Despite the disheartening and, if we’re being honest, just unfair placement of select New Jersey cities being last in a rating of zombie apocalypse preparedness, our state has a lot of zombie cred to boast about. From zombie enthusiasts that meet in the Pine Barrens to “zombie sightings” that turned out to be filming for a popular show, there’s plenty of zombie happenings going on in the Garden State. Zombies have even been spotted in Hoboken filming scenes for a spin-off of The Walking Dead. Since it’s officially spooky season, we rounded up what we know about zombies, as well as some zombie-centric attractions and events to check out this season. Read on to learn more about zombies in NJ as well as the happenings going on.
Zombie Events in the Area
Civic pride is apparent when ghoulish populations rise from their cemetery plots to gather and welcome in the Halloween season. The majority of the zombies you will meet on New Jersey streets, fields, and boardwalks are volunteering in their quest for brains.
This year, the Asbury Park Zombie Walk rose again on Oct 1st, in an anniversary of the first zombie outbreak that took place there in 2008. This storied undead spectacle draws in local businesses, special guest appearances, music and stage events, and all kinds of gorey party fabulousness. Freehold’s Spooktakular on October 16th, featured local zombies performing live spooky scenes and haunting the hayride route for the Haunted Hayrides, all for the sheer joy of it.
Zombie Footage Abound
Alarmed travelers on Route 35 near the Holmdel Motor Inn this last July who caught sight of zombies roaming the area didn’t just witness an everyday zombie happening. They had come across zombie celebrities. Scenes from a Walking Dead spinoff titled Isle of the Dead were shot in Holmdel and Newark throughout the 2022 summer months. The new series will premiere in 2023.
This year, Jersey City’s Zombie Opera, created during the pandemic by Half-Light Productions, is back in its third iteration. This star-studded, limb-ripping performance will be held on Saturday, October 29th from 6PM to 8:30PM at the Hamilton Park gazebo. Who can resist glam opera diva zombies?
NJ Zombies Bring Us Together
Whether looking to bond with chosen family, roommates, bridal party ghoul-friends, teen children, or comrades in the workplace, zombie activities are a way to unite. There is Zombie Survival Camp, with outdoor daylong and weekend camp sessions for team building.
Zombie Survival Camp recruits meet in central New Jersey in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, which is, of course, inhabited by the legendary Jersey Devil. There, they learn advanced first-aid techniques, knife throwing, crossbow, fire and water safety skills, and, naturally, Zombitsu — a very specialized close-quarters hand-to-hand fighting style.
Zombie enthusiasts looking for less of a time and financial commitment might download a zombie scavenger hunt in the Jersey City game app for a self-led challenge. The app places the players’ world in chaos with zombies outnumbering the living 10 to 1. Teams are placed in small colonies doing all they can to survive. Teams battle other rival colonies amongst the living to search Jersey City for food, supplies, shelter, and transportation; gaining points, and — if they show great dead-ication — making it more likely to win… and survive.
See More: The Best Fall Activities in New Jersey
Not All ‘Zombies’ Are Good
It would be wrong to paint all zombies with the same brush. Not every zombie you meet is doing the work of angels. There are, for example, zombie bugs that, if encountered, must be crushed. Occasional years bring us zombie cicadas, but the insect of evil we all worry about most would have to be the spotted lanternfly. The experience of stomping and smashing these beautiful monsters has, unfortunately, become a feature of late summer living.
Of course, bad zombies must be addressed. That’s a no-brainer. Montclair’s plan to reclaim the city’s “Zombie Lane” will replace a forsaken section of land in Montclair, around Ridgewood Avenue and Osborne Street, with an entryway into the Essex-Hudson Greenway — a linear park that will stretch the nearly nine miles to Jersey City and encompass eight towns and cities. It’s a gravely serious plan that we can all look forward to.