Saturday Oct. 8 the Benson area will be swarmed with hordes of moaning, living dead for the ninth annual year.
Omaha Zombie Walk is an annual event in which any one is able to take a break from the day-to-day life of the living and take up the chance to become a zombie for an afternoon. While adorned in fake blood and gore, participants make an eight block trek through the streets of Benson.
Makeup artists, costumes and the zombie acting ability of volunteers bring this yearly walk to fruition.
“Zombies will literally take over every aspect of Benson on the day of,” Jen James, an organizer for the walk, said.
There are three roles that are played at the walk each year: zombies, victims and zombie hunters.
The zombies are what the vast amount of volunteers take part in. After having their makeup applied at the Waiting Room Lounge they take to the streets at 6 p.m.
The victims are marked with big “X’s” on their backs. These participants carry bags of fake blood to explode on themselves when they’re “attacked.”
Finally the Zombie Brigade is the group composed of army-looking volunteers armed with nerf guns and a Jeep. Their duty is to combat the relentless undead army slowly sweeping through the streets.
Following the walk will be a Zombie Ball at the Waiting Room with live performances and costume contests for zombie participants. The event will be available for all ages and is family friendly.
James expressed the growing popularity of the annual event through the sheer amount of people in attendance each year. The first walk began with around 170 zombies and has grown to 3,500 as of last year’s event.
Omaha Zombie Walk gained national attention in 2008 when CNN had coverage on the event. Since then the walk has been growing nearly every year.
Despite the gruesome appearance of the ghouls marching through the streets the organizers encourage people of all ages to come down to watch. James assures that the zombies aren’t permitted to harass spectators and are limited to moans and phrases such as “brains.”
Those seeking to participate can meet at the Waiting Room Lounge and the Pizza Shoppe in Benson between 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. For a $4 donation participants can get a zombie makeover from the make-up artist volunteers.
“It’s all for a good cause,” James said. “This will be our ninth year of donating to the Siena Francis House.”
All profits from the event are donated to the Siena Francis House, Nebraska’s largest shelter for those in need of a place to stay. The donations are used to help keep the shelter’s programs that provide food, clothing and addiction recovery programs operational.
Due to the charitable nature of the event, anyone interested in volunteering is encouraged to contact the organizers. Information can be found on Omaha Zombie Walk’s Facebook page.