13th annual Asbury Park Zombie Walk returns to the boardwalk following COVID break – Asbury Park Press

ASBURY PARK When Melissa Hocutt found out the Asbury Park Zombie Walk was coming back to the boardwalk, she had a day to prepare.

Asbury Park Zombie Walk

The city of Asbury Park is overrun by 'zombies' as they make their way down Cookman Avenue

Doug Hood, Asbury Park Press

So, I stayed up all last night and did everything, Hocutt laughed.

Dressed as a skeleton with a drooping decaying mouth that doubled as a mask, Hocutt said she was a cemetery caretaker. Her 8-year-old twins, Izaiah and Elijah, were zombies emerging from the grave and intent on biting her.

I love it, she said. And my kids love it.

After a year hiatus due to the pandemic, the 13thannual Asbury Park Zombie Walk came back from the dead.

Jason Meehan, organizer for the event, said he started the annual Zombie Walk during the 2008 recession as a way to bring a crowd of people to Asbury Park to revitalize the boardwalk. Although scaled back, the event brought thousands of participants and onlookers to an economically strained boardwalk.

Matthew Whelan, assistant director of the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce, estimated that 2,000 to 3,000 people showed up, a fraction of the events 2013 crowd of nearly 9,600, a Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of zombies.

Robert Nugent, an onlooker who has come to see the parade for the seventh year, noted that the boardwalk wasusually packed.

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The event, scaled down and without a professional makeup counter, let Meehan and his team focus on what we originally did with the zombie walk.

Cindy Gisinger, a returning participant, said she has been planning her zombie Cruella look since 2019.

Its wonderful, Gisinger said about coming back. You get to see your friends… Its good to be with people again.

Led by Meehan and the brass band Ocean Avenue Stompers, people dressed in a variety of zombie costumesincluding construction workers, brides, doctors, prisoners, UPS guys, Santa, Donald Trump, Minions and Beetlejuice ambled, snarled and limped down the boardwalk and into downtown.

A quintet of zombie nursing home residents no one said good taste ruled the day grouched loudly in exaggerated Long Island accents.

Edward ODea, one of the members, said their zombie backstory is that they had woken up, crawled out of the grave and were looking for a bingo hall.

Veronica DeJesus said her family has been coming to the zombie walk as a tradition since 2009. Her husband, Richard DeJesus, proposed to her at the 2014 zombie walk.

This year, they were dressed as a police officer and two inmates. Their daughter Faith DeJesus, 5, was the police officer holding her parents captive.

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Covered in fake blood and wearing a jaggedface mask, Richard said he it took four days to make their costume.

Every year his outfits get crazier and crazier, Veronica said.

People really go all out. Meehan said. Were excited to be back.

Olivia Liu is a reporter covering transportation, Red Bank and western Monmouth County. She can be reached at oliu@gannett.com.

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13th annual Asbury Park Zombie Walk returns to the boardwalk following COVID break - Asbury Park Press

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