EUGENE, Ore. -- “What do we want?” the female zombie shouted through a bullhorn.
“Brains!” answered the large crowd of fellow zombies gathered in the graveyard.
“When do we want it?” she yelled.
“Murrrrrr!!!” growled the mass of undead.
In what has become an annual ritual to counter the romantic notions of Valentine’s Day, zombies (mostly college students who, having just finished midterms, probably felt like actual zombies) with their faces painted deathly white and their mouths dripping with fake blood (mostly corn syrup and red food coloring) gathered in Eugene’s historic Pioneer Cemetery as the sun set Sunday to begin a pub crawl through the University of Oregon neighborhood.
This, the fifth year of the event, drew over 100 costumed revelers.
- PHOTO GALLERY: Warning! Graphic images of fake blood and gore
- VIDEO: Warning! Simulated blood, gore and zombie rampage
“Don’t bite anyone,” the lead zombie warned as safety rule number one. The crowd was also reminded not to grab curious onlookers, because although undead, zombies can still be arrested.
Watch a video of the zombie walk:
After milling around for over an hour waiting for stragglers, the crowd of zombies began their pub crawl -- first to Taylor’s, a local college watering hole, and then on to Max’s, another bar frequented by students.
Along the way unsuspecting students on bikes ran a gauntlet of shuffling bodies in torn clothing, all dressed like extras from Michael Jackson's music video "Thriller."
Diners in a Chinese restaurant were startled to see what looked like victims of some horrible accident staring at them through the plate glass windows.
A campus security officer smiled and waved as he passed by the crowd in his patrol car on his nightly rounds.
Despite being Valentine’s Day, the only heart seen in the gathering was a realistic looking replica held in the hands of an undead bride in a blood spattered wedding dress.
Into the night they went, screaming for brains, but settling for beer. After a couple of hours it was difficult to tell if the staggering gait of the zombies was still part of the act or more of the traditional, alcohol-driven variety.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” laughed a couple walking their dog who inadvertently wandered into the path with the zombies.
“Brains! Must have brains!” the zombies shouted.
Watching the participants splash fake blood on each other’s faces while staggering stiff-legged on to next bar, one could be excused for thinking that indeed there seemed to be a notable shortage of cerebral grey matter in the area.