Guide to Being a Vampire

A reader requested this, and we at were happy to oblige!  Many a book published in the last several years offers advice of what to do when dating one of the undead.  Here we offer a different set of considerations, regarding what to do when becoming nosferatu.  Never mind for a moment what kind of vampire you’ve become–Anne Rice’s fallen angels, the glittering vegetarians of Stephanie Meyer, the mutant demons of Brian Lumley, the shape-shifting incubi/succubi of Hammer films.  Here we offer stuff appropriate for all breeds.

First, hide in plain sight.   Where vampires dwell, so too one finds vampire hunters of all stripes from Buffy to the many scions of the Van Helsing clans plus a wide variety of professionals and amateurs.  Cities remain the best hunting grounds, the larger the better.  Forget New Orleans–too small (less than a million).  Better by far to aim for really large metropolitan areas like Tokyo, New York, London, Hong Kong and the like.  Places home to millions, preferably tens of millions.  Easier to get lost in a crowd.  Full of hidden nooks and alcoves–bomb shelters, abandoned warehouses, subway tunnels and the like.  Plenty of people, many of whom vanish anyway, and others who’ll probably let you drink their blood.  Subcultures in the modern era are many.  Take advantage!  Want to pull a Dexter, that is, hunt exclusively among murderers like Lestat?  Major cities!  Just think of all that organized crime!  The serial killers!

Second, learn the art of misdirection.  Don’t look anything like a vampire.  For the most part eschew gothic colors and paraphenalia–for the most part.  You might want to keep the capes and silk cuffs around for Halloween or the appropriate night spot where a tan jacket and brown turtleneck stand out.  In such places, make sure you wear the pale makeup you don’t need and don the contact lenses that everyone else uses.  Likewise avoid professions naturally involving blood–doctors, morticians, police officers, butchers.  That’s the first place Blade-wannabes will look!

Third, don’t be greedy.  You feed too often or too recklessly, then somebody’s going to notice!  What would the central characters have done if Dracula visited Lucy exactly once then went looking for someone else?  Twiddled their thumbs, that’s what!  Maybe now and then you drain someone dry.  Stuff happens.  We understand.  But modern forensic science (while not as awesome as seen on TV) can be a real headache.  Any such bodies need to vanish completely.  As in–acid bath then toss the acid and remaining bits into the middle of the Atlantic.  Not off the coast or a few miles offshore–the middle of the Atlantic!  Better by far to get a few deep swallows from random people who won’t remember what happened–or groupies who let Pretenders sip from cuts made with sterilized razor blades.

Other bits of advice:  Pretend to be Canadian.  No one knows what Canadians look like, but everybody knows they’re used to the cold so no one will think twice about your lack of an overcoat in winter.   Don a bullet proof vest.  Yeah, regular rounds barely sting but these days silver bullets or wooden ammunition are increasingly possible.  Never eat at home, because blood stains are hell to clean up after and they always ALWAYS leave a trace.  Modern security tech is your friend.  Vicious dogs and thousands of obedient rats have a classic quality to them, but have proven far less effective than infrared sensor alerting a bunch of well-armed rent-a-cops.  Buy new clothes often, burning the old.  No matter how dainty your feeding habits, a few drops of blood are gonna spill.  Even microscopic ones.  Better not to leave that kind of evidence where somebody can find it

Watch True Blood?  You might want to check out the company that makes Hemopure.  Quite simply, this is a kind of artificial human blood–actually a  blend of human blood with filtered bovine blood.  You can legally buy it in South Africa.  Smuggling some into where-ever-you-unlive could be worthwhile.

I would also recommend that where-ever you sleep during the day be pretty much inaccessible to anyone who lacks vampiric powers.  Remember The Scars of Dracula starring Christopher Lee?  His coffin lay in a room with no door.  If you weren’t a bat, or could climb walls, the room remained impossible to enter.  Likewise in the novel upon which John Carpenter’s Vampires was based, vampires routinely created fake resting places that became death-traps to anyone who got too close.


By david

David MacDowell Blue blogs at Night Tinted Glasses.  He graduated from the National Shakespeare Conservatory and is the author of The Annotated Carmilla. and Your Vampire Story (And How to Write It) as well as a theatrical adaptation of Carmilla.


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  5. great article david, my only peev is with the wooden and silver bulets; on the lone ranger episode of mythbusters they proved that silver bullets didn’t have enough mass to cause a lethal wound, if silver rounds don’t have enough mass how can wood?

    I can see a normal round with a silver jacket might work but a wooden one i don’t think so

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