About 150 participants gathered at Washington Park Saturday to bring to life the legend behind Halloween — downtown Brownsville became a place where the dead walked the Earth.
Some donned full gore — with torn prosthetic flesh, shining red with fake blood and green with rot — while others chose to embrace their inner survivor by remaining human and, in some cases, forming zombie fighting units like Zom-b-gone, who wore tactical costumes complete with plastic weapons.
It was the second time people gathered in the name of zombies under the coordination of Mack Guerra and his wife, Anna Guerra, in Brownsville.
Zombiewalks have become a popular activity as zombies have received more mainstream attention in popular culture. The CDC recently made its own tongue-in-cheek guide to a zombie invasion, and large cities like Austin and San Antonio have their own zombiewalks. Guerra said the Brownsville walk is the start of the city’s own part of the fun.
"It’s more realizing that it doesn’t have to be somewhere else," Guerra said of the zombiewalk.
He said the participants at the walk were part of the spectacle, making it a large volunteer performance-art event. From zombie marching bandleaders and young zombie charro dancers to fully human observers, everyone was a participant in their own way, he said.
"It’s anybody’s game, anybody’s perspective," Guerra said. "We’re going to have these zombies walking downtown against an incredible backdrop."
The walk, which was escorted by a Brownsville Police motorcycle officer and a patrol unit, was to span several downtown streets including 12th Street, Adams Street and the Market Square area, he said.
Ely Solis laughed as his older brother, Jesse Solis, poured fake blood on him.
"I grew up watching zombie movies," Jesse said.
Ely said he doesn’t watch horror movies because he doesn’t like them, but on Saturday the 12-year-old had a rotting flesh prosthetic on his face and blood everywhere.
Roxy Cervantes laughed too as the fake blood flowed.
"It’s pretty cool," she said of the zombiewalk. "It’s bringing something here other than tacos."
Pete Jimenez, part of the Zom-b-gone group, said he too has loved zombie movies since he was a child and the TV show on AMC, “The Walking Dead,” has helped zombies become more popular.
"If you look at Halloween, there’s also vampires, Frankenstein," he said. "Everyone gravitates to their own monster. I have friends who love vampires who didn’t come because they think zombies are gross."
A zombie invasion is like a natural disaster, he said, speaking to his costume.
"You’re ready for zombies if you’re ready for a hurricane," he said.
As zombies and humans mixed at the park, Brad Nordyke and his family waited for the walk to begin so they could participate in the spirit of Halloween. He said it was a draw to the downtown area.
"It’s fun to see all these people dressed up and share the same enthusiasm," Carmen Nordyke said.
They said their sons, 9-year-old Bradley and 7-year-old Brayden, are horror-movie lovers, so the family of four went to participate as zombies.
As the sun set on downtown Brownsville, the zombiewalk began with directions and then a very undead grunt, or cheer, depending on who you ask. The laughs that followed, however, sounded very alive.