I almost left my brains in the fridge, but fortunately my clerk reminded me. I think we all had a great time, and I only had to scold someone for throwing body parts once.
We’ve had several zombie events at our library over the years, and I have learned what works and what doesn’t. We bring in professional make-up artists. While it is possible to do DIY, you need to know what supplies to get, what makes what effect, and be comfortable getting right in people’s faces. Also, having a professional in is a learning experience- the teens see a career in action, see what it takes to make the shows and movies they love, and get to talk with the artists about acting and costumes.
How to make your zombie event successful:
- Have everyone under 16 have a permission slip signed by a guardian agreeing to make-up and videotaping. All over 16 must state they have no known skin allergies.
- Provide a secondary activity while makeup is being applied- we played Plants vs. Zombies on the x-box
- Have lots of snacks
- Have costume options- men’s button-up shirts from a rag-bag are best. The fake blood is hard to get off of clothes.
- Be prepared to take lots of pictures and video- this means planning a backdrop, scripting a simple scene or making sure your battery is charged.
- Set up the makeup station with two chairs, a table, a garbage can, a plastic tablecloth on the floor and lots of room to move around.
- Plan for an event that lasts at least 2 hours.
What do you do once all the participants who want to be are made up like zombies? Some places do a charity walk. Others hand it over to students to make their own film with their own equipment. This time, we took pictures in front of a green screen, then filmed some basic scenes of mayhem in our small library. The one that worked the best was the horde of zombies trying to get into the library, pressing against the glass door. Remember that in film making you can take shots out of order. I’m still looking for actual looks of horror from the “victims,” there was too much giggling going on. The kids also just had fun pretending and live-action roleplaying (this was where I had to supervise, to make sure no one actually got hurt when they “attacked”).
We served pizza, soda and Jell-o brains. At the end, one of the boys apologized for any bad behavior he had ever done at the library, and wanted to come back for our weekly teen time. Mission accomplished.
My daughter and I then stopped by a cemetery on the way home for a photo shoot. I was able to sneak in some history lessons, as well as a philosophy discussion, without being too obvious, as we walked around the tombstones. She drove us home (on her learner’s permit) and I really hoped we didn’t get pulled over- I didn’t want to explain why I was letting a zombie drive my car.