Zombies are about as cool as Miley Cyrus in 2013. However, while twerking may pass as a fading trend (here’s hoping), the living dead are here to stay.
The Toronto Zombie Walk, organized by the effervescent Thea Munster (pronounced Tay-ah), will be taking over downtown Toronto this October 26th. Thea is so dedicated to the dead that she had her own wedding at the zombie walk two years ago and may have been the scariest bride in history.
Amazed that she was being interviewed by a wellness magazine, she let us in on her childhood Halloween costumes, why playing dead is not just for dogs, and why you certainly don’t want to get on her bad side this year.
So how does one become the founder of a zombie walk?
I moved to Toronto from Victoria. I met a lot of horror people in Toronto, who didn’t like dressing up like my horror friends in Victoria. I thought it would be so cool to move away from Halloween and dress up and take over a neighbourhood. I tried to get my friends in on it but they didn’t like the idea, so I put up flyers around the city and got 6 people to join me. It took three to four years before I started getting a lot of people. Now it’s an event on its own!
As a kid, we assume you gravitated more to scary costumes than princess get-ups.
Definitely! I have pictures of me as a kid dressed as a skeleton and a ghost. One year I was a Halloween storybook! I’ve always been intrigued by the darker side of life. Not in a negative sense, but in the yin and yang aspect of life. When I was very young I read about people who celebrate death through the Day of the Dead. I have been intrigued by myths and traditions my whole life. Death is the big “don’t speak about it.” It used to be sex, but now death is harder for people to address.
You’re definitely making it not only acceptable but fun! This is the first year for the parade?
Yes, and we have a marching band! There is a zombie drum line and zombie cheerleaders. We have a skeleton dirge at the beginning (a funeral jazz song). It’s open to all monsters. Our walk has never been exclusively zombies.
Whose head is going to be thrown off the stage to kick off the parade?
I don’t know, we haven’t found it yet. Whoever makes me mad enough this year! Just kidding. Our grand marshall this year is Linnea Quigley from The Return of the Living Dead. She is one of my favorite scream queens who will throw out the head. Whoever gets the head will have it as their prize.
Who knows where they will put that once they get home! How did the Heart and Stroke foundation get on board, when they’re mostly concerned about the living?
Heart and Stroke decided to do a campaign called “CPR makes you undead.” It was about learning hands only CPR. It’s amazing that Heart and Stroke are doing this. They see the fun in Halloween and this event. Their first campaign had a commercial that was hilarious. Since zombies can’t eat their victim unless they are living, they perform CPR and then go after the living! (laughs)
Do the dead get really close to the living on October 26?
We have rules, like you don’t touch people. You can’t leave any marks behind if you are very bloody. You don’t have special mauling rights because you are a zombie. All of our zombies are really well behaved, actually. I got a letter from Russia, and they were wondering how I kept my zombies from putting blood on cars. I said “I just asked them.” They’re very obedient!
Do you have any advice for first-time zombies?
To practice, dig a hole, sever your limbs…no…honestly, the best thing would be to watch a zombie movie marathon to get your walk down. Do a character study on zombies. I got to be in a George Romero film “Survival of the Dead”. They tell you when you are being a zombie to pretend that one part of your limb is broken. Choose an arm, a leg, a foot, and go on that.
With one limb down, perhaps the healthy living will have a fighting chance to run away.