Raising more than the dead
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
With blood dripping, the illusion of open wounds and gruesome looks that made a little boy outside the Student Union cry, the Strategists and Role-Players Association (SARPA) had one thing on their mind Friday night: brains.
The group of student zombies boomed through the Union, stormed the Promenade, crept around Capen’s corners and crashed the homecoming carnival. Between their walking-dead groans, they had one request: spare change. In the fourth-annual SARPA zombie walk, the Student Association club raised just over $100 for brain cancer research.
“What do we want?” one of the lead zombies would call out, to which the crew of students in their deadly garb responded with a dragged out, “Braiiiiiiins.”
“When do we want them?”
“How do we want them?”
This year is the first Halloween for international student Md Fahad Hossain, a sophomore engineering major from Saudi Arabia.
“This was kind of pretty shocking to see it for the first time,” Hossain said. “When they were down in front of Capen coming through the hallway, with all the actions trying to grab at you at once, it was like Resident Evil.”
He was in awe of the zombies as they made their way through the university and decided to follow the mob for the duration of their campus crawl. The zombies went onto disrupt Richmond Dining Hall in the Ellicott Complex before ending at the carnival.
The zombies crept on their hands and knees up the stairs leading to the Capen Library, as onlookers caught the spectacle on their camera phones.
Some students involved used the walk as an opportunity to dress up and were excited by the prospect of scaring other students.
Kayleigh Rabbitt, a junior animation major at Villa Maria College, looked forward to sneaking up behind students and “screaming bloody murder.”
Rabbitt and her friend, Kaitland Flak, also a junior animation major at Villa Maria, came dressed as a zombie prom couple. Rabbitt had a blood-soaked princess dress she took four hours to strategically tear. Flak sported a tattered shirt and tie. The couple spent two hours perfecting their frightening make up – Flak’s face looked like it was turned inside out.
For students who wanted to get involved and weren’t versed in zombie make up, Mark ‘Spike’ Okrasinski, a secondary education graduate student, was there as the walk’s make up guru. Self-taught from YouTube, Okrasinski was in the Union for the two hours leading up to the walk helping participants get ready to terrorize the campus.
Jason Sutton, a senior business major and president of SARPA, credited Okrasinski, a former vice president of SARPA, for creating the walk.
Okrasinski came up with the idea to do a zombie walk at UB but said the idea to connect it with brain cancer “fell into place” – zombies and brains go together, he explained.
Okrasinski started doing the make up at 3 p.m.; the walk started at 5 p.m.
He applied liquid latex to students in three layers, and it was once dry, he pulled and peeled it as if it was that individual’s own skin. He was able to create open sores, even one in the shape of what he described as a “zombie tear drop.”
Okrasinski was able to fashion multiple ghastly zombie looks using black eyeliner and different shades of paints to darken the created gaping “flesh.”
Before setting out to wander the campus, Okrasinski did a shot of fake blood he let spill out of his mouth and onto the rest of his body.
Once complete with his fake dangling eyeball, the zombie walk veteran set the ground rules for the 40 student participants. He reminded them to terrify students but not touch them or anything else – they needed to keep their blood to themselves.
“[The walk] is one big rush,” Sutton said. “When there’s a huge mob of you running down the halls of the university, you don’t really want to bother classes – but you kind of do, scaring people – it’s really fun.”
For April Ensell, a seventh-year Asian studies and communication design major, the joy of the walk comes from seeing peoples’ reactions. She said she caught a man off-guard on the stairs prior to the walk. He clenched his chest in shock and horror, letting out a concerned gasp – it was the best reaction she got all day.
Every year the zombie walk continues to attract more participants, Ensell said. She has been involved in the walk since its inception and loves to see it continue to expand and evolve for a good cause.