo Credits

  • Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images