RIO DE JANEIRO – Hundreds of Brazilians dressed as zombies dragged their rotting limbs on Wednesday while groaning and playfully lurching at tourists along Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach.
The "Zombie Walk" was among several planned in Brazil on All Souls Day, also known as Day of the Dead. The day is a holiday in Latin America's largest nation, a time when many visit the grave sites of deceased relatives or simply take advantage of the time to head to the beach.
"Zombies are so cool," said Yago Cavaleante, a 21-year-old university student who along with his girlfriend was dressed in tattered clothes and had scars painted onto his face. "I know that they are supposedly dead, but technically they are still living beings."
Such celebrations have taken off worldwide in recent years thanks to AMC's "The Walking Dead" television series. The first episode of the seventh season recently aired, and featured the death of popular character Glenn at the hands of Negan, a ruthless man who kills anybody — zombie or human — who gets in his way.
Hours before the walk, people gathered to put on fake blood, enact their best zombie impersonations and chat about the show's latest developments. Many also drank cold beer or water as temperatures reached the mid-90s (35 centigrade).
Marcelo Alves, a 28-year-old whose body was covered in faux blood, said he couldn't believe how Glenn had died — his head beaten to a pulp with a bat by Negan — or that he would no longer be on the show.
"It's not going to be the same without him," said Alves between chewing on a chunk of pretend raw flesh and lurching at tourists. "They are going to have to figure out what to do."
For Ana Amorin, a 51-year-old laboratory administrator, the walk was a welcome distraction from the many ills facing the country. Latin America's largest economy is bogged down in its worst recession in decades, a long impeachment fight ended with the ouster of the president and the state of Rio de Janeiro is so broke that many public workers haven't been paid in months.
"We have so many economic and political problems," said Amorin. "Here we can just let go and have a good time."