In planning for its first 5K run, the St. Charles Park District decided to incorporate a theme that has become increasingly popular – zombies.
“We thought it would be a good way to start off,” said Kristi Brewer, aquatics and youth programs supervisor for the St. Charles Park District.
Interest in zombies is soaring, made evident by the number of activities featuring a zombie theme. Among those participating in the recent 5K Family Zombie Fun Run & Walk at St. Charles Park District’s Primrose Farm were David and Amanda Tatko of St. Charles and their two children, Braydon, 6, and Adalyn, 4.
David and Amanda Tatko are devoted fans of the TV series “The Walking Dead,” a show about a group of post-apocalyptic survivors battling flesh-eating zombies.
While Amanda Tatko and her two children were dressed as zombies, David Tatko came as Sheriff Rick Grimes of “The Walking Dead.”
“We started watching halfway through the second season, then went back and watched the previous episodes,” David Tatko said.
Although Tatko said he is not typically into zombie movies, “The Walking Dead” caught his interest.
“It came together pretty nicely,” he said. “It seemed real. I like the fact that each character has a role to play.”
Because of the graphic violence in “The Walking Dead,” they don’t let their kids watch the show. David Tatko called it “a mommy-and-daddy thing.”
With gray makeup plastered all over his face, Nick Manthei, 12, of West Chicago, did his best to look like a zombie during the 5K Family Zombie Fun Run.
Nick also is a fan of “The Walking Dead.”
“It’s entertaining,” he said.
In past years, a Zombie Walk was held in conjunction with Batavia MainStreet’s BatFest in downtown Batavia.
The event also served as a fundraiser for Batavia Music Buffs, S.T.A.G.E. (which supports Batavia High School theatrical productions) and Batavia MainStreet.
The event was not part of this year’s BatFest. In the past, it had attracted hundreds of participants.
“The interest was still totally there,” Batavia MainStreet Executive Director Joi Cuartero said. “It was just a matter of manpower.”
Once again, the Fox Valley Park District’s Zombie Invasion 5K in Aurora attracted hundreds of people, either as participants or spectators. This was the second year of the event, which was held in September.
“It is like a niche race,” Fox Valley Park District public relations manager Jeff Long said. “You have people who want to combine recreation with something that is unique.”
Those who participated could sign up as a racer or a zombie. Racers had to run, climb and crawl through a series of obstacles to escape the zombies. Long said it “gets people excited about fitness.”
“It doesn’t feel like you are doing a workout regimen,” Long said. “You are out there having fun.”
In April, Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove hosted a lecture by “World War Z” author and zombie expert Max Brooks. His book recently was made into a movie starring Brad Pitt.
About 300 people came to hear the lecture, which didn’t surprise Doug Grier, dean for community education at Waubonsee Community College, who said zombies “have captured the popular imagination.”
During the lecture, Brooks expressed his own opinions about why zombies have become so popular.
“He thought that it was because in these times of uncertainty, it is a way to kind of deal with your fears in a safe context,” Grier said.
Trick or treat
Suggested hours for trick-or-treating on Halloween:
• Batavia – 4 to 7 p.m.
• Geneva – 3 to 7 p.m. Downtown businesses will be passing out treats to children from 2 to 5 p.m.
• St. Charles – 3 to 7 p.m.
• North Aurora - 4 to 8 p.m.
• Elburn – 4 to 8 p.m.
• Sugar Grove – 4 to 7 p.m.
• Campton Hills – 4 to 8 p.m.
• Kaneville – 4 to 8 p.m.
• Aurora – 4 to 7:30 p.m.