Zombie Walk Handbook
What is a Zombie Walk?
A zombie walk is an organized public gathering of two or more people who dress up in zombie costumes and make up. Usually taking place in an urban centre, the participants make their way around the city streets and through shopping malls in a somewhat orderly fashion and often limping and gnawing their way towards a local cemetery (or movie theater).
During the event participants are encouraged to remain in character as zombies and to communicate only in a manner consistent with zombies (such as grunts, groans and slurred moans calling for “brains”.)The main objectives of your zombie walk are to 1) give the participants a fun, safe event and 2) to collect food for your local food bank.
If you would like to organize a zombie walk in your area, here are some guidelines*
Herding large groups of zombies is not a one-person job. Network with like-minded volunteers in your area who can be trusted to take your event seriously. The promoter/organizer of the event will be ultimately responsible for any misconduct or damaged property.
Decide on where and when you want your zombie walk to start and end because you're going to need permission regardless of whether its publicly or privately owned property. A zombie walk needs a safe route with as few street-crossings and obstacles as possible. Public parks have good potential for zombie walks. Other venues include parking lots, malls, and low-traffic business districts. It is safest to hold a zombie walk before dusk. Make sure your participants know what time to arrive and when the walk actually begins. In most cases, participating zombies should be able to drop off non-perishable food items at a designated site before the walk begins.
For private property (ex. a mall or shopping center), you'll probably have to enter into a contract with the owner. For public property, a permit will most likely be needed. In either case, it is strongly recommended that the event is insured. Many companies insure events, here's one with pretty good rates:http://www.kandkinsurance.com/Pages/Home.aspx . Notify your local food bank and see what kind of help they can offer (as your event should benefit them). Also, talk to your local police department: they can direct you through the right channels to obtain a permit and will be appreciative that you've alerted to them of your intentions. They should be especially helpful knowing that your event will benefit local food banks..
You will need money for promotion, insurance, incidentals, etc. This is where you'll have to get creative! Go to local businesses- preferably places with a single owner who you can interact with on a personal level. Sell your potential sponsor by reminding them that this a charity event that attracts a lot of participants and often gets attention from local media. Decide on what you're going to give your sponsor in exchange for their patronage. Suggested deliverables can include signage at the event, special mention in print, radio, web or television ads, complimentary exhibit space (ie. a booth at the event), name & logo included on any event merchandise, etc. Once again, get CREATIVE and ask your potential sponsor what you can do for them.
The simplest way to promote an event is word of mouth. Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace are great tools to plug your zombie walk. Using these sites can help you recruit volunteers to form a street team. Put together a flashy poster and have your street team cover the area with it. The flier artwork can also be your "eye-catching" picture on your social media event site- make the flier accessible to be printed via the web and encourage people to print and flier. You can always use some of your sponsor funds to pay for advertising as well. If possible, seek out a local tv personality (ie. a newscaster or even better, horror host!) and try to get them involved with the event. This would likely get you plenty of on-air mentions and a local celebrity to officiate your zombie walk.
Day of Event
Have your volunteers rallied and organized at least an hour before you expect your first zombie. There are many jobs for volunteers! These can include: food collection, registration table (we suggest printing out our registration form if you intend to count your participants and submitting the numbers to Guinness), crowd control, and clean-up following the event. You'll need somebody to "lead" the zombies, whether this is yourself or a local celebrity. We strongly suggest purchasing a bullhorn- use this or any other public address system to read the Zombie Rules of Conduct to your participants before the start of your walk.
It's a good idea to have your "leader" coach your zombies in the arts of shambling, moaning, and crying for brains before departing. Let them know that staying in character rather than laughing and taking pictures makes the event a more realistic reenactment of their favorite zombie films. Stress that they should be on their best behavior- this is a charity event and the local media is watching. During the walk, have volunteers monitoring zombie behavior. If a zombie is becoming too rowdy, use the bullhorn to keep them in check. When you reach your destination, have everyone pose for a photo, thank them, and politely tell them to disperse. Congratulations, you just organized a successful charity zombie walk!
Zombie walks can be messy. This is where your volunteers will show you how devoted to the cause they are: the clean up. Even if you don't plan on organizing another zombie walk, please clean up any fake blood, body parts, and miscellaneous debris left behind. Once again, you might save yourself some aggravation by reminding the zombies not to litter before you start the walk.
Thank everyone who volunteered, thank your sponsors in writing and let then know you will need them again next year. Thank everyone who helped. And thank you!
*Disclaimer: These are only guidelines. Local organizers are solely responsible for their events.