Zombie Crawlin'

Eau Claire joins national trend of brain-hunting pub crawl events

Maggie McCracken

Right around my sixteenth year, it became clear that Halloween could be one of two things: it could either be a completely lame and obsolete holiday (characterized by handing out candy to toddlers and greedy middle-schoolers in my parents’ neighborhood), or a fun (if unimaginative) holiday characterized by skimpy costumes and excessive drinking. Luckily, the increasingly popular Zombie Pub Crawls of recent years have given 21+ crowds across America a refreshing and creative alternative. 

Calling all the undead-at-heart, the Zombie Crawl is now coming to Eau Claire!

Headed up by locals Greg Bauwens and Stephanie Calkins, Eau Claire’s first annual Zombie Crawl is forecasted to be a thrilling, creative, and wildly fun community-centered party. 

“We have an awesome community right now. This is one more event offered to the public that can be really fun,” says co-founder Greg Bauwens. “I think it’s great to see people get into the performance aspect of it. They can get out of their comfort zones, hunt for brains, and meet a lot of new people (even though they may not recognize them the next time they see them).”

The phrase “hunting for brains” seems to be thrown around regularly in the Zombie Crawl scene. Bauwens says, “Everyone has a common theme to feed off … brains. And it is a total riot. Try it and you will understand!” Feeding off brains, spewing blood, and faux-attacking the living seem to be behavioral traits of the undead bar-goers. Full-on undead makeup, fake blood for spewing, and nasty, dirty clothing are required.

Eau Claire is certainly jumping on the haunted bandwagon. Across the nation Zombie Pub Crawls are becoming more and more popular, with the nearby Twin Cities hosting an event that is holding its own with huge metropolises across the nation. In 2009, the Cities hosted an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 zombies. Since then, the Cities have taken more organized measures to control violence and drinking, including entry fees, wristband requirements, and organized bar events.

Eau Claire’s first Zombie Crawl will take place this Saturday, October 15, and is certain to be a fun and creative alternative to the per-usual Halloween habits of Playgirl costumes, human kegs, and sexy schoolgirls. 

Anyone who’d like to attend should meet at Wilson Park before 7pm (head to the park earlier if you need help with your undead makeup or need some fake blood!), and bring their IDs. The official Facebook attendees currently number 545, and all participants will hit up the bars at their own pace. 

Participating businesses, including Clancy’s, the Fire House, Mousetrap, Stone’s Throw, Stella’s Red Room, The Livery, Scooters, the Wigwam, and more, will offer discounted drinks to the undead, and the atmosphere is sure to be crazy and hauntingly fun!

Who knew that the Halloween season was expanding into a two-weekend-long fright fest? Come on, Eau Claire. Let’s give those Twin Cities zombies a run for their, well, brains …


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