How to Make a DIY Zombie Costume for Kids

Last year my son was adamant that he was going to be a “scary zombie” for Halloween. Keep in mind that I had already bought 6 costumes on clearance at Target the previous year during after-Halloween sales just to avoid overspending and the last minute rush before Halloween the following year (See my post on how I save money on just about everything to read more about after holiday Target clearance). But thankfully a zombie costume is one of the easiest costumes to DIY. Here’s how to make a zombie costume for kids with things you probably already have around the house.

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What You Need to Make a Zombie Costume:

  • Coffee Grounds
  • Water
  • Fake blood or red paint
  • Foam brush
  • Cup
  • Scissors
  • Halloween makeup kit
  • Old white shirt
  • Old jeans or sweatpants
items needed for DIY zombie costume

How to Make a Zombie Costume

1. Make Cuts

You’ll basically be mutilating these clothes which is why you’ll want to find something in your child’s wardrobe that’s already on it’s way out. No need to spend money on something you’re just going to cut up anyway! An old tee shirt and a pair of jeans or sweats with worn out knees and grass stains would be perfect. If it’s going to be chilly you can add a hoodie as well.

Now it’s time to cut!

We cut 4 slits in a row on the tee shirt to create what looked like rips from zombie fingernails! You can tug on the slits to make the fabric curl up and separate. You can add a few holes in the knees and then cut the hem off the bottom of the jeans. To give the edges of your shirt and pants a more tattered look you can make small cuts along the edge of the fabric and pull on some of the threads.

scissors and hole cut in shirt for zombie costume
cutting hole in knee of jeans for zombie costume
cutting jeans for childs DIY zombie costume

2. Add dirt and blood

Now that your clothes are torn apart, there’s no turning back. It’s time to make them look like they’ve been through some tough times. To make them look really dirty you’re going to use coffee grounds soaked in water. You can rub the coffee into the areas you want look really dirty, or use the foam brush to “paint” on stains with the coffee water.

For the blood you can use a little watered down red paint or costume blood. We had a makeup kit with fake blood so we used that and then we were able to use it again when we did his zombie makeup.

To finish up we splattered coffee water all over the shirt by soaking the foam brush and kind of flinging the water onto the shirt and pants. Then just leave the clothes out to dry overnight and you’re ready for Halloween!

painting stain on zombie costume pants
finished childs zombie costume

3. Zombie Makeup

Zombie makeup is pretty straightforward. If you buy a basic Halloween makeup kit you should have everything you need. I got ours at Target (on clearance the year before, of course). Here is a zombie kit that is currently available that seems to have everything you would need.

I put a thin layer of white faceprint all over his face and neck. Then we added some black around his eyes and in the hollows of his neck. Add a little blood dripping from the mouth and you’re all set! For his hair we just threw in some gel and gave it a disheveled look.

If you want to take it up a notch, here is an easy youtube zombie makeup tutorial that uses a $1 bottle of white makeup and toilet paper for a pretty cool look.

Boys in Kylo Ren costume, zombie costume, and lego ninjago costume

And here is a picture of the finished look with poor outdoor lighting just before leaving for trick or treating! My little guy felt super cool and scary heading out with his brothers!

What are your kids going to be for Halloween? Leave a comment below letting me know what your Halloween is going to look like in 2020!

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How to make a zombie costume
Simple Kid's zombie costume

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Little Boys asleep with mom

Hi! My name is Kim. I’m the mom of 3 boys, the wife to 1 husband, and the driver of a 2013 Toyota Sienna. I love Jesus and my family, I have an obsession with getting a good deal, and if I had it my way I’d spend every weekend at Disney World trying a new food shaped like a Disney character.

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