This weekend, West Scranton may look a bit like a classic horror movie, with zombies running down Main Avenue, but passersby shouldn't worry, these zombies won't be hunting for brains, but rather first-place gold.
The West Scranton Hyde Park Neighborhood Watch is sponsoring West Side Zombie Escape Route, a 5K run/walk on Saturday, Oct. 20, in Allen Park, located on the corner of Main Avenue and Price Street in Scranton.
For an admission price of $25, for those who pre-register, or $30 the day of the event, runners can enter the run as a survivor, zombie or an ordinary runner/walker.
"They can wear costumes other than a zombie if they want to," said Neighborhood Watch President Karin Foster, who organized the 5K.
Foster said the Neighborhood Watch had been looking for another fundraiser to do, and the idea for the run came out of a brainstorming session.
"A group of us were working in the (Hyde Park Community Garden), and we were thinking, what can we do for another fundraiser. It was right after the Dirty Girl (Mud Run) event, and we had some members that did that, and one silly idea after another came out," said Foster.
"I happened to see examples of zombie runs on the Internet and I thought, with Halloween coming, it would be a fun alternative to the traditional run. I ran it by Karin and here we are," said Hyde Park Community Garden Chairman Tom Borthwick. "People are excited. It's a novelty, and it's a neighborhood affair. People are all about supporting West Side."
Some in the area are already somewhat familiar with a Zombie 5K, having participated in the one held in Taylor during Infect Scranton in September.
While both runs are zombie themed, the West Side Zombie Escape Route is unique in that it is not a an obstacle course, but rather a traditional run around West Scranton.
"The logistics of a regular 5K make more sense for us. On top of that, they have their brand and we have ours," said Borthwick.
And the Neighborhood Watch's brand seems to be appealing to many in the area. Foster said a number of runners have already registered and many have called to inquire about the race.
This early excitement is at least partially due to the work of TwentyFiveEight Productions, who produced a commercial advertising the event after Borthwick and Foster approached Mark Dennebaum, co-owner of TwentyFiveEight Productions.
"Mark is a West Sider and a really talented filmmaker. He's got a beautiful movie studio in town and he loves supporting this area. In zombie parlance, that's a no-brainer," said Borthwick.
Dennebaum was just as excited to be working on the project as Borthwick and Foster were to have him.
"It's just cool. Everything these guys are doing is just cool, and just to be a part of it is an honor," said Dennebaum. "I think the most important thing about this is that it brings community and commerce together."
TwentyFiveEight Productions isn't the only business that shares Dennebaum's feelings. Foster said a number of area businesses have gotten involved in the 5K in different ways, either by donating food and drinks to the runners, participating in the sidewalk sale or open house that will be held the day. The Lackawanna Historical Society has also gotten involved, and will be conducting a Places of Worship tour beginning at the Church of Christ, located at 137 S. Main Ave., Scranton at noon.
The tour will focus on places of worship located in the Hyde Park section of Scranton.
The outpouring of support is making the Neighborhood Watch optimistic about the future of the event, as they hope to make the run a yearly tradition.
"Our goal next year is to have it a little bit closer to Halloween and have, perhaps, a parade afterwards and costume competition with it," said Foster.
To view TwentyFiveEight Productions' promo, or for more information, visit www.zombieescaperoute.wordpress.com.
For more information on the Places of Worship tour, call 344.3841.
What: West Side Zombie Escape Route: 5K Run/Walk
When: Saturday, Oct. 20, race day packet pickup and registration begins at 7 a.m., run starts at 9 a.m.
Where: The race begins in Allen Park at the corner of Main Avenue and Price Street, Scranton.
Cost: $25 for those who pre-register, $30 the day of the run. Team rates of $20 per team member are also available. The first 100 entries are guaranteed a T-Shirt.
Info: email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit zombieescaperoute.wordpress.com.