Welcome to this stop on the BVZW – Anoka MN’s 1st Annual Walking Dead Pub Crawl

I suppose it was growing up in Anoka, that warped me into a horror writer. For that, I am grateful. I don’t live there anymore, and I’m happy in my adopted home of White Bear Lake, MN, but I will always carry a certain affection for Anoka. It pleases my little dark heart to be able to post this tribute to the newest event to spawn from my hometown’s creepy cradle: Anoka’s First Annual Walking Dead Pub Crawl – October 13th, 2012.

Halloween has always been a big deal in Anoka, MN – the official Halloween Capital of the World. (In 1937, the town persuaded the United States Congress to award the title.) In the last few years, though, I’ve noticed a certain tameness creeping in to the season – the disgustingly healthy Gray Ghost 5K run comes to mind. This year, celebrations took a decidedly gruesome turn … finally!

Anoka has at least six bars and restaurants in a couple of square blocks. It’s an ideal place to host a zombie crawl.

As a creature of habit, I have always tended to patronize the older bars, the bars more familiar to me, like:  Billy’s Bar and Grill, Serum’s Good Time Emporium, and the ever-changing, latest incarnation of the bar where I used to work (which was called Patty’s Pub back then and is currently known as as Beer Belly’s.) The official host bar for the crawl, however, was River City Saloon, a place I had never visited.

My Beloved and I weren’t sure which bar to choose as our base of operations, so we called some friends who still live in Anoka. They were kind enough to scout out the scene and find a table before we arrived. We met them at about 5:30p.

By the time we got there, my friend – Trish – who had been watching the zombies come out, was wishing she had dressed up for the event. After some discussion, I convinced her that I could do a quick makeup on her for less than $20 – if she was willing to to walk over to Party Papers with me.

The total came to $19.25. We could have skipped the putty/wax, which would have brought the total under $15.00. We bought the basics for a passable zombie and settled in to a corner of a hallway. Fifteen minutes later, we had done this:

I think we should have bought the next size up of the bottled blood. One of my favorite memories of the night involved standing on the sidewalk outside Party Papers, with me throwing handfuls of blood at her … as the Ghosts of Anoka Tour was guided past us. (I wish I had a photograph of that, but I was afraid to touch the camera long enough to hand it off to someone.)

In her simplicity, I think this was my favorite zombie of the night. She was just a little thing, and she absolutely invoked the mood of 1968’s Night of the Living Dead.

Check out those contacts!

The Zombie-killer half of this duo is Jenny Johnson, creator of the event. I touched base with her a couple of times through the night. She was, by turns, excited, hopeful, overwhelmed and pleased by the success of her brainchild. (She also participated in the Thriller-dance flash mob that happened at 9p.)

I was photographing in the ambiant light of the street lamps. Sorry for the blur, but I kinda like the effect.

I hope, next year, they figure out how to make the music louder.

There’s something pretty awesome about watching a zombie grab some meat … for a quick dance.

I think the convict / guard pair was one of the cleverist ideas I saw.

Two of the loviest walking dead.

Look at the detail work on that hand!

A Ghost-Buster style wagon drew crowds wherever it parked. I liked the way the walking dead all streamed away from it at the same time in this shot.

Just a good ole boy and his woman. Some of the sweetest folks I met all night.

A lovely, elegant couple … but it’s the guy in the top hat that I adore.

Zombies Everywhere
Halloween Blues
The Southern Northerner
Martha’s Journey
Annie Walls
GingerRead Review
App’y Talk
Kweeny Todd
Jenny’s House of Horrors
Bubba’s Place
Fictional Candy
herding cats & burning soup
Author Sherry Soule Blog
Paranormal research Group Blog
Adult Urban Fantasy by Sherry Soule
Moonlight Publishing Blog
Candid Canine
Ghost Hunting Theories
Above the Norm
A Dust Bunny In The Wind
Faith McKay
Zombob’s Zombie News & Movie Reviews
Flesh From The Morgue
The Living Dark
Some One Else’s Cook
Stumptown Horror
Forget About TV, Grab a Book
Zombie Dating Guide
Strange State
The Paranormalist – Renae Rude
Idée Fixe
Random Game Crafts
WhiteRoseBud’s Tumblr
Book Me!
Carmen Jenner Author
Sarasota Zombie Pub Crawl
Not Now…Mommy’s Reading
Love is a Many Flavored Thing
Its On Random
Ellie Potts
Attention Earthlings!
Horror Shock LoliPOP
The Spooky Vegan
The Story In…
DarkSide Detectives Blog
Something wicKED this way comes….
Julie Jansen: science fiction and horror writer
Author/screenwriter James Schannep
The Zombie Lab
Creepy Glowbugg
Sharing Links and Wisdom
Midnyte Reader
This Blog Has A.D.D.
Carol’s Creations
Jeremy Bates
Vanessa Morgan


16 Comments on “Welcome to this stop on the BVZW – Anoka MN’s 1st Annual Walking Dead Pub Crawl”

  1. Hunter Shea says:

    They should bring that zombie crawl to where I live outside NYC. We have a street that has about 50 bars in a 1 mile stretch!

    • How do you ever do anything else? I love bars. Grew up in them, had my first jobs in them, wrote in them for hundreds of hours (before they all went non-smoking.)

      That sounds bad, doesn’t it? It was never about the booze, but rather the people watching and the being waited on 🙂 When I can find a friendly patio bar, that’s still my favorite place to write.

  2. Sounded like a great time, ghoulish fun! Love the couple with the baby and the Day of the Dead Mex. style make-up. Your freind does have that Night of the Living Dead style.

  3. So I may be going to Salem this year, but I think I just found my next Halloween vacation destination for next year. :p That looked like an awesome crawl and I love the women with the sugar skull costumes as well as the ‘little thing’ standing by the wall. Those are the ‘worst’ type of zombies. The inconspicuous ones. You find her cowering in the corner of an abandoned house and go to hand her a napkin for her bloody nose and the next thing you know, she’s attacking your face.

    Good job on your friend’s make up!

  4. sherry soule says:

    Great job with the zombie makeup. Looks like you had a great time. Thanks for sharing the zombie love. 😉

    Keep reading,

  5. schannepj says:

    Nice! We did a zombie pub crawl a couple weeks ago here on California’s central coast and it was a blast. Looks like yours was a lot of fun too.

  6. Ellie Dunn says:

    it looked like a great zombie walk!! great pics :o)

  7. Spooky Vegan says:

    Anoka has always been on my list of places to visit for the Halloween season (I did a post about 5 top places I want to visit for Halloween on my blog http://www.thespookyvegan.com if you care to check it out)…and it looks like it wouldn’t disappoint!

    These are such fantastic photos…I love how they evoke the spirit of Halloween! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I’m amazed at what you did with just that little bit of cheap makeup! Good job! I think the pictures are great using the available light; it’s very appropriate to the whole zombie vibe. My students just finished writing about the zombie apocalypse, and I’m hoping to get a blog post out of it.

  9. Anonymous says:


    I was wondering if I could use one of the pictures in this post as the cover of my book.

    Rob Turnbull

    • Which shot, Rob? I’d have to see if I still have the model release (assuming it shows a recognizable individual.)

      If there’s no problem there, I’d be agreeable, though I’d like a photo credit, with my name and web address, in the book’s acknowledgments.

      • Rob Turnbull says:

        Hello again Renae,

        I wanted you to know that I published my book yesterday and I used your model on the cover. I gave you (and this blog) cover art credit on the copyright page and would like to send a copy to your model (I just have to figure out how). The book is here:


        I wanted to thank you both for letting me use the picture for my book cover. Everyone I showed it to said that her makeup and particularly her eyes (her malevolent glare) fit the theme of the book perfectly.

        Rob Turnbull

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