WILKES-BARRE — A Halloween event is looking to scare up a good Christmas for area kids.
The seventh annual Wilkes-Barre Zombie Walk kicks off Saturday, Oct. 29, in Kirby Park, and it’s all to raise donations for Toys for Tots to benefit kids this Christmas.
Zombies and survivors alike will gather at Kirby Park and walk—or perhaps shamble—their way to Public Square between 1 and 3 p.m. at the family-friendly event.
According to Lori Hudak, 48, of Jonestown, one of the event’s organizers, the free event began eight years ago when Christopher Peters, another one of the event’s organizers, saw a post on Facebook suggesting people dress as zombies in Kirby Park. This inspired Peters to repeat the event the next year, this time making it a charitable event.
Hudak said the event has grown every year, and this year’s could shape up to be the biggest.
“Last year we had over 200 people,” Hudak said. “This year, we’re making great strides in growing the event.”
These strides include new entertainment and activities. For the first time, the Zombie Walk will feature a basket raffle, but attendees won’t need to hand over money to get tickets for the raffle.
“You earn tickets for the raffle if you come dressed as a zombie,” Hudak said. “And you earn more tickets for donating a toy to Toys for Tots.”
In addition to the new basket raffle, some other firsts for the Zombie Walk include music provided by 97.9X, coffee, hot chocolate and donuts donated by the Public Square Dunkin’ Donuts and event insurance donated by The Juice Vaporium in Bloomsburg.
These aren’t the only ways that the Zombie Walk is increasing visibility for the event.
“We rented out the big pavilion (in Kirby Park), to be closer to Market Street,” Hudak said. “And we even have someone donating photography.”
Hudak said that local photographer Amanda Edley will be on hand snapping photos of zombies and will be making them available on her website.
With all of these new features, one could assume that the organizers would be happy with the growth. But Hudak hopes to make next year’s Zombie Walk even bigger.
“We want to make more monetary donations to Toys for Tots, so we’re looking to set up games of chance,” Hudak said of her 2017 goals. “We’re even in contact with people that do theatrical makeup.”
But Hudak makes sure to keep the reason for all this growth in focus.
“What really matters is that we had a good time, every one laughed, everyone smiled, and on Christmas morning, those children have a present to open up,” Hudak said.
Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6119