By Michelle Morey
As the AMC’s “The Walking Dead” gains popularity, more and more people have become interested in zombies and the idea of a zombie apocalypse.
Venues in New York City held several zombie-related events this year. There was the 5K “Run for Your Lives” zombie run, held this past summer, with another held in Brooklyn on Oct. 26 at Floyd Bennet Field. Then there was Zombie-Con, a bar crawl in New York City, where attendees dressed as zombies. Zombie-Con was held on the weekend of Oct. 12 , also the date of “The Walking Dead Escape.”
“The Walking Dead Escape” was held on the Intrepid, an air, space, and sea museum, originally an aircraft carrier, at Pier 84. The event was one night that ran from 7:15 p.m. until about midnight. Fans were sent in waves about every 15 minutes to make sure that there weren’t too many “survivors” in one part of the course. The average group took about 30-40 minutes to complete the obstacle course, based on main events in the show, such as when Rick, who is a very significant character, woke up in an abandoned hospital. It also featured military bases that were taken over by walkers.
Fans had the option to be either a zombie or survivor for “The Walking Dead Escape.” Tickets to be a survivor ranged from $65-$85, with the zombie option ranging from $85-$90. Those who chose to be walkers, as they are called in the show, were required to arrive two hours prior to the wave time to get their make-up professionally done.
If I hadn’t known that it was just make-up, I would have thought they were zombies. That is how good the make-up was. I was a survivor and, even though at some points it was scary when the zombies popped out of nowhere, it was really a fun experience. At some points throughout the course I couldn’t stop laughing because the people that volunteered to be zombies got so into it and looked at you with such blank stares just as they do in the show.
Attendees started in a staged evacuation zone, where military officials said there was a virus outbreak in New York City. Then, the survivors went through what appeared to be the hospital that Rick woke up in during the first episode of the TV series, and from there climbed through school buses, and crawled under other obstacles. Before attendees could get to the water station, they first had to make it to the top of the ship. Since this was an obstacle course and not a race, survivors were allowed to continue to the end of the course regardless of whether they had been touched or caught by a walker.
At the end of the course attendees had to enter a military tent and were scanned with a black light to see if they caught the virus. If cleared, they were sent to the right to continue through, and if they had the virus, were sent to the left and put a red dot on their forehead to indicate being fictionally shot before inevitably turning into a zombie.
This was a one-night event, strategically planned to be the night before “The Walking Dead” season four premiere. It has not been announced yet if they plan on bringing the event back next year, but when looking at their Facebook page, it is easy to see that many who went this year had an amazing time. Event goers do have to be 18 or older to register, unless they have permission from a parent or guardian. If you want to see pictures of the obstacle course you can visit www.TheWalkingDeadEscape.com, which also has links to its Facebook page and Twitter account.