What is a Zombie Walk?

Definition of Zombie Walk

Zombies Lurch Forward
Zombies Lurch Forward. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Zombie Walk Definition

A zombie walk is a group of people dressed as zombies who walk a predetermined route. These events can be flash mobs organized via internet and text messaging. Zombie walkers try to maintain zombie-like behavior such as shuffling, grunting and moaning.

  • Also Known As: zombie mob, zombie march, zombie shuffle, zombie pub crawl, zombie run, zombie-survivor run
  • Alternate Spellings: zombiewalk

Zombie walks may be held at any time during the year, although they are most common in October or early November around Halloween and the Day of the Dead. They are often held in urban centers and shopping malls to draw the most attention. They can be informal, with participants simply showing up to join in. Or they may require registration, signing a liability waiver, adhering to rules, or paying a fee to support the event. Organized zombie walks are more likely to provide amenities such as drinks, snacks, restrooms and a party at the start and finish area. Cities and property owners may require permits and fees to host a zombie walk and may enforce pedestrian traffic laws for safety.

Some zombie walks are organized to benefit charities, especially for charities that feed the hungry. The event may encourage bringing canned food to donate to food banks.

That ties in well with the zombies' incessant hunger for human flesh and brains. After all, zombies must prefer well-nourished victims so it is to their own benefit to walk for hunger charities. Similarly, they may benefit a brain health charity, such as the Brisbane Zombie Walk that benefits the Brain Foundation.

A zombie walk may be held in coordination with the annual Thrill the World dance, recreating Michael Jackson's Thriller video, which features zombies and other occult creatures.

Zombie Runs and Zombie and Survivor Races

Although the zombie genre now includes fast zombies, the idea of running zombies didn't fit in with the original depiction of a slow, lurching zombie. But zombie runs are now held, especially as obstacle course or mud runs. In one variation of the zombie vs. survivor race, runners go through an obstacle course encountering zombies they must avoid getting tagged by and surmounting obstacles such as mud pits, logs to crawl over or go under, etc. These may be elimination races with runners being tagged out if they can't escape the zombies.

How to Find a Zombie Walk

You can use our Walk Finder links to search for organized events in your area. You will have the most success in searching for October events.

Death by Zombie: This site allows event organizers to enter their events and it shows upcoming and past events. That can be a good way to see what events might be repeated and find out how to contact the organizers if the current year is not posted.

Zombie Walk History

The earliest documented zombie walks were in the early 2000's. They became more widespread in North America in 2005 and grew in size as zombies gained popularity from movies such as 28 Days Later and television series such as The Walking Dead. The first Guinness-certified world record for a zombie walk was for 894 zombies at the 2006 Walk of the Dead at the Monroeville Mall near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Numbers have escalated to almost 10,000 in 2013 at Asbury Park, New Jersey.