...and The Outhouse has an interview with co-organizer Chris Hartsgrove. Find out all about the event right here, horror fans!
The New Jersey Zombie Walk is an annual zombie themed event held in Asbury Park, NJ around Halloween. It also happens to be co-organized by a friend of the Outhouse, Chris Hartsgrove. To find out more about the event, I put on my best burial suit, slathered myself in rotting, stinking guts, and shambled down to Asbury Park with a few questions for the "brains" behind this operation.
The Outhouse: So what the heck is a zombie walk, anyway?
Chris Hartsgrove: Basically, it's a bunch of people getting together, dressing up like zombies, and walking around. It's a bit like guerrilla theatre. There are tons of them going on all over the world. When we started ours, it was pretty small and a lot of people had no idea what was going on. Now though, it's turned into a huge events, with thousands of people participating.
OH: So huge, you guys hold the world record, right?
CH: Officially, we do still have it. Seattle tried to beat us earlier this year, and they probably had enough people to do it, but unfortunately for them, they didn't follow Guiness' very strict stipulations. Someone told me Dublin gave it a try too, but according to Guiness the record is still ours. We also set another record this summer for the most zombies on a roller coaster with a little help from our friends the NYC Zombie Crawl and the Philly Zombie Crawl.
OH: So zombie walking is a competitive business. What is the Asbury Park Zombie Walk doing this year to keep up?
CH: This time around, in addition to the Walk itself, we have the Undead Festival - a three day con-style event with tons of vendors, music, movies, and special guests. We have some great folks coming out, including zombies from the Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and the Walking Dead. They'll be on hand to take pictures and sign autographs the whole weekend, but the best part is that they'll be getting bloody with the rest of us and will be taking part in the walk.
OH: And Arthur Suydam (Marvel Zombies, Batman, Deadpool) too!
CH: And Michale Graves (of The Misfits)!
OH: How many non-famous zombies are you expecting this year?
CH: We're preparing for 10,000. And in addition to the zombies, we have hundreds of people coming out now just to watch, so parking might be a bit of an issue this time around. Since there's about 20,000 people living in Asbury, we're pretty much taking over for the night.
OH: Got any costume and makeup tips for those who might be inexperienced in the whole "dress up like a zombie and walk around an urban environment" thing?
CH: There's tons of tutorials online these days, and with it being Halloween season, makeup is pretty easy to come by. But for anyone that doesn't feel like doing it themselves, we have a small army of makeup artists on hand that will do everything from basic black eyes and blood to full facial prosthetics for a nominal fee. We really like to see people get creative with their costumes though. There are costume contests, so we encourage people to really go all out. One thing I will say, we don't need any more Shawn of the Dead costumes. Leave your cricket bat at home.
OH: Everyone thinks they're the first! I see that children ten and under get free admission to the convention. Do a lot of parents worry the event might be a little too intense for a 9 year old?
CH: I've noticed that kids tend to have a blast with it so long as they get to be zombies too. The only time I've seen children get freaked out is when their parents just bring them out to watch. As soon as the kid has some makeup on, they get into it. In fact, one of the problems we always have to deal with is parents who don't want to get done up along with their kids... it's just weird looking to have a living person walking with this little tyke who's haming it up growling for brains and dragging a foot. One of our goals is to try to make it as family friendly as possible... it really is an all ages event. But of course, if you're really worried about your 5 year old having nightmares, it might be best to leave them with the sitter.
OH: Thanks for talking with us Chris. I hope our readers in the area will check out the event. Any last words before we let you go?
CH: After four years of doing this, I can honestly say that the Zombie Walk is the most fun I have all year. Every time I end up making new friends and having a blast. And really, how often do you get the chance to be part of an undead horde? And the one thing that keeps it going is new people coming out and joining in. So hopefully we'll see some Outhouse readers out there. The more brains the better. Cheers!
The Undead Festival runs from October 21st to 23rd at the Asbury Park Convention Hall, featuring over fifty vendors, zombie costume and cosplay contests, a horrific fashion show, haunting music, zombified cake, after-parties and theatrical performances, special screenings and sneak peeks at some of the hottest new zombie films, shoes and video games, live panel discussions, meet-and-greets with famous artists and actors from your favorite horror titles, and more. The New Jersey Zombie Walk itself is on Saturday, October 22nd and is (as always) TOTALLY FREE! There will be a Base Camp in the Grand Arcade of Convention Hall which will open at 10am with the Undead Festival. The walk begins at 5PM.
Here's the schedule and ticket prices:
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21ST - 4:00pm - 10:00pm with after-parties TBA
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22ND - 10:00am - 6:00pm with after-parties TBA
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23RD - 11:00am - 5:00pm
1 DAY PASS* - $15 each individual day
FULL WEEKEND PASS* - $30 for the whole festival!
CHILDREN 10 years and under - FREE!
* Undead Festival passes are good for entry into Convention Hall only and do not include admission to after parties or other events coinciding on the Boardwalk.
All proceeds from ticket sales will help fund the Zombie Walk and Undead Festival
You can get more info at http://www.njzombiewalk.com/
UPDATE: Regrettably, after publishing this article, we learned that Arthur Suydam will in fact not be attending the festival, as he was double-booked and had to cancel today. He will however be sending artwork and merchandise to the event.
Written or Contributed by: Jude Terror