What follows is a short piece that didn’t make it to the final manuscript of The Ultimate Guide to Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse. Like all good survival advice, it is timeless and necessary, especially for this time of year.
- Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things: Stay away from graveyards at all costs. A dead body buried in unhallowed ground can be an attractive vessel for ghosts seeking a return to life (or unlife, as it were). It may be traditional to hold parties at cemeteries during Halloween, but as an enlightened student of zombie combat you know that the best way to avoid being killed by the undead is to not be where there are going to be large numbers of them.
- The Craft: Stay away from practitioners of the occult, and don’t dabble in it yourself this one time. Just like you wouldn’t play with matches near a gas station, getting out the Ouija board to see if you can contact a random spirit from the Great Beyond on Halloween is a terrifically bad idea.
- The Scent of Blood: Because any true zombies active at this time of year are most likely Supernatural Zombies, they’re probably going to be more rotten, and hence smell a lot worse than a fresher Viral Zombie. Putrefaction has a scent all its own, and the vast majority of zombie poseurs, even the most hardcore, won’t go the extra mile of smearing rotting meat on their bodies to complete the costume.
- The Naked and the Dead: Clothing and funeral cerements tend to rot in the grave, and the effort of breaking through a coffin and digging out from six feet of earth tends to destroy burial garments. It’s extremely unlikely that someone will shuffle around town with his private parts exposed to the wind as part of his zombie costume (though you can’t entirely rule that out).
- Body Parts: It’s an easy thing to apply white, green, red, and gray splotches of makeup on your face, dress up in carefully torn clothing, limp around, make pitiful moaning noises, and call it a zombie costume. But you can’t convincingly fake a truly skeletal hand with missing flesh over moving, bony digits.
The most important thing is to make 100% certain of your target before shooting. That smelly, grunting, half-naked person might be an Occupy protestor, not an actual undead creature. Don’t shoot until you know beyond a shadow of doubt that the zombie in your sights is a true monster. If necessary, call out verbal commands. Even the most “in-character” zombie actor will fill his trousers and stop approaching at the sight of a drawn gun and a proper command to freeze.