Halloween means zombies! Unless you are a cast member in The Walking Dead, in which case your paycheck means zombies. (Awesome.)
Back in January, I received an email for a 50% off coupon to participate as a zombie in The Zombie Run. Get pro zombie makeup and chase after people? For cheap? Sign me up! I registered, along with my beau. Then we had to wait very patiently, as the race was rescheduled from May to October. (For maximum holiday potential? Bureaucratic snafu? The world will never know.)
Race day finally arrived last Saturday, though, and we hiked out to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. Once checked in, we were directed to a tent area with rows of makeup artists. We eventually got split up into 2 lines, one for volunteers and one for people who paid to be zombies. Not sure if this is the case at every event, but there were a surplus of volunteers in NYC so many were directed to get zombie lite makeup and, uh, course marshal.
We then moved through stations, like an assembly line of the living dead. The first makeup artist sprayed my face with gray airbrush foundation, giving me a delightfully dead pallor. Then the second station added blacks and blues. There were dabs of chunky blood at the third, and finally a little kid at the fourth station gleefully doused my face with corn syrup blood. (Corn syrup blood tastes delicious, as you can imagine, but did you know that airbrush makeup kinda tastes like….bubble gum?)
While we waited to be transported to the course, a couple volunteers came out on the grass and pelted people with blood all over clothes. So this was the final result.
Eventually a race crew member picked us up in a pickup truck and drove us out to our designated kill zone. All human runners got 3-4 life flags, and as zombies we were to lurch as quick as possible and snatch their flags off their belt. Undead flag football, if you will. Humans count as survivors if they finish the race with at least one flag left.
We were near some large bushes, so I went hunting for a stick I could brandish. When I dug up one that was appropriately threatening– and about six feet long– I decided that I would forget about chasing people and instead try to scare them with the stick and be a little different from all the other zombies out there. The stick was my schtick! (HEY ZOMBIES CAN STILL MAKE BAD PUNS.)
Once the runners started coming, so did the range of reactions
- “What the……?”
- “Is that a gun? Oh no, just a stick.”
- “Zombies can’t use tools!”
- “What? That’s all you got for us?”
- “OH JESUS”
- “Hey! Time to walk my invisible dog!”
- “Wait, if she’s got that in both hands, she can’t take our flags!”
- “I m dead already, don’t bother.”
- “Thanks, I can take that from– AHHHHH” (silly humans who tried pull the stick out of my cold dead hands)
- “Grrr to you too!”
- “Are you going to whip me with that? Kinky!”
I was in a stretch of the course that included an incredibly fast zombie dodging after people’s flags, my Walking-Dead style boyfriend, an excellently creepy teenaged zombie prowling as if Linda Blair were on the ground instead of the ceiling, and an abandoned school bus humans had to run through while also dodging the undead.
After 90 minutes or so, the final runners had gone by. We zombies quit being scary and instead convened around the school bus to beep the horn and compare notes. How many GoPros did you see? Who screamed the loudest? Any humans try to steal back their flags? The crew guy drove around to pick us up, and we returned to the start area for finishing beer and 90s music with the living.
I doubt the Zombie Run will return to this particular location in Brooklyn. The crew guy alluded to many bureaucratic and financial headaches with Floyd Bennett Field, and a giant parking lot doesn’t lend to awesome obstacles like a suburban forest might. But if it does, who knows? Maybe this time I will dwell among the living and take a chance at running the course.
If you are interested in some BRAAAAAAINS of your own, go see if The Zombie Run is happening near you!