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Monday, October 21, 2013

Blogger Husband & Wife Partake in Omaha's Annual Benson Zombie Walk

Recently my husband and I got our picture taken quite a bit. Even at the time, Brian remarked: "We haven't gotten our picture taken this much since our wedding!" So, now we truly know what it is like to be stalked by novice photographers and paparazzi. However, in our case it was our intention, along with thousands of willing participants at the 2013 Benson Zombie Walk in Omaha, Neb.

The previous year, Brian and I attended the zombie walk, but as observers. We were the one's snapping pictures with our cameras and iPhones. Whisked away with the zombie hysteria, I folded and allowed myself to become a victim at last year's zombie walk. Read about it at A Victim's Account from Benson's Zombie Walk Omaha 2012. However, on Oct. 19th, we chose to be full-fledged zombie walkers at the 2013 Benson Zombie Walk. Numerous Benson area businesses co-sponsored festivities, but the Nydm-nedm (NYDM) Nebraska Chapter volunteered their time on this Saturday to staff make up areas and pass around donation buckets. Proceeds from the sixth annual event went to the Sienna Francis House, a homeless shelter located in downtown Omaha.

The Undead. Here I am pictured with another zombie walker.
The zombie walk wasn't the only activity taking place in downtown Benson, but it was the only free one. In fact, there is no charge to participate in the Benson Zombie Walk. The street by Jake's Cigars & Spirits was closed off and street vendors were there to entice zombie walkers and onlookers with food and games. For an admission price, a band, costume contest and Dr. San Guinary's Zombikini contest, all took place immediately after at the The Waiting Room Lounge.

Overall, the 2013 Benson Zombie Walk was fun--but a bit exhausting. Be warned, this walk is not for very little kids or for people with walking issues. The route they take you down is a little ways down the road. To begin, the horde walks down an alley and emerges to several professional photographers and videographers. Next, the zombie horde moves along down the street cutting through the Great Western Bank parking lot. Cars passing by on Military Avenue slow down in amazement. We witnessed an ambulance announce over the load speakers, "brains!" This got an immediate reaction from zombie walkers. At the halfway point, we crossed over an overpass and journeyed the rest of the way via Military Avenue and Maple Street to downtown Benson. The zombie walkers' final destination, The Waiting Room Lounge.

The organizers warned us zombie participants before the walk that there were a lot of professional photographers on hand. He told everyone to be in character. I can equate being the undead to being an animal in the zoo. Everybody is looking at you and taking pictures. Zombie walkers and onlookers are in very close proximity. People lined the sidewalks and we literally walked between them. I found it the easiest to scare the little kids; especially, with a cold stare or zombie, "Raaarrrr!" Feeling guilty, I would wink back at the little kiddos, at the very end. One little girl we came upon was so frightened, she had wedged herself behind her dad and the building her family was perched in front of. Her two siblings, however, were grinning from ear-to-ear as we passed by. The best horde action to note, came in front of Jiffy Lube. A worker sat on top of the shop's sign; unbeknownst to him, within an instant he caught the eye of some zombies on the sidewalk. Kind of eerily, just like in the movies, all the undead clambered to try and get some of his brains. Moaning and jumping after him--who was just out of reach--it was a true sight to see!

How do you know if your costume is good? In our case, everyone wanted our picture. A couple zombie pats on the back are in order for The Brown's and our volunteer make up artists. We followed the instructions laid out on the Zombie Walk Omaha website, which Brian and I noticed most did not, and dressed as "zombie vikings." We pieced our outfits together after stops to Goodwill and Fairytail Costumes and Rental. The final touch to our zombie transformation was our makeup. Like most, we took advantage of the make up artists provided by the event. They had two locations available, and we picked The Pizza Shoppe. For $3 a piece donation, The Brown's were transformed to The Viking Zombie Brown's (see video below).

The Brown's have the look down; now we had to play the part. Here's some tips on how to walk like a zombie. Remember slow is good! No "World World Z" zombies in this walk. Dragging a foot, slumping your shoulders, moaning and bouncing off of your zombie buddy works. Like I said, it was exhausting! Staggering like a zombie, my hip started to hurt and Brian commented afterwards that his knee bugged him. If you aren't a fan of crowds, stay home! The 2013 zombie walk garnered more than 5,000 people, including both walkers and onlookers. All-in-all, I do recommend attending--it was for a good cause and was cheap family fun.

My advice to picture takers in attendance next year, don't say "cheese" to a hoarde of zombies--if you really want that true zombie stare say "b-r-a-i-n-s," instead.

-population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
© 2013 population-we, LLC 
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