You never know what's going to happen when you take a walk on the wild side. Especially when limping alongside the undead.
I took a leap two years ago and ventured ten miles into Fort Wayne to participate in the annual Zombie Walk with my sister and daughter, who like me, live in Churubusco; a friend, who lives in Rome City; and my young cousin, who was raised in Roanoke. There we were: Hayseed Humans in a Downtown of Decaying Flesh. How marvelous! How fun! We were hooked on zombieing. (Yes, it's a word, just don't look for it in a dictionary.)
We thought we looked pretty good with our blacked-out eyes, fake blood and ripped clothing – until we got to the Allen County Public Library Plaza and started milling around with the real zombies.
These former humans turned decomposing corpses were dead serious about the event and put us to shame. Our shoulders slumped – we were sad and pathetic wanna-be zombies. We stared in awe at the awesome make-up and intricately designed costumes. A few times, my companions had to literally slap my mouth shut.
The walk started and somehow I lost my sister, daughter, and friend and was left to mentor my young cousin. “Something” next to us was dressed in a long, black, hooded cape and carried a decapitated head on a silver platter in one hand and a long sword in the other. Two red eyes glowed behind the scariest mask I have ever encountered. My cousin and I hugged each other as something stared at us and made a slashing motion across his throat. Yikes! We grabbed each other and scurried ahead to find the others.
That’s when I noticed Miss Zombie USA and her escort, undeniably the Best Dressed Zombie Couple on the walk. She was wearing a pretty, pink business suit, white high heels, pearls and gloves and he was in a sports coat and plaid shirt. Their stylish, blood-splattered attire and accessories were marred only by the fact that their rotted and decayed faces had fallen in large chunks and dripped down their cheeks.
They stumbled along slowly with a disjointed, jerky gait, staring into space, oblivious to the thousands around them. We were captivated. The pair was really undead – that we were sure of.
I caught up to them and asked if I could take their photo and they graciously said yes. That’s when I recognized Mr. Zombie USA as a former co-worker and friend.
“Gregg?” I asked tentatively.
He furrowed his scabby brow and squinted his open-wound eyes.
“Gregg! You never told me that you and Bev were zombies!” I exclaimed.
“You never asked,” he said, which was true. Who thinks to ask co-workers if they are incorporeal beings?
It all served as proof that it’s a small, small zombie world, after all.
The 5 Ws of the Fort Wayne Zombie Walk
WHAT (a scare)
The 10th annual Fright Night and Zombie Walk, Saturday, October 21, is an all day event (10 a.m. to 11 p.m.) with loads of spooky fun and laughs for the entire family.
WHEN (the undead rise)
Thousands of decomposing and composting zombies will begin their walk at the Allen County Public Library plaza at 5:30 p.m. Zombie make-up will be applied to adults and (fun or non-scary make-up) to the kids free of charge at the Allen County Public Library prior to the walk, beginning at 2 p.m.
WHERE (in the …)
The walk will follow several city blocks throughout downtown Fort Wayne.
WHY (do the zombies walk)
Because the undead need to log in some steps on their Fitbits.
CHECK IT OUT
Over 25 events, in addition to the Zombie Walk, will be taking place during throughout downtown Fort Wayne during Fright Night 2017.
See a slideshow of past Zombie Walk photos.