As the dawn of another Zombie Pub Crawl approaches, it’s clear the boozy-and-bloody affair has practically become a Twin Cities institution. Last year’s ZPC in downtown Minneapolis broke a Guinness world record for largest gathering of zombies (15,458!).

Quite an accomplishment. Well, depending on whom you ask. Thousands of thirsty walkers are good for business. But that’s also a lot of fake blood, a lot of spilled beer and, all in all, just a lot of shenanigans.

“We’ve gone through the expected backlash cycle that anything goes through,” said co-organizer Chuck Terhark, who’s worked the event since Day 1. “I feel like zombies were a trend, but it’s more of a party at this point and less of a zombie event.”

Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. Let’s assess.


Questionable costumes: Zombie Jesus and zombie bride have been done to death, so to speak. Instead, opt for a timelier costume, aka the “too soon category,” as Terhark calls it. Spook your liberal friends as zombie Trump. There’s also the grave of recently deceased celebrities — live long and prosper (as a zombie), Leonard Nimoy.

The meaty grub: Beyond the competitive-eating contest (brain tacos, yum), zombies with grumbling guts can feast on food truck fare. Zombie Burgers, an Iowa-based eatery and first-timer to the crawl, is rolling across state borders to appease the “hangry” hordes. And there are limited-edition cans of Brain Belt (zombie-themed Grain Belt).

Pop star resurrection: When it comes to booking bands, ZPC is all about reanimating the dead (or at least, the forgotten). This year, you don’t need to visit YouTube to crank dat with your clique. You don’t need to unravel the boy band posters in your closet to fawn over a certain heartthrob. Instead, go see live performances by Soulja Boy, Aaron Carter, Sum 41, Mickey Avalon and other ghosts of music’s past.


Gutsy intruders: Last year, an unwelcome “zombie Santa” made headlines when, post-crawl, he stumbled into a St. Paul home, alarming two teenagers. “We were joking about that guy and trying to make him the grand marshal” this year, Terhark said. St. Nick-or-treat wasn’t into it.

The day-after gore: OK, nobody likes to wake up on Sunday morning to Saturday night’s mess. Especially when it’s, um, indistinguishable. Especially when that heap of grotesqueness on the sidewalk might be fake blood, vomit or garbage — or a mixture of it all. Terhark said a cleanup crew starts patrolling the crawl’s downtown grounds starting at 1 a.m.

The too rowdy dead: Play nice, zombies. It’s spine-tingling enough for folks to watch mobs of undead haul from stage to stage and then for those blessed souls who sop up their remnants. One past attendee, Noah Julin, who may return this year, recalled a fight that broke out last year over a smashed bottle onstage. Otherwise, “everyone was having a good time,” he said. Can’t we just be friendly ghosts?