If you’ve stumbled across a stumbling group of what seems to be zombies in your city, you aren’t seeing fiction come to life. In other words, a World War Z-like zombie apocalypse isn’t occurring.
Rather, you’re observing a zombie walk, which is a gruesome-looking event where fans of the genre dress up like their favorite undead characters and shuffle through the streets. According to the Travel Channel, some of the largest zombie walks occur in cities like Chicago, Detroit, Mexico City, San Francisco, and Toronto, but zombie walks of all kinds of sizes occur throughout the world at different times of the year, especially around Halloween.
If the zombie walk looks like a lot of fun to you, but you don’t know the first thing about zombies, you have a lot of catching up to do. Fortunately, movies, TV shows, and books about zombies are extremely popular, giving you plenty of information.
Zombies in the Mass Media
If you’re looking for zombies on your TV, your search should start and end with The Walking Dead, which is setting records as the most viewed non-sports show in cable television history. An average of 17.3 million viewers watched the Season 5 premiere episode, versus 5.4 million that watched the Season 1 premiere in 2010.
Movies. Movies featuring zombies over the years number in the hundreds, with 1968’s cult classic, Night of the Living Dead, one of the most well-known. The latest blockbuster is 2014’s World War Z, which collected $540 million in box office revenues worldwide.
Books. Zombie related books are extremely popular, too. For an informational and humorous understanding of zombies, it’s tough to do better than Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z.
With some zombie walks, both zombies and human soldier characters participate, creating a war-like re-creation scene. Some of the humans are even armed with Nerf weaponry, allowing the “fight” to be harmless.
Playing the zombie
Dressing up like a zombie requires plenty of Halloween makeup, and it can be a fun process. You’re really only limited by your creativity.
You’ll also have to work on your zombie shuffle as you walk through the streets. However, there’s not really a set speed at which zombies move in popular culture, as some zombies move really fast and some shuffle slowly, so feel free to be creative here, too.
Playing the human
If you want to play the role of the human soldier, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper weaponry to fight zombies as part of your costume. While guns are a popular option against zombies, a few blunt objects can serve as effective weapons against zombies that you can carry with your costume, too, as shown in the infographic, including items like a baseball bat, a hockey stick, or even an axe.
To round out the costume, you may want to put together a survival kit, just as you’d need to carry in a zombie apocalypse. Carrying items like a flashlight with extra batteries, a portable radio, water, a bedroll, and non-perishable food will make for a more realistic post-apocalyptic costume.
Watch a few zombie walks online and check with your local organizer’s Web site to make sure you understand the rules before your first participation in one. While zombie walks are for the most part unstructured, as a human, you certainly don’t want to make a major mistake while in the middle of a horde of blood-thirsty zombies … even if they aren’t real.
About the Author: Naomi Shaw is a blogger and online journalist.