Day of the walking dead


Courtesy Angie Schoch (The Inquirer/2010)

The warm spring sun and cool breeze made it an ideal Sunday to go to First Street in Benicia and toss around a Frisbee at the park, walk the dog or eat out at one of the many restaurants overlooking the bay.

But an odd assortment of individuals shambling down the street interrupted this pleasant afternoon. Their skin was deathly pale, their clothes filthy and torn, maggots crawling and squirming across their gruesome, bleeding wounds. Their movement was stilted, as if their motor skills had rotted away.

As curious onlookers pointed and stared, the macabre band of living dead opened their mouths, groaning and shouting for brains while reaching for those who wandered too close.

No, this is not the zombie apocalypse, but a bunch of kids getting together to have some fun.

I joined their ranks April 18, wearing my Sunday best: a (fake) blood-splattered checkered shirt and white tank top.

Although there were no real zombies to properly initiate me, the people there applied a sticky, Elmer’s glue-like substance to my chest and face, let it dry and then dabbed it with a sponge soaked in fake blood. To create the illusion of maggots, they slapped a handful of dried rice on the still-wet glue. Then, to top it off, they air brushed the skin black and white.

Once our ghastly crew was dressed up, we set out to terrorize First Street.

During our walk, a girl approached to ask, “Why in the world would you do this?”

Good question.

Why do people of sound mind and body dress up and act like zombies?

Could it be the urge to face the fear of losing one’s individuality, the desire to be a child again, or is it the act of embracing one’s inner geek?

As one zombie simply put it, “Because it’s awesome!”

Just like Halloween, there is a certain joy in putting on a costume and becoming someone, or something, you are not. You are liberated from the identity you wear on a regular basis and free to play with another realm of being.

Whatever your reasons, you can join this fun by going online and checking out Maybe there’s an undead horde congregating near you.


Contact David Matteri at [email protected]