World Zombie Day to Bring Out the Living Dead

This October flesh-eating corpses could be shambling the streets of a city near you. Oct. 8 has officially been coined World Zombie Day and events across the United States are searching for victims this month.

Zombie walks inspired by classic horror films like George A. Romero’s "Night of the Living Dead" and "Dawn of the Dead" give people across the country and around the world a day of dead fun that’s inexpensive, and often gives back to charity.

From coast to coast, and in far flung place like Australia, London and Hong Kong , find one that fits your interests or your location and go get zombified.

Here’s a list of some of the most entertaining zombie walks and pub crawls across the United States.

Party Like A Zombie: New York, N.Y.

If you’re invading New York City this October, then get ready to wreak havoc in the city that never sleeps. This adult Zombie event kicks off on Sunday, Oct. 16 beginning at 4:00pm. Last year’s event attracted almost 800 people. The zombie feast begins at the Beauty Bar (231 E 14th St.) in Union Square where zombie makeup artists will be available to help bring the dead out of you. There will also be zombie drink specials for those 21 years of age.

At 6:00pm a zombie walk will ensue through the East Village, which is open to all ages. The crawl will be part of a music video for artist Dr. MaddVibes so bring your best moves. Since Zombies never sleep it only makes sense to crawl to the after party at Arlene’s Grocery (95 Stanton St.) at 8:30pm. However, younger zombies under 21 should retreat to their graves. Tickets will only cost $10 if you’re dressed as a zombie and $12 dollars for civilians.

There will be a variety of live music featuring Dr. MaddVibes, Nassau Chainsaw Disgraceland Demolition Committee, God’s Green Earth, and DJ Brian Blackout. Zombie comedy and burlesque shows as well as other surprises will arise. Zombies from all over are welcome to the big apple. 
 Although the organizers don’t have rooms blocked off, there are a variety of zombie friendly hotels on the lower eastside with affordable deals if you book early.

Click here for more information.

Zombies Invade The Garden State: Asbury Park, N.J.

If you’re looking for a destination trip then shamble your way to Asbury Park, N.J. on Oct. 22. Last year’s walk holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest gathering of zombies -- 4,093 brain eating and newly dead corpses. The 3-day event called the Undead Festival is open to all ages and according to organizer Jason Meehan attracts people from across the Northeast, and even zombies as far as Mississippi.

“This year I got an email from a group in Mississippi that said they were renting a van and all of their friends are coming to New Jersey just for our walk because it’s the best one to go to and has the most going on,” said Meehan.

This year’s event certainly won’t leave you bored with over 50 vendors, zombie costume contests, a horrific fashion show, haunting music, a zombiefied cake competition, and theatrical performances.

“I just wanted to make it something where there is non-stop activity going on besides just walking like zombies,” Meehan said.

The Asbury Park Conventional Hall will be transformed into a post-apocalyptic wonderland, where you can get your makeup done by special effect artists so you can be in full zombie character.

Meehan says it can be more fun then dressing up in a Halloween costume because you can make anything into a zombie.  “I have seen popular culture figures like Lady Gaga and Abraham Lincoln zombies, and civil war soldier zombies,” he said.

"Night of the Living Dead" stars Bill Hinzmann, Kyra Schon, Judith Ridley, John Russo, Russ Streiner, George Kosana, and Gary Streiner will all be in attendance to share their stories about the original film and how it all started.

A full weekend pass for three days of non-stop zombie fun will only run you $20 and children under 10 are always free. If you decide to just go for one day then a pass costs $10. If you don’t buy your tickets online, you can buy them at the event and save about $10 dollars if you bring a can food donation. Although the donation is optional, the event does collect food for the Food Bank of Monmouth & Ocean Counties. And even if you’re an out of town zombie there are affordable options, according to Meehan.

“If you are coming from out of state we have three different hotels that are offering special packages for zombies coming in.  So the least expensive is $89 a night, so for two nights plus the passes may run a family about $200 dollars.”

Meehan stands by this event being a “family friendly” zombie walk so if you believe your children are ready for crawling zombies, then it could be a great trip for the family that won’t break the bank.

Click here for more information.

Calling Zombies of the Midwest: Minneapolis, Minn.

If you’re a booze-loving zombie who likes to dance then head out to the ‘Zombie Pub Crawl VII, Terror of Two Cities.’  The event began in 2005 with only 150 zombies and now expects up to 8,000 undead shufflers. On Oct. 8th from 4:00pm – 2:00am CDT in the West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis and the Lowertown neighborhood of St. Paul zombies will take over.

“If anything, the zombie pub crawl is about dressing up as a disgusting rotting corpse and drinking a ton at a bunch of different bars,” one woman said on the group's Facebook page.

There are several affordable wristband prices that will get you into multiple bars and block parties. For the thrifty zombie, you could buy your wristband in advance online for $10, which will get you into all the select St. Paul or Minneapolis bars. If you’re in the mood to travel between the two cities then you could purchase a dual city wristband for $20, which will even provide people shuttle transportation. If you’re stopping into the event last minute – don’t worry. You can purchase wristbands for an additional $10 at the event's select locations outlined on the pub crawl’s website. The wristbands get you drink specials and entrance at the door to numerous bars and bloc parties. Both Minneapolis and St. Paul will feature tons of live music from hip-hop to punk rock so you’ll be sure to find something for every zombie’s musical taste.

There are a couple of downsides to this event. First off a wristband purchased in advance won’t guarantee you entry into all bars and block parties due to capacity limits. Secondly, there is a lack of kid-friendly and family activities. On the upside, there will be an attempt to break the Guinness world record of the largest gathering of zombies at Mears Park in St. Paul, which is open to smaller zombies under 21 years of age.

Minneapolis organizers have called out the Ashbury Park, N.J. event on their website, and intend to bring the record to the Midwest.

Click here for more information.

Zombies Wanting Warm Meals: Wilmington, N.C.

Last year the zombie walk in Wilmington, N.C. raised enough food donations and money to provide around 500 warm meals to local needy families, and this year they plan on tripling that number. The entire event is free, but admission to walk is a donation of at least 3 non-perishable goods.

The walk is on Oct. 22nd and will be an entire weekend of fun zombie themed activities. From 2:00pm-5:00pm you can get zombified by one of their ghoulish make-up artists. After 5:00pm the walk will depart around Wilmington’s downtown area passing various bars where zombies can access refreshments and let out their inner party animal. Live music will begin at 8:00pm and include local rock and punk rock bands Rictus Grim, The Villians, The Luvrs, and many more.

On Sunday the fun won’t stop because there will be an all day zombie film festival at the Juggling Gypsy Café where zombies can even smoke hookah.

Click here for more information.

Even Zombies Renew Their Vows: Flint, Mich. 

Michigan’s third annual zombie walk on Oct. 8th in Flint will offer couples something no other event does: Vowel renewals and commitment ceremonies for those who have found that special zombie. Ceremonies will take place following the walk at the after party.

More than 600 zombies are expected to roam the streets at 1:00pm. Organizers of the event ask zombies to arrive at 11:30am in order to register. The only thing needed to walk is your decked-out zombie costume and a money donation, according to organizers.

There is no set amount to donate, but organizers suggest $10, which will go directly to the Michigan School for the Deaf Student Aid Fund. Therefore, the event will be open to the hearing impaired, and will be interpreted for them. Many attending the walk even took dance lessons over the summer to learn the zombie dance from the iconic music video "Thriller" by Michael Jackson. The dance was video taped to use as promotion for this year’s zombie walk, and even features a young Michael impersonator signing the song.

The walk starts on Saginaw Street across the street from the University Pavilion and there will be free parking on Saturday if you should drive to the event. This year the walk’s celebrity guest is actress Sharon Ceccatti-Hill from George Romero's 1978 classic, "Dawn of the Dead." Ceccatti played the nurse zombie in the film and will be leading the zombie horde in her original costume.

After the walk you can attend the after-party at local restaurant, Good Beans Café. The restaurant will have seating both inside and outside under a tent. There will be some food, drinks, music, entertainment, vendors and a raffle. The raffle will have a variety of prizes including a weekend with a brand new Chevy Volt. This event maybe good for families with young ones, but organizers do state the following on the walk’s Facebook page: “There is no age limit at all. All are welcome, but we do advise you to be the best judge of whether your little ones would be scared by a horde of zombies.”

Organizers say weather its rain or shine the zombie walk will go on.

Click here for more information.

Zombie Olympians: Pittsburgh, Pa. 

The Pittsburgh Zombie Fest is a free all-day celebration of zombie and horror culture for all ages, and the only event to introduce the zombie Olympics. Event organizer, Mark Menold says all ages can participate and it’s many people’s favorite. “They throw a rubber leg like a javelin, a brain like a shot put, and then the race is a whose the slowest meaning who has the best shamble,” said Menold, who added the event is expected to attract 10,000 brain eating zombies.

The event will be held on Oct. 8 from 12:00pm to 9:00pm at the newly renovated Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh.

Obviously makeup is a large part of turning yourself into a gory and decaying zombie, but Menold says don’t worry if you're not the best at it. “You can just make circles around your eyes with black makeup and stare into space and that’s your costume.” In addition, there will be volunteer makeup artists at the events if your really feeling challenged.

During the day you can check out the over 30 vendors, live music, or a special performance by The Zombie Opera, which is similar to a Broadway musical. There will also be a brain eating contest and an UglyPageant, which crowns a king and queen.

Menold says, “the brain eating contest is very popular,” but don’t worry you won’t be eating real brains, just sugar free jell-o molds.

The day culminates in "The Walk of the Dead" where a shambling parade invades the city. Aside from being free and open to all ages, the event is no stranger to giving back. Menold asks zombies to bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to the Pittsburgh Food Bank.

“Its at a good time of the year because in The States, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and that’s when the food banks are looking to stock back up.”

The local Pittsburgh Food Bank is finding some new brain eating friends.

“They have collected some 10,000 pounds of food for the Food Bank, so that makes them good neighbors to the people who are struggling with hunger in our region,” Pittsburgh Food Bank CEO D. Jermaine Husser said.

Click here for more information.

 Zombies Give Blood: Dallas, Tex.

If your heading to the Southwest, how about an offering up some blood (without the flesh) at an outdoor zombie festival.  You can get your chance on Oct. 15 in Deep Ellum, Tex. from 12:00pm-8:00pm.

Last year’s walk saw over 4,000 ravenous zombies, but organizers this year say they “promise more fun and even more blood.” And more blood means a great an opportunity for zombies to donate it to Carter Blood Care.

Event organizer Kael Graham says, “Every blood donation can save the lives of three people, and with all of our collective efforts we can do so much more.”

This year’s event will include a world record attempt for the largest gathering of zombies. All you need to do is register online and all ages are welcome. Once you register you can also enter for a chance to win an autographed poster from the AMC series "The Walking Dead" and a limited zombie walk 2011 shirts. There will also be a makeup artist to help give zombies that putrid dead look, over 30 live bands, food and drinks, and even a zombie survival skills course. Music, a costume contest, and a zombie party will take place after 8:00pm at local hotspot 2826 Arnetic.

Click here for more information.

Zombie Carnival: Merced, Calif.

If you’re looking for a smaller zombie affair on the West Coast look no further. Merced, Calif., about halfway between Modesto and Fresno, is hosting a carnival themed zombie event for all ages from 1:00pm-7:00pm on Oct. 8th.

Event organizer Mark Blackheart says the carnival theme will include a zombie dunk tank, a zombie kissing booth, bobbing for eyeballs, pin the body part on the zombie, and perhaps even a zombie shooting range with paintball. The zombie walk and live music are entirely free and each carnival game only costs $1.

“For the carnival events we sell tickets for them, and the money that we raise from that goes to the Valley’s Children Hospital,” Blackheart said.

There will also be a variety of food at the event because a hungry zombie is an angry zombie.

“We’re going to have all kinds of food, that’s the most popular venue. There should be some barbecue and some Asian food. The Lion’s Club will have a popcorn maker, and there will be cotton candy and stuff like that,” said Blackheart.

And if your having trouble with your zombie costume then Blackheart suggests looking beyond zombies and coming as a survivor or zombie hunters. Just under a 1,000 people from Modesto and San Jose are expected this year and there are plenty of hotels in the area so if your in town its worth checking out.

Click here for more information.

Zombies Like Variety Baltimore, Md. 

On Oct. 15 from 3:00pm till dusk why not crawl down to "Zombies in the Park 2" at Heritage Park in Dundalk. The event attracted over 500 zombies last year and hopes to increase that number this year.

The event features 3 live bands, about 15 vendors, make-up artists, contests, and even hearse rides.

Event organizer Michael Kurant says there will be a variety of carnival games with a twist for adults and children in attendance. “Instead of the bean bag toss we have the zombie body part toss, and instead of duck duck goose we have duck duck brains,” said Kurant.

If you're more a horror zombie buff,  you may be interested in a guest appearance by Jim Kurt, "Dawn of the Dead’s" helicopter zombie who will be signing autographs for fans. A special effects artist will also offer zombie makeovers.

“Usually a zombie makeover won’t cost more than $30 depending on the level to which you go with prosthetics and latex,” Kurant said.

There will also be an independent film shooting scenes from the walk, so bring your inner zombie movie star. Food, drinks, and refreshments will be available, and money collected at the event will go to help local non-profit Baltimore Art and Music Program.

So if you’re in town or on vacation let’s say at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor then you’re only a 20-minute ride from the festivities.

Click here for more information.

Other Local zombie walks to check out: Richmond, Va.,  Denver, Colo.,  Temecula, Calif.,  Fort Myers,Fla., and Phoenix, Ariz.,