June Zombie Culture: Walk Among ’em, Run from ’em, Take ’em to Prom

June Zombie Culture: Walk Among ’em, Run from ’em, Take ’em to Prom
Michael Wilkins and Zombie Baby

"This was the dance of death. The clowns danced it for the wretched of the earth, that they might witness their own wretchedness." - Angela Carter

Witness our wretchedness! At least, physically speaking. The zombie scene in Chicago refuses to stop, let alone slow down to a pleasant crawl many would prefer as of late. They just want to make room for incorporating other monsters into their weekend activities. I can’t fault anyone for desiring a little variety in the land of monsters. I get a little tired of the brain-gobbling myself, but then something great like The Walking Dead comes along and rocks televisions everywhere. Seriously. TWD made zombies cool again. I think if we didn’t have a zombie event every single weekend in Chicago, maybe my horror buddies wouldn’t feel like zombie attacks were a bad thing.

Nevertheless, there are some fun events coming up that cannot go unannounced.


This Saturday marks the anniversary of the 5th Annual Zombie March downtown. It's a peaceful event that is worth the exercise and is also nice for a bit of sightseeing. A few rules will always apply at zombie walks, so listen up!

  • Show up in your best zombie garb – whether it be ripped pants, bloodied tops or costumes – and make sure you’ve already practiced your best shamble at home.
  • The key is to stay in character at all times. Many of us don’t accomplish that, but if you look good and keep up the zombie act, you’ll be the most likely candidate for photo ops by onlookers.
  • Always treat the public with graciousness. Never try to actually scare anyone, especially the elderly, children, or bums. They may not understand what is happening.
  • Stay in your group for safety reasons, and for the love of potatoes do NOT carry a lot of money on your body! Consider the fact that a large amount of people may be pressing against you if you join a horde, and, whether it’s fellow zombie fans or random passersby asking for spare change, they are all strangers. Theft is a rare occurrence, but please heed my friendly warning to be alert at all times.
  • Speaking of safety, there are absolutely no weapons allowed! It’s understandable to want to protect oneself while downtown, but it’s frowned upon for obvious reasons. Don’t worry. No one will mess with you on the way home looking like that. The great thing is that it’s a free, family-friendly, all ages event.

Meet at Cloud Gate aka "The Bean" in Millennium Park downtown a bit before 3pm. Make sure your bloody clothing is dry so you will not be dripping on the pavement around town. The city really, REALLY doesn’t appreciate it. Do not smear fake blood (or real blood) on anything other than yourself.

There is a convenient map pinpointing the location stops along the way, including several news stations, so expect the possibility of showing up on the local news later!

While I always advise attendees to slap on their own zombie makeup (try one of the million tutorials on YouTube) to cut down on time and the possibility that the makeup team may be just one person who ends up not showing, or you have to wait an hour in line to get fixed up. Best to do it yourself to avoid any and all hassles. If it’s an impossibility and you’re a risk taker, email David Lasley at makeupdavid@chicagozombie.com or Colleen Jones at makeupbitch@chicagozombie.com.


This summer, there will be zombie-infested, 5k obstacle course races happening around the country. “Run For Your Lives” is an awesome idea that meshes a typical obstacle course race with a survival of the fittest zombie apocalypse scenario. Attendees choose whether they want to be a zombie chasing the runners, or the athletes running from them. Infected or Survivor? You decide. You’re not just trying to finish the course, you’re trying to keep the zombies at bay! Runners will have a belt with “health flags” attached, which could be snatched by the zombies at any time. Once all flags have been removed, health levels have reached zero and the runner is dead, or at least out of the race. It’s too late to register for being in the race, but it's not too late to be a spectator.

The closest location is in Indiana, which is on June 23rd at Boondocks Farm, 8001 S. Grant City Road in Knightstown. There will be over twelve bands later that night at the Apocalypse Party. Runner spots closed 6/1, but spectator passes can be purchased on the site for $32, which includes the party. Hit the site for all necessary information and check out the photo gallery! http://runforyourlives.com/


Okay, you’ve had chances to walk and run with zombies. Now, it’s time to celebrate returning from the dead and shake your rump with the dapper undead on June 29th at the Zombie Prom! Classier attire is expected, but not by much. Zombie attire and makeup IS required, and artists will be on hand to rot you up, but note that it costs $10 a pop. This event is not for children, however, as it is at Vision Nightclub downtown, so all attendees must be over 21.

There are zombie ticket packages available, but all at a hefty price. What’s included? Reserved table seats, champagne, corsage and photos. Get there early for the free buffet from 9pm-10:30pm. Eat your weight in munchies the entire hour and a half to cover a good chunk of the cost. Dance off the calories to a live zombie band and zombie DJ Daëna. Win prizes when the giveaways are announced. Try out for the Zombie Prom King and Queen contest. Just want to attend without all the bells and whistles? $20 advance, $25 at the door. Shamble and shimmy all night until 4am!

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    Kristin Wicks

    Horror movie fanatic. Sculptor of oddities. Owner of Chicago Creepster Yahoo!, festival volunteer, writer, artist, social media freelance. Officially a biomechanical Frankenlady. Doing what I can to support our spooky community.

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