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13 Nov 2017
Zombie Decor on a Budget

I realize it’s almost Thanksgiving...and I really should be focusing on all things that gobble and get gobbled up...but I just couldn’t wait until next October to share my most recent zombie decorations.  

Halloween is one of those times when I have repeat corporate clients. This means year after year I am decorating the same venue.  This has it’s strong points, in that I know the space well and can plan accordingly.  The flip side is that I have to come up with something new each and every year.  When you are on year 12 in the same cafeteria, that can be a pretty daunting task, especially if your budget has been slashed like a bad Jack the Ripper movie.  However, I love a challenge. So this year, when one of my beloved clients told me they wanted to do a zombie apocalypse but had no budget for wall covering I knew we had to get creative.  I needed to figure out what was cheap, easy to work with, and came in good-sized lengths.  The answers came from my local Lowes painting department...plastic tarps.  

The best thing about painting plastic is that it comes in a huge array of textures, thicknesses, and sizes - I was able to find heavyweight black plastic tarps in 10 by 25 foot rolls which allowed me to black out the entire party space for about $150.00.  Using industrial balloon ceiling magnets I was able to attach the plastic fairly easily to the ceiling tile grid.  It should be noted, that these magnets are expensive, but being a party planner, I have them in stock.

If you aren't concerned with preserving the integrity of your party space, you can use staples or pushpins to the same effect.

My favorite decor element was created by various weights of frosted plastic drop cloths.  I found the extra lightweight brand the best.  The sheets come in a budget-friendly 12 pack and are so incredibly resourceful.  You can drape them in a variety of ways; straight down, billowing from the ceiling, or swagged like a curtain.  The best thing about them is that they can be slashed with an x-acto knife to give them that tattered, attacked look.  You can even create a very inexpensive curtain entryway by cutting the plastic into ragged strips reminiscent of those old-fashioned meat locker entries. 

Add a bunch of caution tape, some radioactive warning signs, and a bunch of wall cling bloody handprints, andyou've got yourself a party.

Admittedly, I have some fantastic zombie props in my storehouse, thanks to the zombie prom I did last season but the wall treatment was brand new and actually, in many ways, gave a much creepier feeling to the room for a fraction of the cost.

The best part?  Clean up was a breeze.  Thanks to the magnets, all we had to do was give some very sharp tugs to the tarps and down they came.  I don't know what we'll end up doing next year, but we certainly have a new technique to add to our decor manual.  Who knew plastic could be so terrifying?  Now if I could just come up with a zombie Turkey, I could tie this all into Thanksgiving...