Zombie Pub Crawl IV 10/20/2012 Columbus, OH

 

The Midwest Haunters Convention, HighBall Halloween, & Columbus Zombie Walk are all huge events which get a lot of publicity.  However, this evening I’m going to share with you a lesser known event which should be right up the alley of any self-respecting Halloween, Horror, or Zombie Fan.

On Saturday October 20th, an undead horde will converge on the Short North district for the Columbus Zombie Pub Crawl IV.  This motley crew will shamble from bar to bar, having a grand time in the process.  Best of all, all of this takes place a good week before most of the other Halloween type events occur.

I joined this band of the walking dead last year and had a wonderful time.  Now, it may come as no surprise to you that I’m always on the lookout for an excuse to “get my spooky on”.  However, there were certain things about this event which made it extra nice.

First and foremost were the people. I didn’t know a soul (and don’t even live in Columbus) but I was never without someone to talk to for the whole night.  You’d be hard pressed to find a more welcoming group of dead people.

The other fun part about the evening was watching the reaction of all the “normal” people as a throng of zombies suddenly appeared in their favorite watering hole.  I wish I had a dollar for every person who I heard say “Oh, I wish I’d known about this.  I would have put on a costume”

Well, now YOU have heard about it.  If this sounds like your cup of tea, come on out and join in the fun.

Don’t know anybody else who’s going?  Like I said, that’s no problem.  Just put on your “dead face” and show up.  You’ll be rubbing elbows with other zombies before you finish your first drink.

The Facebook page for the event is here and you can follow on Twitter @cbuszombiepub.

Thanks for stopping by.  If you think you might attend or have any questions, please leave a comment below.

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Michigan City Zombie Walk 7/27/2012 (Michigan City, IN)

The first annual Michigan City Zombie Walk will be held on Friday July 27, 2012 at Washington Park, in Michigan City, IN.

Zombies are encouraged to congregate at the JC stage in Washington Park at 5pm.  A number of zombie friendly bands will be performing from 5pm-10pm and the walk itself will begin at 6pm.

Following the walk, adult zombies will head over to Ryan’s Irish Pub for an undead after-party with more live bands from 10pm-2am.

In addition to the walk itself, the organizers will be holding a costume contest and dance contest throughout the evening.

The event is free of charge, though everyone is encouraged to please bring along some non-perishable food items for donation to the Northern Indiana Food Bank.

More information may be found on the Facebook page for the Michigan City Zombie Walk.

My visit to HorrorHound Weekend Columbus, OH 2012

     For years now, I would get excited at the approach of Halloween.  As October would arrive, I would tune up my stilts and prepare for the fun that was to come.  Finally, during Halloween week I would pick up a few gigs and have the time of my life.  However, without fail, November 1st would leave me feeling sad that it was all over and that it was again time to say goodbye to my big, green alter-ego.

     This past year I decided that something needed to be done about this.  At 42 years of age, the years were going by too fast.  I realized that my days of tramping around as a 9′ tall monster were numbered.  I decided to search out new events throughout the year where I could “suit-up”.

     Zombie walks were my first discovery and my brushes with them thus far have yielded nothing but joy.  During the couple I managed to take part in last year, I not only had a blast but also met many wonderful people…err, zombies.

     Rolling out of the holiday season, I began to feel the itch for another event.  Perhaps I could find a spring zombie walk or even a “halfway to Halloween” party.  Well, my search ended upon reading a post on the Terror from Beyond the Daves blog.  For those of you who may not be aware, the “Daves” write a lovingly crafted blog which pays homage to horror movie hosts and all things relevant to the genre.

     At any rate, they had written a post about the upcoming HorrorHound Weekend convention in Columbus, OH.  With celebrity guests, vendors, movie screenings, and guest panels, this sounded like it would be right up my alley.  I immediately started making preparations.

     The event was held at the Crowne Plaza Columbus North in Columbus, OH.  I arrived in town on Friday evening and it was immediately apparent that I was in the midst of “my kind of folks”.  I checked in, made my way to my room, and suited-up.  Before you could say “trick-or-treat”, my monster was in the thick of things.

A chilling bride

     While this was my first horror convention, there was a very familiar feeling about it.  It’s hard to explain but I guess it’s a shared experience thing.  It was not unlike the feeling that I would have while hanging out with the crew from a haunted attraction or sitting around chatting with a bunch of home haunters.  You take this big bunch of people, from all different age ranges and walks of life, and because of a shared interest, there’s just an electricity in the air.

Ben from Fright-Rags

     There were a fair number of costumed folks around and I must say that the vast majority of them were absolutely fabulous.  Heavens, some of the make-up was just amazing.  I felt a bit like a girl who’d worn a burlap bag to the prom.  Nonetheless, I didn’t get the feeling that anyone was looking down on me.  Quite to the contrary, folks were coming up to introduce themselves and take pictures left and right.

     In the dealer’s room, I was able to meet Ben Scrivens from Fright-Rags.com (an amazing horror t-shirt company from my hometown of Rochester, NY).  I also bumped into Marlena Midnite & Robyn Graves, the hosts of Midnite Mausoleum.

The gals from Midnite Mausoleum

     I caught glimpses of or literally bumped into a number of the celebrity guests during the evening but there was one in particular who I was dying to meet.  You see, I met Cassandra Peterson (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark) years ago in Massachusetts.  However, I didn’t have my monster with me at the time and I’d always hoped to get a picture of her with the monster.  Well, I managed to check that one off the list.  Let me just say, that at 61, she’s just as lovely as ever (and still quite quick with the one-liners).

Cassandra Peterson, aka Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

     Much of the rest of the evening was spent drinking and mingling with other convention-goers.  What a friendly and easy-going bunch of folks.  I swear you could walk right up and talk to just about anyone without it being the slightest bit awkward.

     It was during this later part of the evening that I was able to cross paths with and grab a picture with the “Daves”, who had been responsible for me learning of the event in the first place.

The "Daves" from "Terror From Beyond The Daves"

     On Saturday, I went in on foot and did a bit of shopping.  The venue, was considerably more busy (due in large part to the throng of people waiting in line to meet Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead).  Despite this, folks were still quite friendly and in good spirits.

     While I could have easily spent the night and all of the following day, I decided to hold off and get back home.  Again, I’m really feeling the desire to tinker with my costume and come up with something truly fantastic.  It’s simply not built for these types of appearances.  I will have to see what I can come up with so I can be ready for next time.

     Thank you so much for reading about my adventures.  If you happened to be at the show or have any questions or comments, please leave me a note below.  I’ll leave you with a couple more pictures.  If you care to see all of my shots, you can find them here.

Into the laboratory

With the holidays and the bulk of the winter behind me, I’ve decided that it’s time to head down into the laboratory and start working on my monsters.

Zombie Walk Columbus 2012 is just over 2 months away and there will likely be other zombie walks or “halfway to Halloween” parties which pop-up as well.

My challenge this year is to make a new “friend” for my Frankenstein’s monster costume.  Ideally, I’m looking to design something which will blend more easily with non-Halloween events.

At the moment, I have two particular ideas which are striking my fancy.  I’m hoping that some of you folks will lend me your input as to what you think would be best.

Before starting this process, I determined certain criteria which would guide me in my creations.  First, being a stilt-walker and thoroughly enjoying interacting with folks while wearing stilts, I knew that I would have to incorporate the stilts into the costume.

Despite wearing the stilts and being roughly 9′ tall in them, I also have to make certain that whatever I come up with will allow me to have all of the mobility and functionality of a normal person.  I’ve seen many stilt suits over the years which were more like “constructs” than costumes.  That won’t work for me.

If I encounter stairs, I need to be able to climb them.  If I want a beer, I need to be able to drink it.  Lastly, if I want to dance, I need to be able to dance.  All of this has to be accomplished without having to remove any of the suit.

I also need to focus on looking good in the broad daylight.  My Frankenstein’s monster suit looks fantastic in a dark bar or sauntering down the street at 10pm.  However, it loses some of its mystique on a sunny afternoon.

With these thoughts in mind, I’ll get on to my ideas.

***

Zombie Uncle Sam

I’ve been toying with this idea for some time.  I’ve not been able to find any precedent for a stilt-walking zombie.  However, there is a fairly common theme of zombies retaining certain abilities and human traits even after they’ve been turned.

At the same time, Uncle Sam on stilts is arguably the most iconic stilt-walking costume.  As a matter of fact, it’s rare for me to tell someone I’m a stilt-walker without them immediately asking, “do you dress up as Uncle Sam?”

Therefore, I suppose it’s not too far of a stretch to say that his poor fellow was out doing his  Uncle Sam routine, just as the zombie outbreak occurred.  He’s infected and when he turns, he just ends up shambling along on his stilts, much like “regular” zombies retain the ability to walk on their feet.

While not a stilt-walking Uncle Sam, there is also the fact that in 1996, there was an Uncle Sam zombie movie.  While B-grade (even by zombie movie standards), I suspect that there are some diehards out there who will appreciate the connection.

The only minor drawback to this idea is the fact that Uncle Sam’s hat is traditionally rather tall.  Extra height will only make it a bit more challenging to get in and out of buildings.

***

Robot/Mechanized Suit

I’ve noticed that it’s quite common for folks at zombie walks to not only dress up as the living dead but also as police & military members who have come to fight off the waves of zombies.

An acquaintance of mine and fellow stilter portrays Iron Techtron.  This fantastic costume is part robot and part Hokie-bird (the mascot for Virginia Tech).  I’ve been following him for years and he really puts on quite a show.

This got me thinking.  If there were to be a zombie outbreak and the infection spread slowly enough, wouldn’t it be feasible to create a robot or mechanized suit to help fight off the zombie menace?

Zombies wouldn’t have any natural attraction to a hunk of moving metal so a mechanized unit could walk among them unmolested.  This would facilitate recon and assault.

 ***

Well, that’s what I’m looking at.  What do you folks think?  In your opinion, which direction do you think I should take?  Please leave a comment below.  I’d appreciate any input that you care to give.  Thank you for reading.

Zombie Walk Columbus 2012 (UPDATED)

Zombie Walk Columbus 2012 will take place in Columbus, OH on Saturday May 12th.  The event will be started at Goodale Park.

Since I’ve received a number of questions regarding the event, I wanted to pass along as much information as I can.  However, please be aware that I am in no way affiliated with the event.  For the most up to date and reliable information, check out the official Zombie Walk Columbus 2012 Facebook Page.

There is no cost to take part in the walk and it is not necessary to register.  However, organizers are requesting that folks bring at least 2 canned food items for donation.  All proceeds from the event will go to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  (Canned goods may also be dropped off at Rendezvous Hair & Evolved BodyArt).

Need a little help getting “zombified”?  Rendezvous Hair will have 5 professional special FX makeup artists on hand for the day of the event.  Stop in from 10am-3pm and get an undead makeover.  No appointment necessary.  Prices start at $10.

I will be on hand, either in my monster suit (“monsters supporting zombies”) or my new “Biohazard Recon Scout” armor.  Either way, if you happen to see me, please introduce yourself.  I love making new zombie friends.

Have a Twitter account and a smart phone?  You can follow me at @monsterforrent.  I will be arriving on scene early and will be tweeting as much information as I can regarding parking, weather, and anything else which may be of use.

I will continue to post updates as I see them.  However, I would encourage anyone interested in the event to forward their questions to the Official Zombie Walk Columbus 2012 Facebook page.

The party is over

Well, it’s November and the party is over.  Along my walk to work today, I passed trampled candy corn and soggy jack-o-lanterns.  It happens every year.  Weeks of build-up, lead to a frenzied week or two of activity, and then WHOOSH, it’s gone.

My friends over at Costume Hub wrote a great post today about How To Handle Post Halloween Depression and I’ve seen quite a number of other bloggers who are singing the “I miss Halloween” blues.

I won’t go as far as to say I’m depressed.  I mean sure, I’m a guy who loves to dress up like a giant monster, but I like to think I’ve got a bit more to my life than my big, green friend.  Halloween is simply a great escape for me.  Like reading a good book, it allows me to step out of myself briefly and be a kid again.

I suspect it’s that very escape which attracts so many adults to Halloween festivities.  So, if you happen to be feeling a bit blue, following your annual dose of Halloween fun, have no fear.

Remember how quickly Halloween came after you saw the first candy displays back in September?  Well, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, & Christmas will be upon you before you know it.  While the “big” holidays don’t offer up the opportunity to dress up in crazy costumes (unless you feel like giving Santa a whirl), they certainly tend to bring out the kid in all of us.

New Year’s follows right behind.  Again, maybe not a big costume holiday but think about this….wearing the perfect outfit for a big New Year’s Eve party can be just as freeing as wearing a great Halloween costume.  Get your butt out there, find a killer suit or dress and really let your hair down this year.

February brings Valentine’s Day.  If you’re part of a couple, perhaps consider how long it’s been since you’ve really gone all out for your SO.  For single folks in need of a spark, why not consider simply taking a chance that you wouldn’t normally take.  Whether it be finally asking out that person you’ve had the secret crush on or simply paying a compliment to a perfect stranger, you’d be surprised at how good it can feel to just go for it.  Remember, confidence is sexy!

St. Patrick’s Day not only offers a hell of a party but puts you quite close to the Spring thaw.

Now I know some of you are probably saying “Hey Monster, what is this nonsense?  We come to this blog because we like Halloween!”.  Fair enough, I hear you.

If you Halloween folks can just last until Spring, you’ll be all set.  If you’re really hurting for Halloween, fire up the Google searches.  Most large metropolitan areas now have “Halfway to Halloween” bashes.  Mix these up with the emergence of Zombie walks and pub crawls and you should be able to make it to summer.

Amid vacations, pools and barbecues, you have some very important work to do.  This is the time when you want to be deciding on what you’ll be for Halloween 2012.  If you get everything figured out early enough, then you’ll have no regrets once the Halloween season is finally upon you.

Well folks, that’s all I’ve got for you.  Hope it is of some help.

I want to just take a moment to thank my readers.  I broke 4,000 hits last night and it was quite exciting for me.  I realize it’s a relatively minor milestone in the blogging world but I got quite a kick out of it.

Your comments, stories, and insights have provided me with a great deal of fun over the past couple months.  I appreciate it.

In the days to come, I’ll continue to post about my monster.  In addition, I’ve enjoyed this little experiment so much that I’ll also be starting a non-Halloween blog.  If any of you are curious as to the day-to-day adventures of the man behind the mask, I’d be glad to have you along.

Columbus Zombie Pub Crawl

This past Saturday, I got a little jump on my Halloween activities.  Following some early evening haunting, I joined a great bunch of folks for the Columbus Zombie Pub Crawl.

A shambling horde of zombies descended upon the Short North district of Columbus, OH.  From all appearances, a good time was had by all.

I met some really friendly zombies and had a great time!  My only regret is that between the noise level and being 9′ tall, I wasn’t able to visit with everyone as much as I would have liked.  After all, a bunch of people willing to dress up and party like the living dead are my kind of folks.

Chances are good that my travels will bring me back to Columbus for Halloween week.  I hope to cross paths with some of these fun zombies again.  If you were part of the pub crawl and are planning to take in any events for Halloween, drop me a line and I’ll keep an eye out for ya.  Happy Halloween!

Massillon Zombie Walk 10/15/11 (Massillon, OH)

A schedule has been set for an evening of frightening fun for the whole family on Saturday, Oct. 15.

The annual Massillon Zombie Walk, held by the Ananda Center, will begin at 6 p.m. at Duncan Plaza, where all zombies will perform the “Thriller” dance. They will then trounce through downtown Massillon for the Zombie Walk.

The Thirteenth Floor gallery has also organized a “Trick or Treat” for the kids during the Zombie Walk with many of the local businesses downtown. Look for the “Trick or Treat Stop” signs in the windows of participating shops.

After the walk, participants can partake in the annual Gravediggers Ball7! festivities at the Thirteenth Floor, 28 Charles Ave. SE. The Gravediggers Ball will feature the following:

– Pinata pumpkin patch!

– Beer garden! with food served by Smiley’s

– Featured artist: Shock Studios

– Build-A-Monster workshop with John Pinkerton

– Live performances from StoneSlinger and Steve Trent

– Fire breathers! Thirteenth Floor welcomes back the ladies of Discordia.

– Psychic readings by Debra Robinson

– Massillon Ghost Hunters will have a booth set up to share their research on the paranormal.

– A surprise featured film to be shown at 11:30 p.m.

– MC for the event is Ryan Shane Lynn

Other events taking place throughout the night:

6:45 p.m. –  Scary Snack Workshop at the Massillon Public Library

7:30 p.m. –  Thriller Dance, Massillon Public Library

10 p.m. – Thriller Dance, Lions Lincoln Theater. Night of the Living Dead movie showing immediately after ($3 admission).

The Sockapocalypse is upon us!!!

         I mentioned this briefly on Twitter the other day but I decided to throw it out there to you folks as well.  While at the Lorain County Food Drive & Zombie Walk on Saturday, I came across something really neat….Sockapocalypse!!!

     We’re all familiar with old-time “sock monkeys”.  Well, Sockapocalypse creates “agorable” (adorably gory) sock zombies!  Whether you have a demented child or it’s just for the demented little child living inside you screaming and trying to claw its way out, these sock monkeys can be custom-made to suit any taste. 

     The creator is a big Halloween lover herself.  Here’s what she had to say:

“I started the sock monkeys in order to get my sister to take her daughter on a zombie walk with me. I had been searching the internet looking for “zombie dolls” and stumbled upon creepy sock monkeys. I ordered some, spent more than I could afford, and when they came in the mail I was extremely disappointed with the quality of the workmanship. My son tore his apart in less than a half hour. So being a crafty person and not wanting to disappoint two 2-year-year olds I set to work at my sewing machine.”

“For me it’s fun to make the monkeys. It’s a challenge to find new ways to make them “agorable” (adorably gory). I want each one to be different and special. To me they each have their own unique personalities. I have even started dreaming about them, and what to make next. For me it’s really important that they can withstand being played with. I make each one capable of withstanding my son, ‘Captain Destructo.’ These monkeys are made to be loved, or abused as you see fit.”

“Halloween has always been huge in my family. My grandmother’s a twin born on Halloween so maybe that played into the love over the years. I really enjoy getting to do it all over again with my son, and better now than it ever was when I was a kid. It’s so much more than candy; it’s planning together, making together, and just being together as a family.” 

     Gotta love a story like that and these little guys are damn cute.  At any rate, I just had to pass along this find.  I’m sure that the Sockapocalypse will spread quickly.

Lorain County Food Drive and Zombie Walk

    

     The dead roamed the streets yesterday in northern Ohio.  The Lorain County Food Drive and Zombie Walk was held in Amherst, Ohio and from what I could see, it was a huge success.

     As a big Halloween fan, I’ve been dying to take part in a zombie walk, since the trend began a few years back.  I was a bit concerned, due to the fact that Frankenstein’s monster isn’t a zombie himself.  However, the zombies were incredibly friendly and allowed me to join their ranks for the day.

     Amherst is a pretty small town but they had an amazing turnout for the event (haven’t seen a final count yet but I’m guessing it to be in the hundreds).  Staged at the Church St. Bar & Grille, the organizers obviously did a wonderful job.

     Arriving on the scene about an hour early, there were already zombies milling about everywhere.  The bar was ground zero, with the Lifeshare Bloodmobile and a smattering of vendors set up across the street.

     Nearly constant raffles were held so it sounds like a lot of people got themselves some nice little treats.

     Make-up artist were on hand for those who didn’t come in costume.  These folks were doing amazing work too, not just slapping it on.  There were some seriously creepy looking zombies rolling out of there.

     The walk itself was quite orderly.  Local residents and merchants seemed to be well-aware of the event.  I didn’t see too many shocked faces, which is probably a good thing.  The route ran from the Church Street Bar & Grille, through town and back.  I’d guess that it was around a mile or two. 

     I managed the distance without getting terribly hot in the suit.  Now I’m seriously considering doing the Fright Night 5k in Columbus this Halloween.

     Probably the biggest surprise of the day was the crowd.  Wow!  It was an incredibly diverse group of people.  You’d be hard pressed to find a greater mix of people at the mall. 

     In truth, there was an outbreak in Amherst yesterday.  It was an outbreak of smiles. Seriously, everybody in the damn town was smiling from ear to ear.  Even the few who were not in costume caught the infection.  I couldn’t help thinking, on my long drive home, that perhaps the country should have a mandatory zombie day.  If yesterday was any indication, it would do us all some good.

     All in all, it seemed like a fantastic success.  I’m guessing that this might become an annual event.  If so, the town and merchants of Amherst should really get behind it and support these folks.  These types of events are rare gems!

     As always, thank you for reading.  If you’ve enjoyed these pictures, you can see the rest of my pictures from the event on my Facebook page here:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.245860568784985.52749.141861909184852 

     Have you ever had a zombie walk in your community?  Did you attend the Zombie Walk yesterday?  If so, please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear from you.