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Question: Kid-Friendly Zombie Party?

27 June 2011 18,749 views 20 Comments

by heather

baby brain hat photo by cory cousins

Over on our Dollar Store Crafts Facebook page, reader Kristina T asks:

My son has come up with the crazy idea of doing a zombie birthday party...He is going to be 5 so nothing too creepy but I can't seem to find much. Anyone have any ideas?

My first question was "Does your son like Plants vs. Zombies?" because PvZ is a super-cute game that is (mostly) not too creepy for kids. Kristina's answer was no, so read on for my recommendations and then please post your own ideas!

Kid Zombie Party Tip: Keep it non-specific

Because your son is only turning 5, I would let him know it's a zombie party but keep the theme less obvious to outsiders (like parents of other five year-olds!). Some parents won't be happy with sending their kindergarteners to an undead-themed birthday party! Too many awkward questions, y'know?

Zombie Walk: That said, it could be fun to have a zombie walk (you could call it a monster walk). Have kids dress in raggedy clothes, paint their faces white or grey, and then video them walking down your neighborhood street slow and jerky-like. The more game-like you make the event (and instructions), the better. After the walk, cue the video up right away so kids can watch themselves on TV.

swamp juice

1. Zombie Party Drink: Swamp Juice by Family Fun [Swamp Juice Recipe Here]

I love the creepy yet cute look of this swamp juice, and it would work well with a zombie-themed party. I love the orange and green color scheme too!

zombie zoo cupcakes

2. Zombie Cupcakes: Zombie Zoo by Rocky Mountain News [Instructions no longer available] [via Post Punk Kitchen]

Sadly, the Rocky Mountain News is no more, and the recipe for these adorable zombie zoo cupcakes is gone along with the newspaper and most of its online archive.

The good news is these cute zombie cupcakes look fairly simple: frost cupcakes in orange, green, and purple, and add candy features and frosting details. Buy premade frosting in tubes for the detail work. You could even let kiddos decorate their own monster/zombie face cupcakes. Kids LOVE decorating cupcakes!

toilet paper roll puppets

3. Zombie Party Craft: Cardboard Tube Action Figures by Relentless Toil [Toilet Paper Tube Puppets]

Okay, this isn't terribly zombie-ish, but it's so cute and it would be a great party activity. Use cardboard tubes (like paper towel rolls) to create these cute little color-and-cut action figures. Snap a picture of the kiddos at the beginning of the party and print their faces out on your printer before the craft begins. If that's too much pressure for you (it is for me during a party!), maybe have some pre-cut heads from magazines that they can choose from.

If you don't have paper towel rolls, you can just roll card stock or recycled cardboard into tubes and tape them. They'll work just as well!

googly eyes photos

4. Zombie Party Craft: Crazy Eyes Photos [Crazy Eyes Photos]

I love this idea! Just glue googly eyes over the eyes from any picture in a magazine. This could provide hours of entertainment for the right kid (or, ahem, adult).

Baby Brain Hat photo at the top: licensed from cory.cousins on Flickr. There are no instructions for making the baby brain hat, but if you know how to knit i-cord (or use a knitting loom), you can knit yourself a whole lot of pink i-cord and attach it to a ready-made hat for a funny brain hat.

Okay, everyone! Now it's your turn! Give us some great ideas for a zombie-themed birthday party that is kid-friendly!

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  • smellanie said:

    Dirt cupcakes might be a good option, too:


  • Michelle L. said:

    THIS is exactly why I love this website! That brain hat is the coolest.

  • Karen said:

    Red velvet cupcakes iced to look like brains.
    I still remember a Halloween party as a kid where there was a geeky bag with peeled grapes in it- they told us they were eyeballs and we loved it!

  • Jennie said:

    Spaghetti brains for food if you are serving up food? Make sure to play Thriller. :D Perhaps have a dancing contest? Pin the brains on the zombie game? Ummmm, I think I am all out of ideas for now.

  • Chelsea said:

    I think you could probably let the parents know it’s a zombie party, but maybe I just know cool parents. :) Doesn’t sound any creepier than a halloween party! Also sounds like one cool little 5 year old you’ve got, there!

    Like Karen said, we used to do the bowl full of “eyeball” grapes, or “brain” spaghetti. What 5 year old doesn’t like spaghetti?

    You can get brain jell-o molds, and put regular gummy worms inside along with the jell-o (after it’s started to “jel”.)

    You could hand out “zombie survival” kits as souvenirs full of dollar store items – water guns for protection, fake squishy brain toys for distractions, band aids for close calls, whistles to call for backup, round candy “antidote pills” with a homemade antidote label, even swimming goggles could work as “night vision” goggles with a quick coat of glow in the dark acrylic paint around the edges. Throw in some glow sticks for fun!

    Found this cute, age appropriate game:

    “Make the Zombies Laugh – Tell all the children to lie still on the floor like a zombie. Select one child to be “it”. That child’s job is to make the other children laugh. “It” can make funny faces, dance, act silly, whatever inspires him or her. Once a “zombie” laughs, he or she can join “it” in attempting to make the group laugh. Whoever holds out the longest without laughing is the winner.”

    Have fun!

  • Cate said:

    “What 5 year old doesn’t like spaghetti?”

    My fiance’s 6 year old nephew hates spaghetti. He hated it when he was five. It may just be me but I don’t think a zombie party is appropriate for a child.

  • heather (author) said:

    @Chelsea I love the zombie survival kit idea! Hilarious!

    @Cate It definitely depends on the kid. It wouldn’t be appropriate for all 5 year-olds.

  • Erin said:

    that hat is the cutest thing EVER!
    I must learn to knit so one day I can make one

  • Molly said:

    Ever make wormie wieners? You take dry spaghetti and poke it through pieces of wieners, then boil it. The spaghetti cooks and stays poking through the wieners…looks so odd, but kids love it.
    I googled to find a picture, looks like this:


  • Chelsea said:

    @Molly – hilarious! Wormy weiners … never would have thought of that one.

    @Cate – I was referring more to squishing the spaghetti in their hands rather than eating it, but, yes, there are always exceptions to the rule with the picky little eaters out there. (I just wasn’t one of those kids, haha!) I think the zombie theme definitely depends on the child, and that’s one reason why I encouraged sharing the theme with other parents. You may have a kid who’s scared of zombies who wouldn’t want to come. Seeing as it’s a bunch of 5 year olds, though, I don’t think she was planning on making the theme scary at all, maybe just a little “gross.”

  • Caitlyn said:

    there is a brain-shaped jello mold you may be able to find – it’s only a few bucks, and it comes with instructions for flesh-colored jello. My parents made it once and served it to some friends as a joke.

  • niki said:

    Zombie tag-
    This game follows the classic rules of Marco Polo. “It” wears the blindfold and a pair of rubber gloves. He wanders around with his arms stretched out in front, zombie style (this also keeps him from crashing). When “It” groans, all the players must groan back and extend their arms. This is how the zombie zeroes in on his victims. When a player gets tagged, she becomes the next “It” and gets to wear the blindfold and gloves.

    Dig for eyeballs- Fill a large pot with cooked spaghetti noodles, and then bury ping pong balls in the noodles. See who can find the most balls in a set amount of time. For an added twist you can color code the balls and have each color worth a different amount of points. After the set amount of times, count up the points earned by each player.

    zombie freeze dance- have the kids all dance to songs like monster mash or the Addam`s family, zombie style. Then have them freeze when you turn off the music. if they move their out and get to stop the radio next.

    Drink red punch and eat have a cake with plastic bugs and worms on it.

  • Jolene said:

    How about getting some old clothes from the second hand store (adult sizes work best) rip them up a bit and do a:

    Zombie Clothes Relay.

    Two groups (or one for non-competative types), two piles of clothes. At go one child from each team dons all the zombie clothes then runs across the yard to ring a bell or similar then runs back and has to remove items so next zombie can wear them. Then they have to run and ring the bell until all members of the team have rung the bell.

    Or for messy fun:

    Zombie Red Jell-O fight

    Make sure the kids wear a full set of second hand clothes. Jell-o can stain

    I Like photo opps too! Have them do their best zombie pose and face in front of props like tipped over furniture and spilled plants or a dark colored bed spread.

  • Jolene said:

    Also, Martha Stewart has some super cute

    Brain Cupcakes

    in her Halloween section of her website.

  • Tonja said:

    I’m having a zombie-themed party for my 8-year old. We’re having dirt cake, swamp juice, playing “pin the puke on the zombie” (or maybe pin the body parts on the zombie), and a feely-meely game. For feely-meely we’ll have several stations where each blindfolded boy can feel slugs (macaroni & mayonaise), vampire teeth (candy corn), eyeballs (grapes), a skeleton (boiled turkey bones), brains (a wet sponge),and spider webs (fake webbing). We’ll also have cup stacking races. I think it’ll be fun for a bunch of boys and not too expensive or difficult to put together.

    Last year the games we played were less structured and it was pandemonium. Had to do something different this year!

  • Sam said:

    Check out the book “A Zombie Ate My Cupcake” it has lots of ooey-gooey-scary-funny cupcake recipes. I *WANT* (one of those) BRAINS(hats)!! :)

  • Stacy said:

    My son is turning 4 in a couple weeks and has wanted NOTHING more than to have a zombie themed birthday party. I don’t see anything wrong with it at all…it’s something different and fun! There are plenty of age appropriate zombie decorations and games. We are super excited!

  • Angie said:

    Great tips~ thanks for sharing! My son will be turning 5 in 3 weeks and I’m trying to pull a zombie party together for him. We currently live in China, where the popular iphone game “plants vs Zombies” is everywhere. I have found all sorts of little knick knacks, but the easy party supplies are tricky to find here. I’ll make do with what I can find and work some mommy-magic to make the rest. My daughter had a Rapunzel party in February.. sounds easy enough.. except the licensing was expired in Canada at the time and we were living in Nova Scotia. I had to make EVERYTHING and I improvised a lot! I’m looking forward to this zombie party.. its got so many options and should be a lot of fun! We will definitely be using some of these ideas. thanks for posting them!

  • Angie said:

    Oh, and Chelseas, I am SOOOO using your survival kit idea! I love that! Thanks for sharing!

  • sammie said:

    my son for his 5th bday wanted an eyeball/zombie themed party. i tried to make into a caveman bday and all the kids just ran around pretending to be zombies. not making the same mistake twice. this year hes having an offical zombie hunter party. all the kids are gonna be giving dollar store bows and arrows. and im making some zombies out of old clothes and balloons. there gonna shoot the zombie with the arrow and when they hit it they get a prize. also making a zombie pinata, really easy because as little zombie hunters there gonna have to take a whack at the zombie. although i wish my son would pick a diferent theme, being this is my second go at the same type party last year i had 36 kids and this year will be around 30-40 kids as well and all the kids from last year loved the party. all the kids came. all parents were made aware of the theme both last year and this year. although last year was a little more tame all the parents are fully aware of what the party is gonna involve so far and no one is against it. hate to say it but this generatio n is all about zombies like mine with vampires and i may not like it but sometimes you have to give into it. my son told me if he didnt get a zombie party he didnt want one at all. i gave in cause he deserves a party and its his so in all actuality he should be able to pick the theme