This was such a fun costume to make, because we were able to use a real ballet costume and modify it to make it look “zombie-ish”! (If you don’t have a ballet costume, I recommend checking consignment shops. Also, stores like Walmart have inexpensive, leotards, tights, and slippers. Or, go with a different outfit like a dress).
Note: for this costume, I opted not to use any “blood”, as in bloody hand prints, dripping blood, etc. because I wanted to keep it more kid-friendly for the elementary age kids. You can certainly add that in as a whole other element of the costume.
Supplies needed for costume:
Ballet costume: leotard, tights, tutu, ballet slippers and any other accessories you want to use (tiara, gloves, etc)
Spray bottle (I got mine from the dollar store)
Small bottles of acrylic paint (around $1 from Walmart or the craft store) in colors like brown, “camo” green
Newspapers, hangers, scissors
Directions for costume:
Put a little bit of water in your spray bottle, about 1-2″. Add in a generous few squirts of paint, or you can mix colors (e.g. green, brown, gray, or green+brown, etc.), and swish to mix.
Hang the article of clothing you want to treat. As you can see from the glamorous background of the photos, this was in our garage. Choose a hanger you don’t mind getting paint on, and you probably want to put down some newspapers.
Spray the leotard or other items with the paint mixture. I started by sort of misting the whole leotard, then going in closer to create concentrated splotches. After I did what I felt was a decent spraying, I let the leotard dry, and then went back for a second spraying. The second time around, I made the paint more concentrated so that I could make darker splotches.
For the tutu, I made the paint a little more concentrated so that the colors would shop. We also ripped up the tutu a little bit using scissors, so that there were torn pieces of tulle hanging down. The goal was to make it look dirty and tattered.
If you are going to add blood to the costume, that is another whole element you can add in. My daughter added in dainty pink gloves to her costume. We dirtied the gloves outside in the dirt and sprayed them with paint, but you could definitely make those a bloody mess.
Hair: gray or white hair spray, bun “donut” if needed
The goal with the hair was to make a beautiful bun – and then to make it a mess. So we made a lovely bun with a bun donut, and the proceeded to pull out strands and clumps of hair out of the bun and just make an overall disheveled mess. (I was tempted to even add in some dead leaves, but we were short on time). We then sprayed the hair with a grayish washable hair color. (My daughter has light hair and we didn’t have any issues with the hair color washing out, but make sure you take into account that the color can stain).
White, gray, and black makeup (again, you can add blood if you want)
Makeup sponges and/or brushes
You could really go all out with makeup, using latex and making wounds and so on. However, we kept it fairly simple – something that I could do at home without a lot of time, and also that cleaned up fairly easily. In fact, my 9-year-old did most of the makeup on her own.
We started with white makeup, to make my daughter look pale and deathly. We did her face, neck, and even her arms. Once she had a nice pale hue, we added on gray. We concentrated the gray makeup around her eyes and then under her cheekbones.
I bought most supplies at Walmart for cheap – acrylic paint, makeup, hair color.
Spray bottles I purchased at Dollar Tree.
The makeup will come off on things, so be careful.
On the flip side, when it was time to remove the makeup, we used coconut oil to make the process easier (a great natural makeup remover).
Alternately, you can get creative with other outfits – like a zombie bride. How cool would it be to find an old wedding or prom dress at a thrift store and add the zombie touch?
Also, do you know how hard it is to take a picture of your zombie-fied ballerina without laughing and making her laugh too?
Zombie style is still a big hit I can see. What a great a simple outfit to make for Halloween. I wondered how you got the look of dirt and pretty simple idea using the paint. Do this with just about any clothing and it would look awesome.
What a fun, buy scary DIY costume!!! I would have never thought to use acrylic paint on fabric. Thanks for the tip!
You guys did such a great job! I love how the whole thing came out. Zombies are such a big hit every year, and this is really creative!
That’s a great idea. I think my daughter would love this. She loves to perform, and she’s a big fan of The Walking Dead.
Now this was really clever! Those paints did a really good job creating the dirt effect! I think this would be a fun one to make.
Oh my gosh! LOL great job!!! She totally looks creepy! I love the idea of a zombie ballerina for Halloween!
This is a great idea! I think people and kids should make more of their costumes on Halloween. Not only does it save money but I think it means more to the kids if they have a hand in making the costume.
This is such a brilliant idea! And I think it’s great for kids who are actually ballerinas to just transform themselves into a zombie, haha!
This is so cute! My daughter was a zombie soccer goalie last year. We cut a soccer ball in half and attached it to an old goalie jersey of hers to make it look like she was impaled by the ball!
I love how the costume looks! It’s perfect and it’s kid-friendly for sure. I think not using blood is a wise choice. It’s really fun and creative!
Homemade costumes are the best. Rarely did my mom buy our costumes and made us use our creativity to come up with something on our own. I now do the same with my kids. This is a fun idea and I love that it is homemade.
This is a really cool idea! Cute, but also gruesome!
Great costume idea. I love how you used paint to make it more realistic. Far too often I see zombie stuff that’s so white with red blood on it and it just looks fake.
Amazing job!!! This is both super epic and creepy! lol I want to dress up as a zombie ballerina but I think I would freak myself out too much! hahaha
I have always been a fan of zombies, so I totally love this costume! Too bad my daughter doesn’t share my love for zombies. 🙂
What a creative and cute idea for a Halloween costume! I love how it came out and we’ll have to try something like this myself.