Zombie Programming Ideas

“Vampires are out – Zombies are in!”  Or so I was told by a tween recently.  Here are some Zombie programming ideas, probably best suited to those 10 years old and up, as most Zombie books fall into the Young Adult area of the library. Some of these ideas came from Jennifer Lawson of the San Diego Public Library and some are my own. The topic of Zombies is great for a Halloween program but of course you can use this at others times of the year due to the popularity of the subject.

Make-up: Start the program with make-up tables so everyone who attends can get their “Zombie” on! Have older high school volunteers help with the Zombie make-up – try recruiting the local high school drama club. You can purchase make-up from a Halloween supply store.

Refreshments: Try “brain cake” – chopped up white cake, decorated with raspberry jam and pink frosting, with a few gummy worms thrown in for fun. For a beverage, serve berry juice drink, decorated with ice cubes in which you have frozen plastic bugs.

Games: Zombie Tag: Tape lines on the floor at either end of program room and chose three or four kids to be zombies. The zombie kids stand in the middle of the room and are told that they can’t move their feet. The other kids then line up on one side of the room. After you blow a whistle, they have to run en mass to the other side without being touched by a zombie. If a zombie touches them they became zombies themselves. Run this game until there is only one survivor left. The survivor then gets to pick two friends to join him in the middle to be the starter zombies for the next round.

Zombie Marco Polo: Rope off a circular area, and be prepared to yell “out-of-bounds!” to your blindfoldedzombie. Make sure it’s a trip-proof playing area. This game follows the classic rules of Marco Polo. “It” wears a rubber mask (with blindfold) and hands. Everyone has to stay within the circle while 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 mask.

Pin the Heart on the Zombie: Create a life-sized cutout of a zombie. Have each person wear a blindfold and try to pin (or tape) a paper heart cutout on the zombie (like Pin the Tail on the Donkey). The person closest to the where the heart should be wins. This is more difficult than Pin the Brain, since the head is easier to find when blindfolded.

Crafts: Make Zombie purses as shown here: http://spoonful.com/crafts/pirates-of-the-caribbeanzombie-pouch .

Try some of the great paper crafts: http://www.itsonrandom.com/2012/03/morbid-zombie-mondays-zombie-paper.html .

Film Showing:

“ParaNorman” is a new film (released in August 2012) featuring a boy dealing with zombies and other creatures. This animated film comes from the makers of “Coraline,” but has no DVD release date as of this writing.



Johnson, Melissa. Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature’s Undead. A new nonfiction book on zombie-like animals, from a fly-enslaving fungus to a cockroach-taming wasp.

Valentino, Serena. How to Be a Zombie: the Essential Guide to Anyone Who Craves Brains. A funny but factual “self help manual” with lots of Zombie lore.

Vuckovic, Jovanka. Zombies! An Illustrated History of the Undead. A celebration of zombies in folklore, history, and popular culture.

Tween Fiction:

Anderson, M.T. Zombie Mommy.

Bass, Guy. Dinkin Dings and the Frightening Things.

Brezenoff, Steven. The Zombie Who Visited New Orleans.

Conway, Gerry. The Hardy Boys, Undercover Brothers: Crawling with Zombies.

Dahl, Michael. Zombie in the Library.

Donbavand, Tommy. “Scream Street” series.

Doyle, Bill H. Attack of the Shark-Headed Zombie.

Ghoulstone, Rotterly. Undead Ed.

Grabenstein, Chris. The Smoky Corridor.

Greenburg, Dan. Treachery and Betrayal at Jolly Days.

Hale, Bruce. The Big Nap (Chet Gecko).

Holt, K.A. Brains for Lunch: a Zombie Novel in Haiku?

Kloepfer, John. “Zombie Chasers” series.

Lubar, David. “Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie” series.

McDonald, Megan. Stink and the Midnight Zombie Walk.

Moskowitz, Hannah. Zombie Tag.

Stewart, Paul. Barnaby Grimes: Legion of the Dead.

Young Adult Fiction:

Ashby, Amanda. Zombie Queen of Newbury High.

Bick, Ilsa J. Ashes.

Busch, Jeffrey. Zombie High Yearbook ’64.

Ford, Michael Thomas. Z.

Harris, Carrie. Bad Taste in Boys.

Hicks, Faith E. Zombies Calling.

Higson, Charles. The Enemy.

James, Brian. Zombie Blondes.

Kenyon, Sherrilyn. Infamous: Chronicles of Nick.

Kraus, Daniel. Rotters.

Lackey, Mercedes. Dead Reckoning.

Littlefield, Sophie. Unforsaken.

Maberry, Jonathan. “ Rot and Ruin” series.

Ryan, C. Forest of Hands and Teeth and sequels.

Waters, Daniel. Kiss of Life and Generation Dead.

Storytime Ideas: If your parents don’t mind “scary” storytimes, Zombies could be a fun theme near Halloween. It also might be best suited to a storytime for school-age children. For a craft, make one of these paper cutout zombies: http://www.itsonrandom.com/2012/03/morbid-zombie-mondays-zombie-paper.html .

For song ideas, check out some children’s Halloween music CD’s, or rework some popular songs using Zombies. For example, try “Five Little Zombies Jumping on the Bed, “ or “Five Little Zombies Swinging in a Tree.” Or, change “Wheels on the Bus” to “Zombies on the Bus,” go “Grrr,” ghosts go “Ooooh,” werewolves go “Howl,” and so forth.

Catrow, David. Monster Mash. A picture book version of the popular Halloween song.

DiPucchio, Kelly. Zombie in Love. Mortimer the zombie places an ad in the newspaper, looking for a girlfriend.

Evans, Cambria. Bone Soup. A Halloween version of the classic “Stone Soup.”

Harris, Monica. Wake the Dead. In this pun-filled tale, Henry makes so much noise he really does “wake the dead,” so he must get them back to their graves before his mother finds out.

Harvey, Alex. Attack of the Zombies! An easy reader based on the TV series “Spongebob Squarepants;” in this comic tale Spongebob’s pet Gary starts biting people and turns them into zombies.

Kutner, Merrily. Z is for Zombie. Two-line rhymes highlight each letter in this scary alphabet book.

Markell, Denis. Hush, Little Monster. In this variation on the classic lullaby, a monster father promises his baby that a zombie family will visit.

Novak, Matt. No Zombies Allowed. Two witches go through the guest list for their annual Halloween party.

Reisner, Molly. I Was a Penguin Zombie! Using characters from the hit film “Madagascar,” Skipper goes to the vet, and the other penguins believe he has turned into a zombie.

Rex, Adam. Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich. Read one or two of these hilarious poems featuring monsters and creatures.

Reynolds, Aaron. Superhero School. When the teachers are kidnapped by ice zombies, the superhero students must come to the rescue.

Simon, Annette. Robot Zombie Frankenstein. In this cumulative tale with bright color cutout illustrations, two robots compete to see which is best.

Spradlin, Michael. The Monster Alphabet. Z is for Zombie in this delightful alphabet book.

Viorst, Judith. My Mama Says There Aren’t Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures, Demons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins, or Things. The title says it all in this classic picture book.

Submitted by Penny Peck, San Jose State Univ. SLIS

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