The Best Real Life Zombie Halloween Costumes, From Pete the Marsh Man to Juanita the Ice Maiden

By: Justin Nobel | Date: Thu, October 18th, 2012

Zombies are still huge and this year stores are offering numerous variations on the traditional zombie Halloween costume. There is the zombie doctor outfit, the zombie gangster, the skate punk zombie, zombie ninja, zombie school boy and skeleton zombie.

If you want a historically accurate zombie Halloween costume why not go with the “bog body”, available on Bog bodies can be thousands of years old, and are still being dug up across northern Europe.

An online German costume shop called is even offering a few more scientifically grounded zombie-themed outfits, including the moor monster, and the bog body.

The latter is made of 100 percent Polyester and includes a tattered brown shirt with a rip across the chest, revealing a cloth layer of bones beneath, plus a matching pair of pants, skeleton gloves and a creepy skeleton mask with flesh hanging off and long ratty greenish hair. It’s a modern take on a certain type of archaeological treasure; bodies that have been preserved by the acidic oxygen-free environment of peat bogs for thousands of years. So, if you really want an authentic zombie costume, Digital Dying suggests you consider the following options..

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Tollund Man – One May day in 1950 women from the Denmark village of Tollund were cutting peat in a local bog for cooking fuel when someone noticed a human body curled up in the fetal position. It was so well-preserved the women assumed it belonged to a recent murder victim. The police arrived but were baffled and called on an archaeology professor named P.V. Glob. He determined the body was more than 2,000 years old, and likely the victim of a sacrifice. At the time of his death, Tollund Man wore a pointed cap made of sheepskin, a smooth hide belt and, in a touch that makes him particularly suitable for a zombie Halloween costume, had a noose made of animal hide wrapped tightly around his neck. Glob’s initial assessment was later proven wrong, Tollund Man had not been sacrificed, he had been executed. There were rope marks in the skin beneath Tollund Man’s chin and along the side of his neck. Radiography work done in 2002 showed a distended tongue, another indication of death by hanging.

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Pete Marsh – At the time of his death, about 2,000 years ago, Pete, aka Lindow Man, was a healthy man in his mid-twenties. But he died an incredibly violent death, making him another great candidate for a historically accurate zombie Halloween costume. Pete was strangled, smashed in the head with a heavy object and had his throat cut. The inch and a half long V-shaped cut in the top of his head is thought to be the result of a strike from something like a hatchet. X-rays revealed the blow fractured his skull, driving skull fragments into his brain, which caused swelling along the edge of the wound. The swelling indicates that Pete lived for some time after being struck, perhaps a few hours or more. The wound on the right side of his neck appears to be a stab wound, though some scientists think it may have resulted from the skin splitting open when the body became bloated after death. What probably killed Pete was strangulation. Lacerations indicate a cord was wrapped tightly around his neck.

Some archaeologists have a different view, they believe he was sacrificed. Pete was killed three times, their thinking goes, stabbed in the neck, bashed in the head and strangled with a cord. And each murder represents an offering to a different God. Thus, those who go as Pete Marsh for Halloween have a variety of ways to define and adorn themselves.

Juanita the Ice Maiden – For teenage girls, clearly the best zombie Halloween costume is Juanita the Ice Maiden. She was sacrificed to Incan Gods not in a peat bog, but atop a snowy Peruvian volcano some 550 years ago. Juanita’s stomach contents revealed her last meal consisted of vegetables, eaten about six to eight hours before her death. She wore a brightly colored burial tapestry and her head was adorned with a cap made from feathers of the red macaw. Around her neck was a colorful alpaca shawl, fastened with a silver clasp. Her comely garments suggest she may have come from a noble Cuzco family. But her death was horrendous. Juanita’s right eye-socket was cracked, and there was a two inch fracture across her skull, indicating she was killed by blunt trauma to the head. The blow caused a massive hemorrhage, which filled her skull with blood, pushing her brain to one side. If you go as Juanita on Halloween, remember an essential zombie precept, and stick a fake axe in the side of your head.

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