'They just dumped blood on themselves and said: Let’s do it!'

'They just dumped blood on themselves and said: Let’s do it!'

EUGENE, Ore. - A small voice quavered out of the pitch-black emptiness of the Eugene Pioneer Cemetery, “Are you dead or alive?”

Splattered in fake blood and grime, incoming groups moan, wail or laugh om response to the child’s question. A group of about 15 zombies slowly gathered, many of them younger than 21.

While many couples might prefer a romantic evening on Valentine’s Day, some go to great lengths to avoid the typical “Hallmark holiday” as this year’s Zombie Walk organizer Fallon Love calls it.

“I don’t think you should just celebrate love one of the year, and I think that love happens every day of the year,” Love said. “I figured there’s too much pressure on us to do that. So let’s go ahead and do something fun, with no pressure, and look forward to instead of be depressed about.”

“It’s a really lonely day for people, so it’s something to do for people that are single, I guess,” Kiefer Peters said, a first-time zombie. “Considering I’ve never spent a Valentine’s Day not alone… this is great.”

Gathering at 8:30 in the center of the cemetery, the small horde of about 15 zombies both young and old shambled down to Taylor’s on campus, dripping fake blood along the way. Some students cheered them on, while others crossed the street to avoid the crowd of shuffling undead on the sidewalk.

More zombies met them downtown at Black Forest, a bar near the bus station. While the younger ones waited on the sidewalk outside, some of the older zombies either went inside or chased cars, growling and flailing their arms. By 10 p.m., Love rallied the group to head to John Henry’s, a bar on Broadway, to try and get Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" played at least once.

Along the way, two women slammed double glass doors shut and held them closed in the face of an older zombie running up to them.

“We’ve had a lot of great reactions,” Love said. “A lot of people have been scared; a lot of people ran. A couple people weren’t on the walk and they just dumped blood on themselves and said ‘Let’s do it’. Everyone’s in spirit!”