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Cops wary of 'freelancing' zombies Next Sunday's parade instructions urge fake blood, staggering
By Chris Cassidy
STAFF WRITER


SALEM — The Web site calls for "hundreds of flesh-eating carcasses" to meet up and "flood the city" before heading to a downtown bar for an "after-walk zombie feeding frenzy."
A large crowd dressed as zombies is planning to transform the downtown into a land of the living dead next Sunday as part of the first Salem zombie walk. The costumed zombies are planning to meet near Collins Cove, then stumble and parade their way to the Dodge Street Bar off Lafayette Street.
The zombie walk is a bizarre first — even for a city that sells its own fake costume blood and where psychic shops outnumber Dunkin' Donuts.
"It's really cool, man," said Ken Cmar, who's helping promote the event. "The funniest part afterwards is when everybody's done and at the bar, and there's a bar full of zombies drinking beer."
Police, however, have serious concerns.
They don't object to revelers dressing up as zombies, but claim the organizers haven't obtained all the proper permits and worry about the public safety threats if hundreds of people wander into traffic or clog downtown streets.
"If in fact there are a thousand people there and they suddenly decide they want to walk out into the street ... we have to have a plan in place to deal with public safety and traffic issues," said Salem police Capt. Brian Gilligan. "The chances go up exponentially that someone could get hit by a car."
Gilligan said the event organizer, Stephen Spillers, isn't cooperating with police and hasn't obtained a permit to hold what is essentially a parade through the downtown.
Spillers did not return phone messages seeking comment.
"We're not telling him he can't hold an event," Gilligan said. "We're telling him he needs to make arrangements to make the event safe. ... He has a responsibility to work something out with police."
Gilligan said Spillers could be charged if the event moves forward without the proper approvals.
"He'd be subject to arrest for violating the city ordinance," Gilligan said.
Organized zombie walks have been held in cities across the world and first started appearing about five or six years ago. Videos online show masses of costumed zombies sauntering through cities like Toronto, Sydney, London, Los Angeles and even Boston.
A zombie march in Pittsburgh captured a Guinness World Record by drawing 1,028 people last year.
The Web site of organizers of the Salem walk instruct participants how to dress up like zombies.
"Fake blood — a necessity," the site reads. "Especially dripping from your mouth, as you've just been eating brains and all. ... Walk like you are drunk. Stumble. Scuffle."
"It looks like it's going to be a lot of fun," said Kereth Cowe-Spigai, the manager of CinemaSalem, which will screen a zombie movie written by a Salem State College professor after the zombie walk. "It's about time we had a zombie walk in Salem."
Cmar, meanwhile, said a second event, a zombie invasion, is being planned for the day after Halloween, where crowds of about 20 people will start in five or six separate locations, then meet at CinemaSalem to watch the zombie movie.
"I'm in Boston; we're going to start promoting it down here," Cmar said. "This could really be quite a scene on Saturday (Nov. 1)."
Cmar said the zombie walk next weekend will be low-key; Gilligan said it was tough to figure out how many might show up.
"Get the proper permits and communicate to us about public safety," Gilligan said. "That's all we're asking for. There are too many events going on in October to have people out there freelancing."
Staff writer Chris Cassidy can be reached at [email protected] news.com.
 

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Zombie Hunter
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This event sounds like a good warmup for the real thing! I'll be there with my AR and couple thousand rounds! They don't call me "Zombie Hunter" for nothing!
 

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It's a warm up for all the zombies that will be created from the carnage of dead Flaggers and drivers.
 

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That looks like it would be interesting. I would like to see it all done the proper way so it would continue in future years. That would be something that my son would love to watch.
 
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This event sounds like a good warmup for the real thing! I'll be there with my AR and couple thousand rounds! They don't call me "Zombie Hunter" for nothing!
hahah... My son and I are working on our Zombie escape plan this weekend. Everyone should have one!
 
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