Zombie walk

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A Participant in a Zombie Walk in Edmonton, October, 2007.

A zombie walk (also known as a zombie mob, zombie march, zombie horde, zombie lurch, zombie shamble, zombie shuffle or zombie pub crawl) is an organized public gathering of people who dress up in zombie costumes. Usually taking place in an urban centre, the participants make their way around the city streets and through shopping malls in a somewhat orderly fashion and often limping their way towards a local cemetery or other public space (a series of taverns in the case of a zombie pub crawl).


[edit] Customs

Promoted primarily through word of mouth and online message boards, zombie walks are an underground activity. During the event participants are encouraged to remain in character as zombies and to communicate only in a manner consistent with zombie behavior. This may include grunting, groaning and slurred, moaning calls for 'brains'. It should be noted that zombie behavior is a hot topic of debate. Purists who draw their definitions from the original Living Dead films will claim that a zombie would never have the ability to call for 'brains' and furthermore that a zombie needs only living or freshly killed flesh for its sustenance, and not the brain in particular.

An advanced technique to heighten interest and realism, some zombie mobs will "eat" victims to create new zombies, in sight of onlookers. [1] The better coordinated zombie mobs will establish a route and an easily recognizable signal, so that other participants can plant themselves, appearing as an otherwise ordinary human, along the route in old, tearable clothes, and as the mob shambles along it can discover and devour new victims. As the zombies surround the new victim to loudly feed, concealing him or her from witnesses' view, they tear clothes and quickly apply greenish makeup and fake blood, to create a new zombie, who then shambles along with the ever-expanding pack to find new victims.

[edit] History

Zombified children participated in Edmonton's Zombie Walk, October 14, 2007.

Zombie walks have become relatively common in large cities, especially in North America, often becoming annual traditions, though some are also spontaneous "flash mob" events.[2] Some events are staged as spoof political rallies organized "to raise awareness of zombie rights", with participants carrying placards.[3]

The first documented non-commercial zombie walk was held in October, 2003, in Toronto, Ontario.[4] It was organized by local horror movie fan Thea Munster, and had only six participants.[5] The 2007 Toronto Zombie Walk drew a crowd of over 1,100 zombies, a number confirmed by Toronto Police Services.[4] At the time, this was the largest zombie walk on record.

In 2005 a series of zombie mobs swept North America, as documentation of the phenomenon appeared on mainstream blogs like Boingboing. On July 30, 2005 San Francisco was visited by approximately 75 zombies who entertained tourists around Union Square, and played dead on the BART train. [6] Another widely documented zombie walk occurred in Vancouver, B.C., on August 27, 2005, with over 400 participants. That walk proceeded through the Pacific Centre Mall, travelled on the SkyTrain (referred to for the event as the "SkyBrain" or the "BrainTrain") and continued 35 blocks to Mountain View Cemetery.[7]

On October 15, 2005, the first annual Zombie Pub Crawl was held in Minneapolis. The event consisted of roughly 100-150 zombie-costumed participants moving from bar to bar in the city's Northeast district, and has since grown and been continued annually in different areas of the city.[8]

Official Monroeville Mall World Record Attempt Photo
The Nottingham zombie walk on October 31, 2008.

On October 29, 2006, 894 participants gathered at the Monroeville Mall in Pittsburgh, which served as the set of the classic zombie film Dawn of the Dead.[9] In addition to setting a Guinness World Record, the event was a benefit for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. In 2007, the people of Pittsburgh broke their record with over 1000 zombies at the same mall, during their all weekend zombie festival.[10] A zombie march in Brisbane, Australia on May 25, 2008 set an unofficial record of over 1500 participants according to media reports.[11] On June 21, 2008, a zombie march took place in Chicago with a reported of over 1,550 zombies, setting a new unofficial record.[citation needed]

On October 31, 2006, a young woman in Bloomington, Indiana reported to police that a group of "zombies" attacked her in her Land Rover and covered the vehicle in "purple goo". The zombies in question turned out to be participants in a small, local zombie walk, and no arrests were made.[12]

At the 2006 Vancouver Zombiewalk, an incident occurred in which a driver attempted to push his way through the crowd of zombies that was headed down Robson St. This resulted in some minor injuries among the zombies, severe damage to the car, a number of ICBC insurance claims, and coverage on CBC Television.[13]

A zombie walk in Brisbane on the May 25, 2008 saw more than 1,500 participants stopping traffic and shoppers in the CBD. Local newspapers failed to mention the event, in a bid to stop it from continuing, after several businesses complained about minor "zombie damage" and zombies scaring their customers away.[citation needed]

Close to 50 cities worldwide participated in World Zombie Day on October 26, 2008. Final totals are still being compiled but the preliminary results with 32 cities reporting are that 7,500 zombies participated in the event, which also included food drives in each participating city. The event was created and coordinated by The It's Alive Show, a weekly television program broadcast in Pittsburgh, PA. The Pittsburgh walk, held at the Monroeville Mall, had 1,341 people participating and is pending Guinness certification for the new official world record.[14]

On October 30, 2008, Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the largest site of zombies anywhere in the world. Even though the official tally was at 3,370 zombies, well over 4,000+ zombies showed up to this event. They were also asked to donated canned goods to a local food bank. Grand Rapids shattered the former world record of 1,375 zombies.[15]

A zombie walk took place on 31 October, 2008 in the Old Market Square of Nottingham, United Kingdom with 1227 attendees. The event was organized by GameCity, and the zombies did dances to zombie-related songs such as Michael Jackson's Thriller, Disturbia and Ghostbusters. There was also a performance from American singer Johnathan Coulton.[16]

[edit] Charity events

Organizations like Zombie Squad have hosted zombie walks to raise awareness or money for community service events, most commonly blood drives since the infection in zombie movies is traditionally spread by blood contact or a bacteriological infection passed through the saliva.

Both world record walks at the Monroeville Mall have included food drives. On October 26, 2008, the Monroeville organizers hosted World Zombie Day to raise awareness of global hunger. More than 40 cities worldwide signed up for this day of global zombie walks with food drives for local hunger related charities.

The 2008 Pittsburgh/Monroeville Mall zombie walk brought in more than one ton of food to benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.[17] The results for World Zombie Day are still being compiled, but last total was 4,153 pounds of food and more than $2,300 in cash donations for food banks in the 32 cities that participated in WZD.

On October 30, 2008 in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, over 7,500+ cans of food were donated to a local food bank.

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