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How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

He breathed hard and leaned against the side of the banister. Blood smeared the cold metal, and he knew he was not long for this world…not in this form anyway. He had watched his entire family, and all of his friends disappear, lost. They were gone forever, and he could do nothing to stop it, but that doesn’t matter now. Escaping matters keep running, keep hiding. Death was inevitable, but he was not ready, not for this. However, on this day, Jason did not have a choice. Jason was wounded, tired, and on the verge of shock. Then they came. Walkers, the living dead, stinkers, whatever names you gave for them, they are what they are. Zombies!

The Apocalypse is coming. Don’t be like Jason.

So the zombie apocalypse is coming, and you’re probably asking, “What do I do?” First you need to assess the situation. The most important thing to do in this situation is to observe to begin with. It only takes a second to determine the most useful piece of information. Can they run? If they can run, this is a game changer. Plans change and life expectancy lessens. Because you are mostly screwed if they can run, we will first cover what happens if they can’t. For this particular scenario, we will pretend you are on a college campus, you know, to keep with the theme and stuff.

Assess the Situation

Where are you? Stay away from the heavily populated areas. How quickly you have discovered that your loved ones now want to know what your inner flesh tastes like will be a deciding factor on where you should go. If it is a full breakout, don’t make the mistakes everyone does. Don’t go back to your dorm or near the dining centers or big lecture halls; they are heavily populated and a bad idea for the obvious reasons. However, f it is just starting and the population seems relatively unaware, head to the hardware and grocery store, and don’t be slow about it.

Hardware and Weapons

Is it just starting? Hustle to the nearest hardware store. Can’t find one? Look for any college workshops, such as garages or student workshops. You will need a few things. Axes, rope, nails, nail gun, machete if possible, duct tape (lots of it), propane, a grill to run said propane, a fishing rod, bait (preferably plastic jigs), and other useful survival objects. Grab weapons that can be used as blunt killing devices. Remember, you don’t have to reload a machete or a lead pipe. Plus you can turn a pipe into a potato gun. Just something to consider. If somehow you just happen to have thousands of dollars on you, grab a semi-automatic shotgun with tons of ammo. Stay away from double barreled shotguns. They only shoot twice, and that will do you no good. Rifles are great if you have the time, but they won’t really help in the initial onslaught. Some will recommend a handgun, but they have no stopping power, and a long-handled shotgun will help you shove the living dead away if they get close. Grab anything else you think might be useful, such as tarps and buckets to hold liquids. If you live in a drive area, remember that plastic sheeting can be used to capture rain.


Next Destination? Your NEAREST grocery store. Cost doesn’t really matter at this point, so don’t be picky with what you buy. Before entering assess the situation, are people sick? Is anyone panicking. If so, get out. If not, proceed with extreme caution. Always keep an eye on the exits. Grab only non-perishable goods. First of all, grab canned foods, preferably fruits, beans, and vegetables – these are a must in times of need. You can even grab freeze-dried foods if they are available. Grab seed to start a garden. If you have time and room, get items that perish less quickly, like cereal, but try to stick to the basics. Meat, bread, fruits, vegetables, and other foods are a bad idea. Sure, they are good in theory, but they don’t last long. Also stay away from energy drinks and candies. It will be hard enough to find good nutrition, and the worst thing to happen would be to run out of energy and crash while running away from a horde of zombies. Plus, after a while, they will give you horrible headaches and debilitating stomach aches. Most importantly, grab water. This should be obvious, but is commonly forgotten.


Now, according to every zombie film you have ever seen, the first thing to do is hole yourself in a big house, barricade the windows, and bunker down. This is a good and bad idea. If you seal yourself completely off, you will be comfortable, but they will surround your place and you won’t be able to escape. If the zombies don’t get you, insanity and starvation will.

What you need is to find a place on the outside of town to hold up in. Ideally, it will be a place that is on the top of a hill with few easily accessible entrances and tons of forestation surrounding it. While busting into a random house and taking it seems like a good choice in movies, most of the time, they will be occupied and getting locked in jail is not a way to outlive a zombie outbreak. This place also needs to be away from all hospitals, army bases, and should have a MAXIMUM of three entrances to it on the ground floor. A place with roof access again would be ideal.

So, you’ve picked your place. Set up your supplies. If you have a second floor, put them there in case you need to barricade the stairs. In fact, take anything useful to the second floor and try to keep the ground floor as open as possible. You don’t need to be tripping over chairs, causing your eventual damnation.

Your supplies are set up. If you have two floors, barricade all the windows and doors. Make sure that one of these exits has removable barricades for a quick exit. The other exits should be completely closed off, but with visibility to look out. On the roof, lay out plastic across a portion of the roof, attached to one of the buckets you have. Make a small incision in the plastic and put the hole over a bucket and use some tape to secure it. This will give fresh drinking water. This is often overlooked, but essential for the long term. Use the remaining buckets and grab a few hundred pounds of dirt and put it on the roof. Start a garden with the seeds you got after this next step, but you need the dirt now. You don’t know when you will be able to head outside. If you don’t have access to the roof, do this on the second floor.

Before closing off the exit with the removable barriers, go outside and set up some trip wires and lay them all up and down the hill. Make it as difficult as possible for the zombies to get up the hill. If they can’t even walk up it, the danger stops there and you can pick them off one by one or just leave them be.


This is probably going to be the most redundant part of this. How do you kill a zombie? You sever the spinal cord or destroy the brain. This can be a blow to the head, a bullet through the brain, or even a jab to the back of the neck. These are obvious and have been drilled into your brain. You can’t function without your head, go figure.

What you need to remember happens in the preparation. Make sure to cover your exposed and less protected areas with lightweight metal strips or plastic. Think more specifically about the neck, spaces between gloves and sleeves, the rest of the arms and legs. Duct tape between the glove and the sleeves to connect them afterwards as well as with the space between the jeans and the boots.

When actually fighting, remember that avoiding combat is better. Sneak around, or wait it out if you can. If you absolutely must fight, try to use weapons with the biggest range such as a homemade spear, rifle, etc. You want to stay as far away from them as possible. Every foot reduced between you and them severely reduces your odds of staying alive.

Fight in groups, stay close to each other, and NEVER go back for someone. If they appear to be completely screwed, they are. No point in sacrificing the rest of you for them.

Now what?

Some probable scenarios you will run across. 1) People will see your fortification and want to be a part of it. Before you allow anyone, you need to come up with a set of rules that everyone, including yourself, can be a part of. Good rules should be:

  • Only admit those with a skill
  • Make sure food supplies permit for extra people
  • Make sure room permits for extra people
  • Check for Infection*

*This last rule is the most important, and I will explain how to do it in great detail. This section may seem harsh, but only those with harsh, established rules, and those people accepting them, should be allowed into the camp. All newcomers must strip naked and checked for bites and scratches. Any refusing to submit to this will be turned away. Any attempting to still enter will be shot. This should not have any exception for women or children. Put your camp ahead of yourself.

When checking for infection, realize you don’t know the incubation period of the virus. It could be immediately upon being bitten, or it could be a week. You need to have some quarantine in place. This can be a basement with locks or handcuffs tied to a STURDY metal fixture. Not something like a handbar in the bathroom, I’m talking metal pipes or something similar. They will need to agree willingly to stay in this quarantine for no less than one week. When infection risk is absolutely zero, they will be released. If infection sets in, all members must agree to kill the infected. There will be no “What if there is a cure?”. Death is the only certainty. Again, it’s for the benefit of all.

Fortify, expand, and grow as possible. Make supply runs BEFORE you need them. Getting supplies before you need them is way better than getting supplies after. Make sure to grab medical supplies for infection as they become available as these will be very unlikely to get before the infection breaks out. Again, trying to steal them and landing yourself in jail will not help you.

If you follow these tips, you will not be like Jason.

If you have any additional tips, rebuttals, or good ideas, please post them in the comments. I am very curious to hear what you have to say. Until then, happy hunting and happy Halloween.

Note: mad props go to Ryan McCoy for providing this post’s excellent header image.