Braaaains: North America’s 10 Best Zombie Walks Chloe Nevitt July 13, 2016 Arts & Culture, Interests Few horror creatures have so robustly brought fear and revulsion to audiences as zombies. Originating from Haitian folklore, where locals told stories about corpses being reanimated with magic, creepers easily found their place in the western world. In the early 20th century, writers and moviemakers jumped on these ghoulish creatures, capturing their audience’s minds…and braaains. Following a resurgence at the turn of the century, zombies have reinserted themselves into our day-to-day lives in seemingly unstoppable and pervasive ways. Examples include popular shows and movies like The Walking Dead and Zombieland and also, the rise of zombie walks. Simply, zombie walks are just giant parade-like gatherings of people dressed up like zombies. The first recorded zombie “gathering” occurred in 2000 at a gaming convening in Milwaukee with a small showing of only around 60 participants. Following the first zombie gathering came the birth of zombie walks, which have gone to grow and expand across the rest of North America – and the world – at an alarming rate. There have been zombie walks in Canada, England, and Australia, all of which have drawn thousands of participants. For those with an appetite for brains, the morose, and the morbid, here are the best zombie walks in North America. Zombie Crawl in the Monroeville Mall, Pittsburgh Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Nick Peterson For the die-hard zombie fanatics, this is the place to be. Pittsburgh’s zombie history and fan-base make it nearly unbeatable – especially because Monroeville Mall has a special place in zombie hearts. The Monroeville Mall is known as the “Dawn of the Dead Mall”, because it was here where George Romero’s classic film Dawn of the Dead was filmed. Here, die-hard zombie fans can experience what Francine and Stephen lived through when dealing with a national zombie epidemic. Today, Romero’s classic film lives on via undead enthusiasts, who every year will dawn rotting gear to occupy Monroeville Mall with zombies. Since Pittsburgh’s first walk in 2006, the city has become incredibly influential in undead society and is featured in a variety of zombie-themed games and films. The walk occasionally doubles as a fundraising event, collecting money and non-perishables. The event itself usually takes place in October, and has been known to end with a Zombie Ball. Pittsburgh is also home to Zombie Fest, a two-day event home to the most grueling and grotesque undead activities. If you crave raw meat, this is definitely the place for you. Sacramento Zombie Walk, California Skyler Casebeer/Facebook Sacramento’s Zombie Walk paired up with Trash Film Orgy have done their best to offer the greatest crawler events in the US – and they’ve succeeded. In fact, they hosted the first official walk in June 2001, and since, their events have only served to reflect the city’s very own attitude. Equal parts spunk and flash, this zombie walk tends to be a bit more risqué than many of its zombie walk cousins – featuring more scantily clad bleeding undead than usual. But the flare is matched only in excitement and acceptance, as creepers of all ages are seen crawling through the street. The event is equal parts color, food, and merchandise as vendors are invited to sell their goodies all during the event. Definitely fun for the whole family. San Francisco Zombie Walk Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Kanaka Rastamon San Francisco’s zombie walk began in 2013 and since, has not failed to attract larger and larger crowds. In an effort to ensure a complete zombie takeover, while still giving back to the greater monster community, the walk is always paired with a fundraiser of sorts. Chicago Zombie March Image via Flickr- CC BY 2.0– Brendan Riley The Chicago Zombie March is just one part of underground horror and thriller fan-base known collectively as Dark Chicago. The march emphasizes respect and inclusion, making sure that participants do not scream at onlookers. It also has some professional makeup artists on hand, though they recommend that wannabe zombies come pre-zombified. Asbury Park Zombie Walk Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Hypnotica Studios Infinite The Asbury Park Zombie Walk has taken home two world records: once in 2010 and once in 2013 for the world’s largest gathering of zombies. The wonderful and beautiful Asbury Park scenery sets the stage perfectly for a creeper invasion. The walk generally takes place in early October but other events like parades and viewing parties are organized to satisfy zombie cravings year-round. The Asbury Park Zombie Walk has been occurring every year since 2008 and has become scarier and bigger. Minneapolis Zombie Pub Crawl Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – David Tinjum The Minneapolis Zombie Pub Crawl, also known as ZPC, has become a staple in Minneapolis lore. The city’s annual zombie-fest went so far as to claim the crown from Asbury park as on October 11, 2014, a staggering 15,458 participants zombied up and buckled down. It also offers a huge selection of food trucks offering food with apt names like Brain Belt and Zombie Burgers. Because the event draws in huge numbers of attendees ZPC is a bit infamous for overfilling bars and being somewhat of a logistical nightmare. However, whether you love or to hate ZPC, it’s definitely one of the most iconic zombie walks out there and a quirky reason to book cheap flights to Minneapolis right in time for Halloween. Toronto Zombie Walk Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Bastian Sander In 2006, as the Toronto Zombie Walk (TZW) grew in size, to handle the logistical requirements of such an undertaking, the TZW paired with the Toronto After Dark Film Festival to help organize the event. Remarkably, by 2012, the TWZ attracted more than 10,000 walkers. The entire event is organized and run entirely by volunteers, and results in a wonderful massively lurching and dragging event. Corpses are encouraged to dress as creatively as possible, and the more horrid, the better. Like many of the other zombie walks, the event doubles as a fundraiser for a choice organization. In 2015, fittingly, the TWZ chose the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Help the Bats initiative to back; creatures of the night need to look out for one another. Louisville Zombie Attack Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Yelp Inc. The Louisville Zombie Attack ranks quite high on the must-visit lists for zombie aficionados. Located in the Highlands, known in Louisville for being the bar, food, and party central, it’s normally already quite alive. Yet, in late August when zombies begin flooding into the streets, it comes truly undead. The Louisville Zombie Attack’s claim to fame is likely due to the ongoing success and overall politeness. Whereas ZPC is known to get a little rowdy and out of hand, Louisville Zombie Attack is generally meticulous and friendly, and businesses within the Highlands are always more than welcoming to undead guests. And though not officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records, it is rumored to be the largest zombie walk in existence with estimated crowds of around 40,000 attending. For those looking for a scary but family-friendly zombie walk, this is definitely your best bet. You may also like: Dead Bored? Here Are 5 Zombie Events Across America You Shouldn’t Miss Richmond Zombie Walk Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Mobilus In Mobili It would seem that the residents of Richmond took the expression “Give me liberty or give me death” a little too seriously, as much of their population appears to be dead – or undead, for that matter. The Richmond Zombie Walk has been in existence for over a decade and like a fine wine, has only improved over the years. This zombie walk also backs a charity every year, which is why the walking dead are encouraged to donate $5 if they are participating. The Richmond Zombie Walk offers participants prizes for their zombification in the following categories: Most Disgusting, Best Couple/Group Theme, Best Pop Culture Theme, Best Zombie Kid, and Zombie of the Year (Best Overall). Zombies meet at The Landing at Fountain Lake, also known as Byrd Park and drag themselves through the streets of Carytown to head to the Byrd Theater. The event is sure to impress with its slew of terrifying zombies on the beautiful backdrop that is Richmond. Zombie Walk Detroit Image via Flickr – CC BY 2.0 – Angie Linder Zombie Walk Detroit helps to raise money and awareness for charities such as the Gleaners community food bank, collecting both thousands of dollars and pounds of food to donate to the underprivileged. Traditionally, the walk has taken place in Detroit’s historic Greektown, known for having a variety of popular restaurants, casinos, and entertainment venues. If you love history, Greek food, and the undead, this gathering is the perfect excuse to stat looking for cheap flights to Detroit and join the relentless ranks of the undead.