Here’s how you can be a Walking Dead-grade zombie for Halloween

The Walking Dead is back, just in time for Halloween. We flagged down professional zombie teacher Carl Rackham of Events2Scare for advice on becoming a TV-grade walker for the big day.

The look

Wear freaky contact lenses

Colourful contacts will make your eyes pop

Carl says: “Special-effects contact lenses come in a variety of forms. You can get plain white iris ones, full-mesh blind ones and what are called scleral ones, which cover the entire eye – but they’re really hard to get in. They make your zombie look really good, white ones especially – they’re just so ghostly looking. We always use a company called Hunt Or Dye.”

Decay your face

Liquid latex and specialist make-up will make you look undead – but make sure you check for allergens

Carl says: “You don’t want Rice Krispies stuck to your face. Don’t cover yourself in talcum powder and jam and tomato sauce. That really doesn’t make a zombie. We use prosthetics, but I wouldn’t advise anyone getting hold of those – you’d be looking at about £60 or £70 worth of kit. Plus, with the adhesive we use, you could quite easily glue your eye shut! Instead, liquid latex is great to use: you can get it from a lot of retailers on eBay. Just liberally apply it with cotton wool, let it dry and then you can rip it and create wounds and gashes and bites with it. Colour-wise, a lot of people make the mistake of going for greens for zombies whereas in reality it would be more flesh tones and greys. Try special fancy-dress and make-up shops for the right sort of make-up.”

Shred your clothes

Zombies are known for shabby chic. The style is easy to achieve – if you’re willing to destroy your outfit

Carl says: “Use wet teabags to stain your clothes and make them look sweaty. Use a cheese grater in the areas where they would naturally start to fray and decay, such as the hems and seams.”

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The Moves

Shuffle like a drunk

Slow, unsteady movement is key to looking like a proper zombie

Carl says: “Being too stiff in movement is a common mistake. You want very loose arms, as though the muscles aren’t actually working but they’re still moving. Another classic mistake is having the arms right outstretched in front of you, the classic zombies-cum-Frankenstein move. Really, zombie movement comes back to the thing about your body dying. As a zombie, your body would be shutting down. Your muscles would be wasting away. If you can imagine it, everything’s painful when you’re a zombie – it’s almost as though rigor mortis has set in. Perhaps your arm has broken, so it’s swinging freely. Bending your leg, it feels quite stiff. It’s that kind of thing. Just get that entire dead feeling in your body.”

Breath differently

You need to sound undead

Carl says: “You don’t want to be groaning loudly. You want a very restricted airways-style noise. Gurgly. As a zombie, your lungs would be collapsing. It would be really hard to breathe. For this, I always do a gasp for breath, but I exaggerate that so it becomes more of a screech.”

Lose your mind

Being a zombie is all about letting yourself go. Focus on the wants and feelings of your zombie

Carl says: “As a zombie you want a very vacant look – a lot of staring and tilting the head as though the zombie brain is trying to understand the environment around it. Completely shut down any external feelings. Focus on what you think the actual character of a zombie would be feeling. Zombies have a basic instinct of survival and feeding. So when I’m zombie-acting that is literally what I do: I switch off to everything else. When I’m doing it, everybody is a potential meal to me.”

The Walking Dead season eight airs Mondays on FOX