By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
Zombies are once again heading for Asbury Park Sat., Oct. 6 as the now famous walk enters its second decade.
In its first decade the walk broke two records in the Guinness World Record book for largest gathering of zombies in 2010 with 4093 of the undead. In 2013 that figure more than doubled with 9592 dreadful creatures along the boardwalk.
On the event’s Facebook page organizers are again banning prop weapons as part of costumes.
“We’re sorry, we know that many people incorporate props into their costume, but from now on weapons are banned. If our staff, security or local police see attendees carrying prop weapons you will be asked to return them to your car or leave the event. No exceptions,” Facebook page said.
Starting at 11 a.m. the official Zombie Walk Info Booth and Merchandise Stand will open outside of Convention Hall in the Grand Arcade.
It is also the beginning of Zombie Makeover time – with the Pro Makeup Artist Alley working their magic inside the hall. Walkers are invited to attend in their own makeup or patronize the Convention Hall makeup artists for a fee.
There will also be a costume contest with contestants winning cash prizes from Johnny Mac House of Spirits.
Participants are asked to be on the boardwalk by 3 p.m. where judges will be handing out stickers to those they consider finalists.
Prizes will be given for Best Child, Best Adult, Best Couple and Best Group costumes.
The final round of judging will be in front of Johnny Mac House of Spirits at the end of the walk.
Also during the event a “Thriller” dance workshop will be held at 1 p.m. in front of the Paramount Theatre.
At 3:30, the Zombie Walk’s signature Thriller Dance will take place in the same location, with a follow-up performance onstage at Mattison and Main at 5:30.
The day will also include competitive zombie-ing in the form of a Jello Brain Eating Contest in front of the Paramount Theatre at 2 p.m.
The Asbury Park Zombie Walk, which brings out the best in zombie fashion, was originally conceived, organized and produced by Jason Meehan in the fall of 2008.
Hearing stories from friends about zombie walks in other cities around the world, and finding none in the Garden State, he was inspired to create one himself. The event grew from a small gathering into the major event it is today.
In 2015 the event was initially cancelled due to the difficulty of coordinating everything needed to host tens of thousands of zombies but, like any good zombie, it couldn’t be killed that easily.
The Zombie Walk clawed its way out of the grave with the help of John and Mary McGillion of Johnny Mac’s House of Spirits who didn’t want to see the tradition die.
They purchased the event and pitched in to help run it alongside founder Jason Meehan and the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce.
It is now one of the Garden State’s largest and longest running zombie walks with zombies of all ages participating in this free, family-friendly event.