Usually people tend to look like zombies the day after a big night out. But this Thursday, the walking dead will descend upon downtown San Jose with the aim of scaring up some money—and good times—for a good cause.
The seventh annual San Jose Zombie Crawl begins at 6pm at South First Billiards on Sept. 25. That’s the designated starting point for the night, which unfolds with two groups of partiers—dressed as reanimated corpses, of course—limping, drooling and lurching on two separate pub crawls, according to event organizer Kristin Silver. After each group hits the first three bars, they will switch tracks and head for the other three before reconvening at Splash for a big undead dance party.
“Splash has been a really fantastic place to end the night,” Silver says, noting that it has two dance floors, plenty of room and an upstairs patio.
Proceeds from the event will go to benefit the American Cancer Society, Silver says.
Silver started the event in 2008 after seeing a similar zombie crawl at Burning Man. Inspired to replicate the pub crawl in San Jose, she asked all that year’s participating bars to donate a little bit of money to help with advertising. After the first event, she had money left over, so she donated the money to the American Cancer Society.
“I thought it was hilarious,” Silver says. “I just did the first one to see if I could do it and see if it could be done around here.” But after that, the Zombie Crawl got a bit more personal for her.
The next year Silver’s mother died from cancer. From that point on, she has presented the annual crawl as a charity event. Silver sells tickets to help with administrative costs and the rest goes to charity. Some of the participating bars donate a portion of their night’s profit to the cause.
While many just come out for the fun, Silver says, others are aware of the event’s charitable bent and come to support the cause. “We always have people who come out with their own stories,” Silver says. Just last year a woman who participated told Silver that the night of the crawl had fallen on the anniversary of one of her best friends dying from cancer.
This year the participating bars are Fahrenheit Lounge, The Old Wagon Saloon & Grill, The Loft, O’Flaherty’s, Freddie J’s and Da Kine Island Grill—plus South First Billiards and Splash. Each bar will offer drinks within a range of $3-$6, and some will have specialty drinks, such as the “Zombie Necrosis” at O’Flaherty’s.
This year’s crawl will also mark the end of an era. Silver will be stepping down and the future of the event is uncertain.
“It’s something that I’ve done for so long and it’s been fun, but it’s time for new adventures,” she says, noting that she’d be happy to have someone else pick up where she left off, but as of right now she isn’t sure what will happen.
It’s hard to believe the event is gone for good. Anyone who’s ever seen a good zombie movie knows that once the undead are out, they’re out for good.