Zombified students walk around campus

Elizabethtown senior Andrew Crum (left) and Staten Island senior Allison Call walk along Normal Drive during the inaugural Zombie-Walk event, hosted by the Housing and Residence Life, Tuesday, March 31. It consisted of a one-mile walk around campus followed by snacks and a costume contest. WKU HRL hosted a Zombie Walk around the southern end of campus. About 50 people attended, many in costume. Leanora Benkato/HERALD

Madison Martin

On the eve of April 1st, some ghoulish figures began to congregate at Centennial Mall for WKU’s first Zombie Walk.

As the sun set, students started lining up at 6:30 p.m. to have their faces painted, sponsored by the Theatre and Dance department. Others showed up already costumed for the ensuing roam around campus.

As the ghastly pack enjoyed each other’s unsightly company, tracks like “Thriller,” “Monster Mash” and “Somebody’s Watching Me” pumped through the spring air. 

Resident assistant and Franklin junior Adam Byrd said the event, a part of Housing and Residence Life’s Geek Week, had been planned for earlier in the year but kept being put off because of the snow week and spring break.

Although the Zombie Walk was something they went over in staff meetings, Byrd was there because he wanted to be.

“I like face painting and just the standing out and looking awesome,” he said.

Paintsville junior Chesi Spriggs did her elaborate makeup beforehand after hearing about the event through email. 

“I am an avid horror movie (fan),” she said, citing her interests in The Walking Dead and special-effects makeup. “So this was a perfect chance to get to do that.”

The walk began at 7:15 p.m., which was intentional because the sun was to set at 7:20 p.m. that night. 

“We want there to be enough sunlight where it wouldn’t be a huge risk to students participating, but dark enough that it’s still fun,” Blair Jensen, assistant director for HRL, said. 

Students were able to swipe their IDs as well as receive green glow sticks to differentiate themselves from the rest of campus. They then walked down Avenue of Champions, wrapping around University Boulevard, and coming back to meet again at Centennial Mall. There they were greeted with zombie-themed snacks like red-blood punch and organ-shaped candy.

Students weren’t the only ones participating in the event. Craig Taylor, professor emeritus for sociology, said the event combined his son’s passions with his own interests.

“My specialty in graduate school was deviant behavior,” he said. “It’s a fascinating movement, and I just want to be around it. It’s really vital and vibrant and it’s what’s happening.”

Taylor’s face was covered in tones of gray and sickly green. To accomplish the look, he spent 45 minutes applying liquid latex, grease paint and Kleenex in layers for texture. He said his late wife taught stage makeup in addition to other theater courses. 

“We were in theater all the time, and so I’ve always been doing this kind of thing, so whenever the opportunity comes to get in and be a part of it, I do it.” 

Jensen said that Geek Week arose after an overwhelming interest in the first Comic Book Ball they hosted for students last year.

“It was more successful than we thought it was going to be, and we had a much bigger crowd than we were anticipating,” she said. “We wanted to expand that in more offerings, so that’s how we came up with the whole week of events.” 

Like others attending the event, Taylor said the offerings piqued his curiosity.

“I want to see how far out people go, in terms of dressing up and so forth,” he said. 

Jensen hoped that this could become a tradition along with the Comic Book Ball, which is being held Thursday, April 2 in the Downing Student Union Nite Class. Louisville is known for their annual Zombie Attack walk that draws thousands of people to roam every year.

“This is kind of an extension of that. This is WKU’s version,” Jensen said.