Zombie 101
September 4th, 2011
07:29 AM ET

So you wanna be a zombie

Suzanne Johnson, an IT consultant from Atlanta, decided she wanted to be a zombie.  Not an actual zombie, of course.  She showed no signs of wanting to consume the living, or that she considered brains a delicacy.  No, the fan of AMC's "Walking Dead," simply wanted to dress up as a zombie, and she wanted her costume to look good.

The idea sprouted while talking with coworkers and fellow fans of the show about what to wear while going to Dragon*Con.  One of her coworkers then suggested going to the Zombie Prom, an undead themed party held Friday night of the convention.

She purchased a wedding gown as the base of her costume stating, "It's okay to be a zombie prom queen, but a zombie bride trumps a zombie prom queen."

So Johnson showed up to the "Pimp My Zombie" panel at the convention where makeup artists provided tips and tricks of the trade to help the average citizen transform into one of the undead.

At the end of the panel, several artists offered to help attendees prefect their look.   Johnson was paired with Abby O'Leary of Plastown, New Hampshire.  O'Leary picked up the craft from friend and professional makeup artist Rob Fitz.  Fitz had done her makeup for the zombie prom last year, and seeing that she had been bit by the zombie bug, offered to teach her how it was done. 

O'Leary, who works in a call center by day says, "I love dripping blood down people!"

Zombie Walk

A zombie gnaws on some sweet human flesh during Dragon*Con's Zombie Walk

After they donned their synthetic rotted flesh and tattered duds, zombies of all stripes took a shambling stroll through the darkened streets of downtown Atlanta. Starting at the Westin hotel where the panel was hosted, the walk winded through four of the hotels comprising the convention, ending up where the annual Zombie Prom was being held.

The walk - or shamble, or stagger perhaps - went off without a hitch, even though the group was separated on the streets of Atlanta due to crosswalks at times ("Zombies obey traffic laws," as organizer of the event, Shannon Chesnut, pointed out), and made their way through the extremely crowded hotels.

Zombiefied versions of everything from "Harry Potter" characters to "Super Mario Bros.," "Where's Waldo," "Gilligan's Island" and "Scooby Doo" took part in the event. According to Chesnut, this was a much bigger turnout than they had expected.

Zombie cows take a break from the dance floor during the annual Zombie Prom

Zombie Prom

After the walk, the real fun began as zombies of all shapes and sizes took to the dance floor, generally reveling in being in a state of undead.

Of course, no prom would be complete without prom photos. There was a long line waiting to get photos taken, while at the same time a conga line was formed nearby.

Erik Peterson, a clinical pharmacist from Austin, Texas, was one of those who got a picture taken, and shared his theory as to the extraordinary popularity of zombies:

"It represents sort of a disconnect from society. A lot of people with dead-end jobs kinda feel like they don't have much unique about themselves, and the whole idea of zombies is an extension of that. It allows you to be just a little bit freer."

Another of the "undead," Martin Fox, traveled all the way from Bristol, England for his first Dragon*Con, and was enjoying himself at the prom. He was inspired by the AMC TV series "The Walking Dead."

"Zombies don't care," he said when asked to explain their popularity. "They're hungry, they eat people, and they're off."

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Filed under: Dragon*Con • Fandom
soundoff (27 Responses)
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    May 19, 2013 at 6:36 am |
  2. H6

    As someone who actually attended this event, can I just say....wow? Dragon*Con is awesome, the Zombie Walk and Zombie Prom were a ton of fun and if you don't like the idea of putting on a little stage blood, having some drinks and dancing the night away with your friends, then can't you just click the "back" button on your browser and move on with your life?

    September 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  3. ZombieGuy

    Carla, are you serious?? America is in DEBT due to helping out said starving and poor people all over the world. The American government spends more money and time helping others around the world rather than their own citizens. Just because a few thousand people want to dress like zombies and have fun doesnt give you the right to bash Americans as a whole without having FACTS to back it up. You are not a very smart person. And then to bring in race?? Are you SERIOUS?? You are a racisit scumbag who hates America. Leave the country you uneducated anti-american.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  4. Carla

    Don't these stupid Americans have anything better to do on a planet of 1 billion starving people? America entertainment = insult to the suffering human population

    September 6, 2011 at 1:44 am |
  5. Carla

    The pagan Westerners are disgusting. Christianity wasted the education on the whites.

    September 6, 2011 at 1:37 am |
  6. Anurag Sharma

    Zombies suck.

    September 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  7. Ellen K

    Please read my article "Confessions of a Zombie Mother", I should be in the GEEK section! PLEASE PUBLISH THIS!!


    September 5, 2011 at 9:08 am |
  8. ZombieMall.com

    just visit http://www.zombiemall.com

    September 5, 2011 at 4:21 am |
  9. Todd

    So, if I go to illu***org and highlight I'll get the time before we all turn into Zombies? Yes We Can! Oh you CFR chaps are so funny! I have to WakeuP tomorrow ya know PeoplE and get my VaccinE.....BaD!!! I'm raising my tea pinky Ted. Oh if you know Neural Linguistics clap your hands! CNN knows what this means and I love CNN!!! Sip sip. OH there's something in my eye.

    September 5, 2011 at 1:56 am |
  10. ohcraap

    Your already zombies. Zombie is metaphor for the Mob or the public because they are asleep and ignorant.

    September 5, 2011 at 1:36 am |
  11. Zombie Boy

    I like turtles.

    September 5, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • Ollie

      That\'s the smart tnhiikng we could all benefit from.

      December 27, 2011 at 3:46 am |
    • quxspqxt

      Bd3kaH qydjgbzwbbff

      December 29, 2011 at 5:13 am |
  12. Jordan

    Flesh is for Zombies, Go Vegan!

    September 5, 2011 at 12:34 am |
  13. Demara

    Not the best makeup...

    September 5, 2011 at 12:18 am |
  14. Mr. Rogers

    I suggest CNN report the real news, and not just filler crap like this. The home page of CNN does not cover the important stories of the day.

    September 5, 2011 at 12:07 am |
    • Shiroferetto

      Hey, Mr. Rogers: CNN is in Atlanta. DRAGON*CON is in... Atlanta. Not only is DRAGON*CON one of the largest events of the year, but it occupies a very important niche in the economy of Atlanta every year, bringing in millions of dollars to the hotels, eateries, malls, shops, and vendors from across the nation. This isn't some kind of fly-by-night BS event. This occupies FOUR DOWNTOWN HOTELS which are large and cost a lot of money to rent out for 3-4 nights. This is an important cultural, monetary, and geographical event whether you like it or not. Also? It's tons of fun. The most work CNN had to do was write copy for the article.

      September 5, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Alex

      Actually, I'm kind of tired of having our news bandwidth monopolized by Middle Eastern fundamentalists and American partizan zealots. This break is just fine with me.

      September 5, 2011 at 6:21 am |
  15. Zom Hill

    these zombies are weak. ZombiePic.com

    September 4, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  16. erzhik

    Just looks like a beard.

    September 4, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  17. lovethedifferentcommentsystemsCNN

    think of the children!!!

    September 4, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
  18. zombiefyed

    I WANT TO BE A ZOMBIE!! (o_0)

    September 4, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
  19. Andrea M

    I'm on my fourth Denver Zombie Crawl this october. It's great fun and best of all, it makes a nice little side income for me. I generally spend the morning of shuttling around Denver doing my in-depth makeup sessions then go into downtown and set up shop cranking out pallor, bruises and wounds for tips. By the end of it after factoring in the cost of makeup and blood ingredients (I use a special recipe that looks more congealed, tastes awesome, and can rattle off the exact ingredients for parents) I usually do pretty well.

    September 4, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • Todd

      Yes, we'll see you at the Denver airport when it all goes down. Hip hip pinky CNN.

      September 5, 2011 at 2:05 am |
    • Gina

      Until I found this I thouhgt I'd have to spend the day inside.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:16 am |