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Zombie walk takes Sebastopol by storm

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 | Posted by

Shiloh Macheras lumbers along through downtown Sebastopol as part of the Zombie Walk organized by Copperfield’s Books on Sunday, October 28, 2012.
BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat


Before terrorizing downtown Sebastopol three days before Halloween with a slow parade of all-in-fun horror, about 25 zombie children and adults had to practice.

“We’re going to warm up with our moaning and lumbering,” called out Vicki DeArmon, marketing director for Copperfield’s Books, which sponsors the annual zombie walk.

“Hello,” DeArmon said to the group, gathered at the bookstore Sunday morning.

“Uhhhuhhnnnnnnnn,” loudly responded the veteran and newbie zombies.

Then there were the zombie walk rules.

“Don’t touch anything. Not people or cars,” DeArmon told them. “No terrorizing small children. Obey traffic signals. No speaking, only groaning.”

“Uhhmmmmhhuuhh,” they responded.

They were almost ready.

“Let’s see some lumbering,” she directed.

The group began some staggering, leg dragging and arm flailing and reaching. The really good ones added a vacant look to their eyes.

“Very nice,” DeArmon said with approval.

(See more photos of the zombie walk)

The group was mostly dressed in tattered clothing covered in streaks of red. Faces were dead-ish white with darkened eyes and hair was stringy or teased-out.

DeArmon led them out of the store and began her role as parade leader and fear monger.

“Run for your lives, Sebastopol!” she yelled repeatedly, warning of the slow-moving, oncoming undead.

The brief walk’s highlight is passing through the crowded farmers market in the nearby downtown square.

Other than making at least one small child cry, the zombies generated huge smiles and good-natured ribbing.

“You guys need coffee,” yelled out one man as they plodded by.

First-time zombie Shiloh Macheras of Santa Rosa had a pasty face and wore mechanic’s coveralls with the name “Bruno” on the chest.

Macheras said he got some inspiration from the hit television show “Walking Dead,” featuring, obviously, zombies. Pulling from his zombie research, he walked up to a few light poles and appeared incapable of being able to get around them.

“I see how they get stuck in spots,” Macheras explained.

The walk ended back at the bookstore, where the zombies participated in moaning, lumbering and trivia competitions.

“Lumbering is more exhausting then you might think,” said first-timer Ilen Zazueta-Hall of Sebastopol at the end of the walk.

Zombies have been trending big in the past several years, pushing vampires down the list as favored scary creatures of the night. Typically depicted as mindless undead, they tend to stumble around with the goal of cannibalizing human brains and entrails.

Yet people seem to love them. Annual zombie walks and crawls draw thousands of participants in Seattle, Denver and Portland.

Capitalizing on the interest in zombie-themed books, Copperfield’s employees started the walks four years ago at their stores in Sebastopol and Petaluma. Saturday’s Petaluma event drew about 60 zombies, including about 30 children, DeArmon said.

Veteran zombie family Greg and Jennifer Espinoza and kids Jake, 15, and Geena, 12, of Santa Rosa came to Sebastopol on Sunday. It was their third year.

The parents were Hawaiian tourist zombies, with a green tinge to their skin and dried-up leis around their necks.

She wore a colorful dress and flip-flops, and he donned a straw hat, shirt, shorts and black socks with his sandals.

“It doesn’t take much practice,” said Greg Espinoza. “A little lurching and moaning and you do just fine.

“And you have to keep the smile off your face.”

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or randi.rossmann@pressdemocrat.com.

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Andrea Granahan is our West County correspondent.
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