Want To Be A Zombie In Harrisburg? That'll Be $450.00

Some economist eggheads might believe that the recession is over, but try telling that to the zombies of Harrisburg, PA, who had to move their march of the undead after the city tried to squeeze them for some fees.

Last year, about 200 of Harrisburg’s ghastly ghouls were able to do their Zombie Walk through the city’s downtown without hassle or fees. This year, the city gave the brain-lovin’ bunch the news that they would have to pay $450 in march and permit fees, plus insurance.

The zombie behind the Walk was a little baffled since the previous year’s event was not a parade or unruly mob that took over the streets, but merely a large group of reanimated corpses that stayed on the sidewalks and obeyed traffic signals.

Wrote one irate zombie:

A cash-strapped city couldn’t pay for this kind of event to draw a crowd to downtown Harrisburg… But Harrisburg officials just want to squeeze every cent from anyone they can, it seems. $700+ for fans to dress up for Halloween and walk [or shuffle, as is more appropriate for zombies] around a few blocks in a single loop — just WALK. On SIDEWALKS.

So instead of pay the fees just to amble, arms outstretched, through downtown Harriburg, the flesh-hungry friends have joined up with another walk already scheduled at the nearby Harrisburg Mall.

Here’s hoping a delusional Dead Rising fan doesn’t stumble upon this scene. Could get messy.

If it does turn into a zombie apocalype, there is a handy book written by a Consumerist staffer that could help you out.

Harrisburg Zombie Walk, faced with paying fees to the city, moves from downtown to Harrisburg Mall [Patriot-News]

Thanks to Erin for the tip!


Edit Your Comment

  1. dr_drift says:

    Wrote one irate zombie: “Blllaarrrrgghhh…. reearrrrghh…. uunnggghhhhhh….”

    • marsneedsrabbits says:

      The city of Harrisburg sounds as through it is run by short-sited idiots.

      Still, the mall walk sounds awesome. If I were a zombie, I’d be thrilled to be able to recreate 1978’s Dawn of the Dead, which was filmed in a mall.

      The zombies need to see the bright side of things. Harrisburg needs to carefully consider what sort of nincompoops they have running things.

      • VeritasNoir says:


      • domcolosi says:

        Did you mean short-sighted? Or did you mean that their websites don’t have a lot of content?

        In any case, requiring insurance sounds like the opposite: they’re covering their asses in case some over-zealous zombie walks into the street and gets plowed. You can’t honestly say you don’t think there’s a chance of that happening, can you?

  2. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Better hope Woody Harrelson isn’t around…

  3. catnapped says:

    Well duh, the city is broke…need to make money in a hurry somehow!

  4. sopmodm14 says:

    thats just blatant lunacy

    i want to have my candy donation written off as a deduction for my taxes then, considering govt officials aren’t putting taxes into good use

  5. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Can’t they still just dress up like a zombie and walk on the sidewalk? It’s public use property, and they are obeying traffic signs.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Here! here!

      Quite agree. Okay, it’s a really dopey thing, but it WILL draw people.

      I thought Harrisburg would have to be brain-dead to do this, but I suppose zombies want LIVE brains..

  6. JonBonWonton says:

    Q: Why did they go to the mall?

    A: Some kind of instinct. Memory– of what they used to do. The mall was an important place in their lives.

  7. working class Zer0 says:

    The House and Senate there are filled with Zombies.

    • oldwiz65 says:

      And they all (republicans and democrats both) are totally obnoxious, moronic, stupid, and stink something awful and do nothing productive and should all be replaced by real live people actually interested in helping the country rather than kissing the a** of their corporate sponsors and filling their pockets with bribes and gifts.

  8. electrasteph says:

    So our right to freedom of assembly is based on how much cash we pay? I don’t remember reading that in the constitution.

    • SabreDC says:

      I also don’t recall reading anywhere in the United States Constitution that city governments are not allowed to regulate the ability of assemblers to assemble. In fact, I don’t recall the US Constitution having anything to do with city government at all. Last time I read it, it said that Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people to peaceably assemble. Unless you have some new, fancy Constitution that pertains to local governments. And no, the Pennsylvania Constitution doesn’t cover this either.

  9. evnmorlo says:

    Regulation seems so reasonable until you find one day that everything you do requires permission and taxation by the government in advance, and that you’ve used your freedom to choose to be a slave

  10. Cantras says:

    One of my friends does an annual zombie walk for charity. This just seems to be random.

    But, from one of their marches: “What do we want?!” “AAARRRGH!” “When do we want it?!” “GRRAAAAARGHHH!”

  11. JamesBE says:

    Real zombies go to the Monroeville Mall.

    • stormbird says:

      I used to live near there and would walk around trying to figure out where X happened or where the gun store used to be. You’d think the mall would do something to commemorate the movie, maybe even a Halloween zombie walk, but no.

      • MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

        I live near Monroeville Mall, too, and they have had a zombie walk at the mall. It started in 2006. Now, it’s too big for the mall. They moved it to market square, downtown. Ironically, enough, the Heart Walk is happening the same day, 10/10/10. I wonder if there will be some impromptu clashing between the two groups? “Send more walkers!”


        On a side note, I am/was an actor and got to do a play in 2001 with David Early who was in the original Dawn of the Dead. Awesome guy. He was nice enough to give me a signed photo for my Halloween Giveaway that runs through Friday.


  12. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I don’t have any context for how this kind of event is set up, but I imagine that the reason why the city is turning its vampiric teeth on citizens is because it’s set up as a “march” and a “walk.” If the Komen Foundation needs to pay permit fees, so would any other organization of people who are organizing a march. I’m totally on the side of the zombie folk, though. They clearly aren’t the Komen Foundation (or any massive company/nonprofit), they’re just a bunch of citizens who want to do something fun for Halloween. The city’s just in it for the money, obviously, since they didn’t levy a fee last year.

    A parkour gym in the DC area has hosted several Zombie Tag events and I don’t think they’ve had to pay for permits or anything. Then again, it might just because of the city’s rules and not because the gym hosted a huge game of tag instead of a slow march.


    • Megalomania says:

      I would say that things like the Komen walks use the public resources to generate revenue (for a charity of course, but revenue nonetheless) and the city has the right to ask for a fee to do so. Also, anything that involves blocking of streets like a lot of actual marches should involve a fee as it takes a lot of effort from the city to ensure that detour signs and whatnot are posted, marking off streets, having police direct traffic, and so on. This is just on the sidewalk, of fairly limited scope, and purely for enjoyment rather than fundraising.

  13. Hungry Dog says:

    As long as there are no zombies on my lawn.

  14. Nighthawke says:

    You know why they call it getting it in dutch don’t ya. Just look at what they are doing in sunny PA.

  15. dolemite says:

    I don’t really understand why a fee is involved.

    You’ve got a few hundred people walking down a sidewalk, obeying traffic laws. This occurs normally.

    Just because they happened to know each other and walk down the sidewalk at the same time, it requires a permit, despite the fact it isn’t a parade? Why is insurance, forms, fees involved all of a sudden?

    Do the people of the city normally have to pay for insurance, etc to use the public walkways?

    • SabreDC says:

      If it blocks the sidewalks, then it is preventing ME from going where I need to go (hypothetically). The first thing I learned in civics class when talking about the freedom of assembly was that you can’t prevent other people from going about their way.

      Additionally, Harrisburg may also require police or some type of emergency responder group when there is a crowd of a certain number of people. Those fees pay for first responders, barricades to block traffic for the walks/marches, etc.

  16. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    The city politicians shouldn’t be worried since Zombies only like to eat brains.

  17. Me - now with more humidity says:

    They’ll have to pay with dead presidents… 8-)

  18. aloria says:

    The whole zombie thing is completely annoying and played out, anyway. Yeah, braaains, I get it. Go away.

    • Dunkelzahn says:

      The short answer: No.

      The long answer: No, dammit.

      Zombies will never go out of style.

      • Saltpork says:

        Actually zombies do go out of style when things in society are doing well.
        There is still the hardcore group that never strays, but a lot of zombie culture is focused around the ills of society and when the economy is in the toilet, it’s a fun way to remember that things could be worse.

  19. damicatz says:

    The only permit one needs to march is the first amendment. Charging fees for the purpose of holding an assembly is unconstitutional.

  20. friendlynerd says:

    Good job, Harrisburg! Make sure the downtown area stays as dead as a graveyard after 5:00 just like every other day.

  21. Span_Wolf says:

    Zombie may eat brains, but even zombie can’t swallow this injustice!

  22. DanKelley98 says:

    Not that I want to cause trouble, but what if everyone chose to dress like a zombie, walk like a zombie anyway….done Improv Everywhere style…..??

    I can see the headlines now: hundreds of zombies in Harrisburg hauled to jail….

  23. vastrightwing says:

    It’s Better To Beg For Forgiveness Than To Ask For Permission.

  24. Ted3 says:

    The city of Harrisburg is after every dime it can get, literally.

  25. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Another proud day in PA History. On one hand, our swift state government wants to charge a fee for people to march as Zombies down the street.

    On the other hand, how much money did they pay our homeland security director and his minions to monitor citizens who protest the Marcellus Shale gas drilling industry? According to WNEP, “The Institute of Terrorism Research and Response has a deal worth more than $100,000 to provide regular updates on threats to the state’s critical infrastructure.”

    It’s no wonder our commonwealth is broke.

  26. evilpete says:

    they should get insurance that covers benefits for anyone bitten and converted into a zombie.

    Then submit it to city call.

  27. KyBash says:

    You are all so naive! The admins are not stupid — they’ve just enhanced, for free, the scheduled walk at the mall so there will be even more spectators who will, while they’re there, also shop at the stores the admins own.

  28. The_IT_Crone says:

    This year, the Minneapolis Zombie Pub Crawl isn’t free to zombies- it’s ten brains! I wonder if they got a permit this year…

  29. freshyill says:

    Harrisburg is REALLY hard up for cash right now, so I see where this is coming from.

    On a similar note, New York State, where I haven’t lived since early 2008, sent me a tax bill recently. I didn’t underpay at all. This was just a late penalty because I didn’t *pre-pay* enough. I was promoted at work in 2007 and got a big raise. Well based on what I earned that year, I should have paid more throughout the year (according to their three-year-late bullshit assessment).

    Screw them. They’re both horribly managed and desperate for money (I lived in Harrisburg in 2005, but so far they haven’t come begging for money yet).

  30. skapig says:

    If you just do it and… walk on the sidewalk… there really isn’t a whole lot that they can do. As long as there’s not any rioting. You might have to cover your ass by not being too explicit with organizing details, but it shouldn’t exactly be difficult for zombies to show up and do their thing. Granted, Harrisburg is hard up for money but probably not desperate enough to get on the wrong side of something that will obviously get press coverage.