Ten Reasons to Participate in Your Local Zombie Crawl
Sometimes, we all feel like the world is going to end, especially when watching the news. Armageddon looks to be right around the corner, and the Zombie Apocalypse seems all too certain, especially given the recent Ebola outbreaks. It’s natural to react with fear. In times like these, you might be tempted to lock the doors, check the ammo and food stores, and make sure all your guns are in working order, which is a reasonable enough approach. But you do have other options. Here are ten reason’s you should participate in your local Zombie Crawl.
1. Prepare yourself. Sometimes it’s better to really get into the apocalyptic vision and embrace it, if only to desensitize yourself for the inevitable future of humanity. Why not join a group dressed in their end-times finery and be herded by SWAT-like teams wearing masks and toting guns (often from the Umbrella Corporation) to channel your inner zombie?
2. Indulge your darker side. The atmosphere around Crawls is darkly festive. Crawl-goers consist of three types: Zombies, Victims, and Para-Military Forces. Whether you’d like to get in touch with your undead side, carry a gun and shoot zombies to serve and protect, or allow the infamous creatures to attack and turn you, a place exists for you in the Crawl. It’s a pretty interesting symbolic interpretation of our world class system.
3. See makeup artistry at its finest. The realism of some of the zombie getups and wounds can be a bit unsettling, but the detail many go into for this festivity can amaze and inspire. Artists like Sarah Nasatka of Colorado Springs truly created some great wounds on many victims and zombies.
4. Respect zombie culture. Zombies are people, too. Give them a little love and understanding. It might not save you from being eaten or being turned into one yourself, but many often take a kind of grotesque, morbid pleasure in seeing regular, average people zombie-fied.
5. Terrify someone. If you do go as a zombie, it’s likely you’ll actually scare a few people, especially if the makeup’s good. There’s nothing wrong with this. Some of your victims will enjoy the experience, and others might have nightmares for a few days, but embodying zombie can unleash within you a power you never knew you had.
6. Witness fantastic acting. Often, participants in crawls also work at similar places such as the Renaissance Festival or local Haunted Houses, so they’ve got talent. Some are just dedicated zombies, such local comic artist Mike Maley, who’s writing and illustrating a rather unique, gruesome, and awesomely inappropriate zombie comic, Rot Town. If you really want to see a real life zombie, the Crawl is the best place to be. Some of the participants were so realistic, I truly was frightened. But then, I really don’t like clowns.
7. Face fear. Zombies look awful. All the flesh falling off them, the weird gashes, and bloody wounds that will not heal may shock some. However, the zombies seen dressed up at a crawl are a reflection of our culture–many of our soldiers who go overseas have seen such wounds in reality if they’ve been in any fighting, and perhaps the Crawls are a manifestation we create to bring awareness to ourselves regarding the true cost of war.
8. See the Apocalypse. The Apocalypse is now, but we often refuse to see it. With the failing American infrastructure, our obsession with overseas wars, and our inability to feed kids in our own cities, any impoverished ward or project can look strangely similar to a Zombie Crawl. Sometimes it’s good to reflect on how hypocritical we are as a culture and deal with the emotional repercussions. In order to move past it, we really do have to deal with what is as a culture and as a society, and right now, we make our citizens into zombies either by malnutrition or by deadening their brains with entertainment.
9. Deal with death. As a culture, we don’t involve ourselves much with the preparation of the bodies of the dead. This can often create distance between the reality (that a loved one has died) and our feelings that they are actually still alive. In Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, she explores the myriad aspects of grief when her husband died, and her memoir details the haunting aspect our culture automatically creates around death. A Zombie Crawl is a little like facing death and really getting in touch with it. Mortality is not a popular subject in our culture, and making fun of the way we’ve industrialized the disposal of bodies, how we allow our loved ones to live on long after death in our memories, is something captured poignant and visceral at a crawl.
10. Release pent up emotion. Zombie Crawls create a safe space for us to express our emotions on some of the darkest subjects. These are the subjects that are unacceptable in polite conversation, the things we struggle with at night when everyone else has gone home and we are finally alone. Crawls give us all access to an outlet, a place to create something frightening and confront it. Plus, despite all the depth and symbolism obvious in the actions, we are acting tragedies because our culture disdains tragedy in the face of Disney and our sterile educational system.
We have a lot to face in our world if we choose look at reality. Zombie Crawls can really open one’s eyes symbolically and literally to the disturbia surrounding us, and they can help us all move context. Sometimes we don’t notice the frightening nature of reality, but we might need to be real about it, face it, and accept what is as a culture. If we don’t acknowledge the world’s state, our species may actually fail.
Still, there may be hope. If all you hear is the rain, grab the gun and put the cat inside. Awareness only requires a nudge to shift our context. Zombie Crawls act as a pretty successful mechanism to get us to face ourselves.