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Zombie Tag Guide: How to Play Zombie Tag

Zombies are all the rage these days. They are taking over television, the movies, and even proms with their cravings for the brains of normal humans.

Would you like to be a zombie too? Would you like to participate in a zombie apocalypse without actually having to taste any guts?

Then play a game of zombie tag. It is the perfect way to experience a zombie outbreak with the comfort of knowing the world as you know it isn't over.

Mold the rules of the game to match your group, the size of the play area, the time frame and so on. Small groups can play in the backyard. Large-scale games will need a bigger space.

The game is exciting with the added bennefit of being great cardio exercise. It will help get you in shape and will serve as a drill in case there is a real zombie emergency.

Zombies are chic right now, so hop on the zombie bandwagon. Keep reading to find out how to play zombie tag with kids, at Halloween, on campus, and even a large-scale game of tag with thousands of players.

The question is, will you survive the game?

What's a zombie's favorite shampoo?

Head and Shoulders

Birthday Party Game of Zombie Tag

Kids love zombies as much as adults do. Play a game of zombie tag at your child’s birthday party. Keep the rules simple to avoid confusing the kids.

Set up boundaries for the game. Pick one person to be the zombie to start. The zombie tries to tag the others. As the other children are tagged, they become zombies and try to tag the humans. The last “human” left is the winner.

If the group is large, you may want to give the humans a token that is removed when they are tagged. This will eliminate squabbles over who is a zombie and who isn’t. The token can be something as simple as a rubber band bracelet.

You can have the kids give the token to the zombie who tagged them. Then reward the zombie who has the most tags with a prize.

Play the game multiple times and let different children be the starting zombie.

Zombie Prizes

Zombie Poll

Zombies! Run!!

Halloween is a great time to play zombie tag.

Halloween is a great time to play zombie tag.

Halloween Party Zombie Tag

Zombie tag is killer fun at Halloween. Play it at an adult party or during kids’ Halloween parties. Make the rules more or less complicated according to the age level of the players.

If the group is mostly young children or if you want a simple game for adults who may have consumed a lot of punch, see the game play in the birthday party section above.

For teen Halloween parties and adult parties before the punch, you can add more rules to make the game more interesting.

You can give the humans weapons to use against the zombies. For instance, Nerf dart guns or pairs of rolled up socks. If a zombie is hit with a weapon, he must freeze for 30 seconds or to the count of ten or whatever amount of time you want to use.

Setting up clear boundaries for the game is even more important for teens and adults. You might want to specify that no vehicles are allowed.

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What did the zombie eat after his teeth were pulled out?

The dentist.

Pick one person to be the zombie to start. The zombie tries to tag the others. As people are tagged, they become zombies and try to tag the remaining humans. The last “human” left is the winner.

Tokens are definitely a good idea. Every human should begin the game with a token. The human must give the zombie who tagged him the token. Tokens can be Halloween necklaces, foam brains, or any other spooky thing you can find.

Award the last human standing and the zombie with the most kills a prize.

Have a zombie costume contest as well. Let your guests know ahead of time to bring zombie apparel. Serve brain shaped food at the party as well.


How do you know a zombie is tired?

He's dead on his feet.

Random Games of Zombie Tag

It doesn't have to be a special day to play zombie tag. You can play it in April or in the snow or on a beach. All you need is a group of friends or even random strangers to chase you.

Just follow the basic game play described in the above sections. You will want at least ten people to make the game interesting.

You can add elements to the game such as a Doctor. The Doctor can have an antidote that can turn zombies back to human. If you have twenty or more people playing, this is a fun addition.

Zombie Card Game

Zombie Parade

A mass of zombies gathering.  Does anyone smell human?

A mass of zombies gathering. Does anyone smell human?

Zombie Walks, Parades, and Marches

Sometimes you just want to dress like a zombie and shuffle around. Many cities have annual zombie walks.

Basically it is a large group of people putting on zombie costumes and gathering together. It can be incredibly fun, though. Some people can create amazing zombie attire. It can look so real that you want to crawl into a zombie proof shelter.

These events are often parades or marches where the zombies line up and walk down the streets. Sometimes it is even for a cause such as hunger awareness. Some cities have zombie festivals and other zombie themed events such as zombie proms.

Check to see if any cities near you host zombie walks. If not, organize your own. Get your brains working and the zombies will come.

Lego Zombie

How to Play Humans versus Zombies

Humans Versus Zombies

Humans vs. Zombies is a giant game of tag usually played on college campuses, schools, camps, conventions, and other places where large groups of people gather.

Games usually last for about a week. Many schools have games with hundreds of players. There is a moderator who passes out bandanas and assigns identification numbers.

The game begins with one or a few original zombies. The zombie must eat a human every 48 hours or he will die. Players who are tagged by zombies become zombies as well.

The humans defend themselves with rolled up socks or by using dart blasters. Zombies who are hit are stunned for 15 minutes.

There are safe zones, such as inside buildings where zombies cannot attack. All players have to stay on campus during the game.

Bandanas identify who is a zombie and who is human. A bandana around the arm or leg means the player is human. A bandana around the head indicates a zombie.

The zombies win if all the human players are turned into zombies. Humans win by not being turned into zombies and then outliving the zombies.

Click here to read more about the official rules of the game and to find out how to organize a game at your school, in your neighborhood, or other site.

Zombie Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What do zombies eat for breakfast?
    • pancreascakes
    • liverwurst
    • Cheeritoes
    • scrambled eyes
    • whole brain toast
  2. What movie first popularized the idea of zombies?
    • Frankenstein
    • Night of the Living Dead
    • Dracula
    • The Man with Two Brains
  3. What singer has a famous music video featuring zombies?
    • Lionel Richie
    • MC Hammer
    • Michael Jackson
    • Will Smith
  4. What popular game has a zombie theme?
    • Resident Evil
    • Final Fantasy
    • Mortal Kombat
    • Chrono Trigger
  5. How do you stop a zombie?
    • Shoot it in the foot with a bee bee gun.
    • Poke out its eyes with a fork.
    • Knock off its head with a baseball bat.
    • Stake it in the heart with a wooden spike.

Answer Key

  1. whole brain toast
  2. Night of the Living Dead
  3. Michael Jackson
  4. Resident Evil
  5. Knock off its head with a baseball bat.

Interpreting Your Score

If you got between 0 and 1 correct answer: You will become a zombie as soon as the outbreak hits. Try not to eat your mom.

If you got between 2 and 3 correct answers: Sleep with your eyes open. The zombies will be after you soon.

If you got 4 correct answers: You might not survive the zombies on your own. Team up with someone who has a crowbar.

If you got 5 correct answers: You are legend! No zombie apocalypse can eliminate you. Way to survive.

Survive Johnson City, TN

Crowd of zombie tag players waiting for the game to begin.

Crowd of zombie tag players waiting for the game to begin.

Everyone is tensed to start running from the zombies.

Everyone is tensed to start running from the zombies.

Do zombies eat popcorn with their fingers?

No, they eat the fingers separately.

City-Wide Zombie Tag

Recently their was an enormous game of zombie tag in the city where I live. There were over 3,000 people playing the game. It was the most awesome adrenaline pumping game of tag ever.

There were a handful of people who began the game as zombies. Everyone gathered in a large field in the downtown area. You could feel the excitement in the air as thousands of people waited for the zombie attack to start.

A few minutes before 7pm, when the game was set to begin, the crowd just got spooked. Thousands of people just began running chaotically at the same time. My heart nearly jumped out of my mouth. There was no choice but to run because of the crowd swarming.

There were several checkpoints in the play area that were safe zones. Humans received a stamp at each one. The person who made it to all the checkpoints first without being tagged was the winner. The zombie who tagged the most people was also a winner.

The game was over in about an hour. The twenty minutes I lasted as a human were absolutely thrilling. If you want to know what a real zombie apocalypse feels like, play a game of large-scale zombie tag. Even though you know it is just a game, it is still nerve racking. Any time a zombie was spotted, people went haywire running and screaming. Some hid, some gave up, some outsmarted the zombie.

Ten minutes into the game there were hundreds of zombies. Twenty minutes into the game there were only a few hundred humans left. Thirty minutes into the game everyone was a zombie.

If you get the chance to play a large game of zombie tag, do it. It was a blast to play and interesting and a little frightening to see how quickly the zombies can take over a city.

Zombies Are Coming! Everybody Run!

Energize Yourself for the Game

Checkpoint Stamps

Stamp hands as players make it to each checkpoint alive.

Stamp hands as players make it to each checkpoint alive.

Organizing a Large-Scale Zombie Tag Event

If you want to organize a giant game of zombie tag in your city, here are a few guidelines and suggestions to get you started. Most of these are to prevent safety issues I saw arise during the local game of zombie tag in which I participated.

  • Pick a safe place for the play area. Make sure the boundaries of the game are clearly marked. A park or a college campus is a great place. You want a place where there is no traffic. You don't want people dodging in front of cars to avoid zombies. If you play in an urban area, make sure all of the streets are closed during the game.
  • You will need an area that is at least a square mile large if you are going to have a thousand or more people.
  • Designate safe zones where players can rest, go to the bathroom, get water, etc. You can incorporate stamps as well. Players who make it to all of the safe zones and get a stamp win the game.
  • Have all the humans start out wearing a black shirt with a white shirt underneath. If they are tagged, they put the white shirt on top to show they are zombies.
  • Have a few players begin as zombies wearing white shirts. The white will help make the zombies more visible.
  • Give everyone a token before the game (cheap necklaces or something else that players can wear). When a person is tagged, he must give the zombie who tagged him the token. Award the zombie with the most kills a prize as well.
  • Be sure to establish ground rules like no weapons, no vehicles, players must be on foot, don't shove people down when you tag them, and so on.
  • You may want to make a rule that minors must have a guardian with them. Young children can get hurt if they aren't being watched during an event like this. I saw teenagers going completely wild during the game. The adrenaline gets pumping and they take unsafe risks. Having a mature adult with them can prevent accidents and help ensure the game doesn't get out of hand.
  • If your event is going to involve hundreds or thousands, consider having game moderators posted throughout the area to ensure that people are playing fairly. Cheaters spoil the game for everyone.
  • Talk to local officials about permits, insurance, police security, etc.
  • You can even charge $1 to each participant in order to pay cost.
  • Advertise on Facebook. Survive Johnson City had thousands of people turn out because everyone forwarded invites to their friends.

Zombie Emergency Plan

Do you know what to do in case of a zombie outbreak?

Do you know what to do in case of a zombie outbreak?

Set clear guidelines and make sure people are following to keep the game safe. It is a pretend game of zombies, not a real fight to survive.

Zombie tag can be an awesome adrenaline thrill that is great to play in groups of twenty or groups of 2000.

Young and old alike get their hearts pumping as they run to save their brains from being eaten by the zombies. So be a part of the phenomenon and form your own game of zombie tag.

Zombie Poll

What did the vegetarian say when turned into a zombie?

Graaaiiiins!!! GRRRAAAIIINNNSSS!!!

Tag! Tell me your zombie tale.

FAYYAX A from PAKISTAN on April 01, 2020:

plz reply

FAYYAX A from PAKISTAN on March 28, 2020:

Hello Candace,

plz see my hub and tell me areas of improvement

Ellie Shay on February 07, 2014:

This sound SO fun, I can't wait to try it out. I am a huge fan of Walking Dead and like you said zombies are very "in" right now. I'm feeling a giant game of zombie tag at this year's Halloween party! Thank for this, I though it was very well put together!

Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 21, 2013:

FlourishAnyway - Thanks!

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 18, 2013:

What a fantastic idea. Too, too cool!

Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on August 08, 2012:

Rustedwho - Thanks! Good luck in HubNuggets!

Rustedwho from Central Pennsylvania on August 06, 2012:

Absolutely excellent! This was one of the best, most engaging zombie articles I have ever read. Thank you for such an awesome hub! Check out my recent hubnugget nomination - Becoming a Zombie: The Brighter Side of Death! Again, great job!

Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on February 28, 2012:

That Grrl - Zombie tag is definitely more fun. But any occasion to dress like a zombie is a good one.

Laura Brown from Barrie, Ontario, Canada on February 26, 2012:

My exhusband loves the zombie stuff. He does the Zombie Walk each year. I don't know if he has tried zombie tag.

Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on July 27, 2011:

Duchess - It is definitely a blast to play! Caffeine would come in handy!

DuchessDuCaffeine from United States of America on July 26, 2011:

Now this is the game for me!

Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on July 26, 2011:

jamesjacques - I bet the games at UW are as much fun to watch as they are to play. When you were little, what was more fun, being the zombie or running from one?

barbergirl - Dressing up as a zombie is as exciting as playing tag. If your area doesn't have any games, you could invite some friends over and start up a game. The Walking Dead is a great show. My husband has even started reading the comic books that inspired the show.

Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on July 25, 2011:

This was awesome... I so want to see if my local area has some zombie parties that I can go to. Especially after my husband got the series of the Walking Dead... we would be able to easily do our zombie makeup! Loved this!

jamesjacques from Seattle on July 25, 2011:

this is so cool. I used to play this on the playground when I was little. At the UW they have massive zombie games like you talked about

Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on July 18, 2011:

Wow. Thanks for the fabulous compliment Simone! Playing zombie tag was a huge thrill. Another game is in the works here. I would like to do a zombie lurch also. Thanks again.

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on July 18, 2011:

OH. MY. GOSH. THISISSOOOAWESOME!! Jeez, cocopreme. Just when I think you can't get any cooler, there you go.

I've had the privilege of participating in zombie lurches, and I have played city-wide games of tag, but never before have I played zombie tag! This sounds like so much fun. I've got to figure out how I can organize a game now. GREAT GREAT Hub!!

Joyce Haragsim from Southern Nevada on July 17, 2011:

Good hub

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