Every year for the last eight zombies take over the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver. The event takes place on a Saturday before Halloween. Each year the Zombie Crawl aims to surpass the previous year's World Record – yes, there's a World Record for zombies occupying a space. This year, with mild weather and well-organized publicity, the Zombie Crawl looks good to beat the record again.
The 2013 event took place Saturday, October 19. The festivities started at 9:00 AM with the Organ Trail, a "Haunted Urban Adventure" that promised to be "part Amazing Race, part Fear Factor, part haunted house." The actual Zombie Crawl Parade was set to start at 4:00 after a group dance to "Thriller."
This year's event seemed slightly less choreographed than previous events, though. The "Thriller" dance consisted of approximately 20 people – there was no announcement to draw more – that went on at 4:15. Likewise no official commencement of the crawl occurred. Nonetheless, the Zombie Crawl event itself was a big hit.
People get very creative about becoming zombies. There were zombie teachers stabbed with pencils, zombie Michael Jackson toddlers, zombie Gumby, numerous zombie brides and nurses and doctors and even zombie babies. Jack Skellington made an appearance as did zombie Santa and zombie Jesus. Zipper faces were a big hit. For the special effects-challenged, booths offered makeup and costume help.
For those who like to people watch, the Zombie Crawl is the premier event. Several cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating frame the pedestrian mall. Watchers can take a seat and watch the parade of death and deformity march by.
The Zombie Crawl includes zombie hunters and zombie victims. Zombie victims indicate their willingness to be chased by zombies with a duct-taped X on their back. Zombie hunters dress up in various levels of combat gear – this year's Crawl featured SWAT members, Katniss, and one scary couple that looked too close to SS officers. Somehow they only chase the zombies who are willing to run, so there is no danger of getting zapped by an overzealous hunter.
The event is free, though the after-parties charge a cover. Participants were also welcome to buy a "Killer Deals" wristband for $5, giving them discounts at local establishments.
Ultimately, the best parts of the Zombie Crawl are watching the living dead mix with often perplexed living shoppers. If you're not aware of a zombie crawl, it can be quite startling to see so much blood, gore and rot everywhere. Bravo, Denverites, for participating so gamely.