Guest Post: Nancy Holzner's Guide to Fending Off A Zombie Attack While Trick-or-Treating

Yep, you read that right. How to fend off and/or prevent a zombie attack while Trick-or-Treating. We all know zombies are on the rise, so urban fantasy author Nancy Holzner agreed to join us today with her tricks on avoiding such a catastrophe.

Welcome, Nancy!


In the town where I live, my neighborhood is trick-or-treat central. Last year, we gave away 20 pounds of candy to 565 trick-or-treaters. (Yep, we know the exact number. My husband sat on the front porch with a clicker to count them all.) Kids descend on our neighborhood from other parts of town, from the surrounding farms and villages, even from other cities. Because trick-or-treating is so popular on my street, I understand better than most how nothing spoils Halloween fun like a zombie attack.


So I’ve put together this list of safety tips for trick-or-treaters who want to be prepared in case the walking dead come moaning at them out of the shadows:

1. There’s safety in numbers. It’s always best to trick-or-treat with a group of friends. And don’t forget to take along a trusted adult. That way, when the zombies attack, you and your friends will have enough muscle to push the grown-up at the zombie before you run the other way.

2. Carry a light. Zombies have a well-known aversion to light; dazzle an attacker by shining a beam directly into its eyes. And of course, a heavy flashlight can double as a blunt instrument. Flaming torches are preferable; however, all but the most zombie-aware parents will probably nix that idea.

Bonus safety tip: On the off chance that your parents are cool enough to let you carry a flaming torch on trick-or-treat night, be sure to wear a flame-retardant costume.

3. Choose a suitable costume. Whether you want to be a ninja, a bride, a witch, a zombie (see next tip)—whatever—make sure in advance that your costume is suitable for both running and fighting. (This means that sensible shoes are a must.) After all, you don’t want to trip over a sheet, a long skirt, or an oversized pair of clown shoes, only to go sprawling and end up with your brain eaten.

4. Don’t be fooled. With everyone in costume, it can be hard to tell a real zombie from a pretend one. Check for the telltale signs of a true zombie: a stiff, shuffling gait; soulless eyes that may be milky, blood-red, or black; fresh blood (the real stuff) smeared around the mouth and chin; an inability to articulate beyond moaned monosyllables. If in doubt, ask the suspected zombie which house has the best candy. If the only answer you get is “unhhhhh unhhhhh”—run.

Bonus safety tip: If you’re dressing up as a zombie this year, don’t overdo the moaning routine. If someone asks you which house has the best candy, answer in clear, intelligible English (or your preferred language). Otherwise, you may get a flashlight shined into your eyes or a flaming torch waved under your nose.

5. Be careful crossing the street. Okay, this one doesn’t have anything to do with zombies, but it’s obligatory on any list of safety tips. Use crosswalks, don’t cross in the middle of a block, wait for the Walk light, etc., etc.

6. Carry a cell phone. Have your local Zombie Response Unit on speed dial. Before you head out, practice running and calling at the same time.

7. Bait and switch, version I. Zombies aren’t very smart. Maybe that’s the reason they’re so fond of other people’s brains. Remember those lame fake brains everyone had to stick their hands into at your friend’s Halloween party? It was just a bowl of cold, slimy, overcooked macaroni. It didn’t fool you, but it just might fool a zombie. Carry a zipped plastic bag full of cold, slimy, overcooked macaroni. Offer it to the zombie as a convenience food.

8. Bait and switch, version II. It’s a little known but documented fact that zombies like candy [ See for yourself! ]. So if you don’t feel like carrying around fake brains on the big night, consider this alternative: Carry two trick-or-treat bags. At each house, do a quick evaluation of whether the candy on offer is the good stuff or the kind of crap that only your little brother would eat. Sort the good stuff into your bag and the crap into the zombie bait bag. When you encounter a zombie, confuse and distract it by giving it the bag of lousy candy. It’s not like the zombie will know the difference.

Bonus safety tip: Some particularly clueless grown-ups may hand out toothbrushes instead of candy. Do not put toothbrushes into the zombie bait bag. Zombies hate toothbrushes.

Remember—successful zombie fighting requires a combination of preparedness and improvisation. While these tips will help you to be prepared, keep in mind that, when a zombie attacks, just about anything can be used as a weapon—jack-o-lanterns, the neighbor’s cat, even bubble gum (when chewed in sufficient quantities to cause the zombie’s feet to stick to the ground). By thinking ahead and staying alert, you can repel zombies while you’re out scoring candy. Because a safe Halloween is a fun Halloween.


PhotobucketFor more information about Nancy, you can visit her website ( And check out Deadtown, from Ace, coming December 29!

Have you fended off a zombie attack while trick-or-treating? Leave a comment to share your zombie safety tips.


Expressive Hart said…
Nancy, I appreciate these zombie safety tips so much! I'm going to print this out to carry with me during Halloween!
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thanks for the tips, Nancy. Very useful. I might add one.

Choosing a group of friends to go trick or treating is one time you *don't* want to go with the cool kids. Go with the nerds, the bigger the nerd, the better. Nerds have bigger brains. Zombies can smell this, and you'll have a better chance of escaping.

Bonus tip: Grab the nerds' bags of candy before taking off. They won't be needing it.
Nancy Holzner said…
@Expressive Heart: Good idea! Just be sure to carry your list a safe distance from your flaming torch. Fire safety is important.

@Horror with Heart: An excellent suggestion that combines safety with the chance to double your candy haul. I like it!
Falcata Times said…
1) If you spot the Necronomicon remember to say the words Klaatu Barada Nikto, you don't want things to go from Zombies to even worse.

2) If you see a gang of zombies, quickly turn round, start shuffling going "Imohtep, Imohtep" (repeat as necessary) They'll ignore you.

3) Go trick or treating with that fat lazy kid that no one likes, or have a good pair of boots on. Speed is nothing over a good boot. After all its not the zombie you have to outpace but the little gits you're with.

4) Don't forget to have clean underwear on. After all if you end up in hospital from a Nasty Accident they'll tell your parents if its not top notch.

5) In continuation from number 4. Keep a spare clean pair of undies to hand, after all accidents can and do happen so at least if a trip the hospital is unavoidable you've got a pair to change into prior to going.

6) If in doubt about whether its a zombie or not, a quick boot to the genitals will help you decide. Zombie's won't be effected or sing like a Beegee if booted there.
Nancy Holzner said…
@Falcata Times: I'm adding these to my own list. Clean underwear is always a must whenever one leaves the house. And you just explained *a lot* to me about the BeeGees.
Nicola O. said…
ROFL! I'm going to pass this along to my nine-year old.
elnice said…
LOL, OMgosh that was funny. I love the bit about the flaming torch and the bait and switch.
Nancy Holzner said…
@Nicola O: After your nine-year-old reads it, what do you want to bet the next question you'll hear is, "Mom, can I have a flaming torch?"

@elnice: Repelling zombies is serious business, of course, but there's no reason we can't have a little fun while doing it. :D
RKCharron said…
Hi Nancy :)
I'm going to be grinning for a week.
All the best,
Nancy Holzner said…
@RKCharron: Thanks for your comment! Now you've got me grinning right along with you. :)
JD said…
Trick-or-treating isn't so big here. You get the occasional kid popping up wanting lollies (or candy, same thing different continent), but it's nothing like you have in the US.

I will, however, be memorising the list. I'll be going to a Halloween party and I may come a cross a zombie or two on the way or at the event itself. It pays to be prepared.
Nancy Holzner said…
@JD: It's always best to be prepared. Remember: preparation + improvisation = survival.

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