Intro: Zombie Apocalypse Survivors' Shelter
This is really simple and not very fancy, but it makes a really fun effect for Halloween! For our entryway we always do a Zombie Apocalypse Survivors' Shelter and every year it's a hit. We change the names in the messages each year to be the people coming to the party and keep the lighting low with led candles. It makes a great impression and everyone loves it. :)
Step 1: Sign and Lighting
You could do without a sign if you want to, but it really helps to add to the atmosphere. We bought ours at a garage sale but they sell them at Hobby Lobby. If you don't like that style you can find several on Amazon. We cleared off the vase and Shisa from the entryway table and put the sign and candelabra in their places.
If you're going to use a candelabra you don't want anything too fancy. Remember, this isn't a home it's a survivor's shelter. This rustic metal one I found at a second-hand shop was perfect!
With your candles you want to make sure you've got a variety of styles and sized. The more mismatched they look the better. It will lend itself to the look that you're using whatever you could get your hands on.
Step 2: Blood Splatter
I used to add the blood splatter to the text file but it was a pain in the butt to get it all centered properly and was just more stuff to tape to the wall. This year we opted for blood splatter clings and scattered them all around the room, on the sign, the window, the table and the floor. Because these are vinyl they can be reused and it's easy to clean them with Windex!
Step 3: Infestation
Adding rodents or bugs will help add a little bit of a creep factor. Most people hate creepy crawlies. You can print out black and white vectors of mice and cut them out, but if you make them yourself make sure to put them on cardstock so you can reuse them.
Ours are from a pack of mice silhouettes, you can find them pretty much anywhere that sells Halloween decor nowadays. Attach some tape or white sticky tack (don't use the blue stuff, it will stain your walls!)
Step 4: Managing Modernity
Because the entryway table is old wood we left it bare but the bench is so clean and modern looking it really doesn't fit. If you want to leave it there or you don't have a place to store it you can easily cover it up with some fabric. We used 2 yards of black wool and it worked really well.
Step 5: Choosing Messages
You can take inspiration from anywhere. Zombies have grown exponentially in movies, games and TV throughout the last few years. The majority of quotes we used are from the shelters and hiding spaces in Left 4 Dead (a zombie apocalypse survival video game). The best mix will address lots of different emotions, fear, anger, loss, hope, even a little humor is good! Write out a list of what phrases you'd like to use beforehand so you're not editing the text file in the next step forever.
Step 6: Fonts and Printing
For the fonts you use, you want a variety to make it look like different people have written the messages. Make sure there's a mix of colors from dark blood red to greys, browns, and blacks because they'd all be writing with different found implements. Spray paint fonts will work too.
We got ours from 1001Fonts. Be aware that not every font on their site is available for commercial use. Make sure to check the download file to see if it's usable for business before you try to use it on anything you would sell. Since this is just for personal use we didn't run into any issues. If you want to use our text file and just change the template you will have to install all the fonts we used first or your word processor will change them to something else. The fonts we used are:
a Theme for murder
The Truth Will Out
Viner Hand ITC
Step 7: How to Download Fonts
To download a font you download the file into your download folder and right click. Select the option Extract All, which will extract the files from the zip folder into a new folder. Open the new folder, inside will be the user agreement and the font file (usually a TTF).
Open the start menu and select the Control Panel. Then open the Fonts folder and drag and drop the font file into it. Now you can use that file in your documents!
Step 8: Edit/Print Background Color
To change the background color of a file select the Design tab and open the Page Color option. Click on the option for More Colors and adjust the color selector until it looks like the color of your walls. You may have to test print some pages to make sure the color matches because it will look different on the screen than in front of you. Be careful to only test print one page at a time to not waste ink!
Once you have the color selected you have to make sure it will print the background color of the file. On the File tab select Print. Then select the Page Setup option. On the Paper tab select the option for Print Options. Make sure the box next to Print Background Colors and Images is selected and then select OK. Now you can print your test pages or finished file!
Step 9: Attach to the Walls
For this I used tape to attach the messages and mice at random around the room. It leaves a little bit of a line around it but it's not as evident when the room is dark. You could also use white sticky tack but make sure it's not colored sticky tack as it will stain your walls. You can pull the tape loops off of cardstock by rolling them gently into your hand. This is better because you'll be able to store and reuse them for next year.
Step 10: Turn Out the Lights
Turn out the lights, turn on the candles and let the ambiance creep out your friends!