The afternoon sun will slowly fall down, reflecting off the rolling back bleary eyes in the freshly severed head. At three post meridian a middle-aged woman will break this dreaded “nature morte,” tossing the head to the furiously happy drop-dead mob. This will be the start signal of an evil ritual which will make a swarm of walking dead stagger in the downtown core in a search of living flesh.
A zombie apocalypse will actually happen on Oct. 26 at 3 p.m.
More than 10,000 rotting corpses will gather for The Toronto Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade at Nathan Phillips Square.
The ‘middle-aged’ scream queen Linnea Quigley, best known for her role in The Return of the Living Dead, will be responsible for its opening, judging the annual costume contest and signing autographs.
“Every year we have a special grand marshal,” said Thea Munster, founder and organizer of the walk. “Quigley will be throwing a severed head to start the walk. Return of the Living Dead really influenced me when I was young, it’s really a huge treat for me.”
Munster insists that she was the initial creator of the zombie walks, which grew from seven people gathering to a massive public event. “I am not mistaken, it was the first zombie walk. After it became a worldwide phenomenon there were tons of groups who came out of the woodwork, claiming they started the first one. The truth is there have been zombie gatherings, but the first gathering that was a free public event open to anyone and titled a zombie walk was in Toronto in 2003.”
Apart from regular zombies, the walk will officially open its doors to all kind of monsters and feature krewes like Loco Riders, The Ontario Ghostbusters and many more.
Munster specified “The truth is we always got a few monsters, some witches and werewolves. And zombies pride themselves to being inclusive. So we wanted to open it up to them and invite all monsters to walk with us. Monsters unite!”
Involvement of organizations such as Heart and Stroke Foundation and Green Peace proves high social importance of the event. Through the ‘CPR Makes You Undead‘ campaign they raise awareness on the importance of learning hands-only CPR.
“We are hoping to save some lives while pretending we are dead,” said Munster.
“But there will be other krewes in the parade with some other missions. For example, Greenpeace has a team going as nuke zombies. I am very excited that we can create a platform in which we can support our charity of choice but also allow others to bring their own voices and ideas to the actual walk and parade,” said Munster.
The parade will be lead by Canadian band Rambunctious with nine horns and three drummers, playing a funeral dirge. There will be also zombie marching band The Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School Drumline and hip-hop dance crew, some performing secondary schools and US horror punk-ska team The Independents.
Besides that, there is also some super great time at the walk: dances, costumes and fun stories. Munster laughingly remembering her previous Zombie Walk experience, “I still think the most nerve-wracking thing was when before we had permits we decided to end at Yonge and Dundas. When we got to the square there was a Mother’s Against Violence gathering. We were mortified. We didn’t want to offend anyone, but in a moment of quick thinking the DJ at the square out on Thriller. All of a sudden the zombies started dancing, the viewers’ faces went from stone cold to smiling and they started dancing too. It was really hilarious!”
“To the George Brown Students: may the earth stand still and time stop, so you won’t be too busy with your studies to come and join us!” Munster said in her dark farewells.
Visit The Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade on Oct.26 starting at noon.