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How Not to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

wedding zombies

Feeding them cake may or may not be effective.

These days, it seems like everyone has plans for survival in the event of a zombie apocalypse. In fact, it’s hard to keep track of all the new zombie-centric movies, video games, comics, and old-fashioned books that focus on zombies, and a good number of these feature either explicit or implicit tips for survival (Max Brooks’ excellent Zombie Survival Guide being a prime example).

This is great, of course. People need to know how to survive the coming zombie apocalypse, because otherwise things get worse for everyone else. Truly, if you’re not part of the zombie solution, you’re part of the zombie problem.

Still, how to survive is only half the story. Equally–if not more–important is what you should not do when facing a zombie apocalypse. The things that may seem like a good idea when you’re discussing survival plans over a few beers, but in reality will get you killed.

As such, I now present a preliminary guide to what not to do when the zombie apocalypse occurs. This is not meant to be all-encompassing, and will certainly need to be expanded upon in the future, but it’s a starting point.

Things not to do when faced with the zombie menace.

Don’t shoot them in the head.

  • Counterintuitive for sure, but unless you have extensive firearms training and experience shooting humans in life-threatening situations, you have no business even trying to shoot them in the head. Why not? Because you’ll miss, and then you’ll be out a bullet. With each bullet you lose, you become less capable of survival. Save them for hunting. You need food more than you need one dead zombie.

Don’t set them on fire.

  • Contrary to what movies may indicate, bodies take time to burn. A cremation usually takes at least a few hours, and that’s with a 1500 degree oven. Granted, you don’t have to get to cremation level, but it’s still going to take more than a few minutes for that zombie you just set on fire to stop moving. During that time, it’s more than capable of spreading fire all around. If it’s to other zombies, that’s great. If it’s to your shelter, that’s not so good.

Don’t barricade yourself inside.

  • It’s very tempting to get yourself to a really sturdy building and just barricade yourself inside, safe from the immediate menace of being eaten by a zombie. However, unless you’ve got enough food for everyone inside to live long and healthy lives, you’re probably going to starve to death and then get eaten by the other survivors.

    Besides the supply concerns, why would you want to take away your one advantage over the zombies? They’re relentless, numerous, and tireless, but they’re really slow. More and more can just keep surrounding your shelter until you stand no chance of ever leaving. Don’t count on your secret escape route not also being overrun by zombies. But if you stay out in the relative open, then not only can you see them coming, you can also run away from them.

Don’t deny the existence of zombies.

  • Yes, as far as anyone today knows, zombies cannot exist. That’s very comforting, and it’s easy to see why some people would cling to that belief even in the face of evidence to the contrary. But no matter how skeptical you are of zombies right now, if zombies show up tomorrow then it’s time to reexamine the evidence.

    This is especially important when it comes to deciding whether or not to allow someone who was bitten to join your party. If you refuse to admit that zombies exist, you’re far more likely to let the victim join, ensuring that this new refugee will eventually kill everyone else, and probably you. Recognize what’s going on, and act accordingly.


And that’s it for the moment. These tips just scratch the surface of what you shouldn’t do (a list that’s considerably longer than what you should do, I’d argue). I hope they serve you well, should you ever need them.

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