Zombie flash mob brings Thriller to the streets this Halloween

October 21 – For most people, it’s a trip to Alaska or a sky dive. But for County Jill, her only bucket list dream was to organize a horde of zombies dancing to “Thrill”.

When she moved to Haywood County several years ago, she decided it was now or never, and began recruiting fellow zombies willing to put their decency aside, stand in front of a crowd of strangers and recreate the famous Michael Jackson scene.

From 2015 to 2019, the flash mob of zombies was a signature of local Halloween festivities. Now, after a two-year hiatus, The Walking Dead in Waynesville is rising from its slumber to revive the Thriller Flash mob.

For the spectators who witness this phenomenon, it is unforgettable. Thriller’s hypnotic opening hole starts pulsing from the loudspeaker, and suddenly, a horde of zombies appears on the street, dancing in unison.

“At a time when everyone is very fragmented, for a moment in time, we are in harmony,” the county said. “This was something off my list of things that I really wanted to try, and Haywood County just embraced it.”

The first time Sharon Gerrard experienced the “thriller” flash mob charm, she had no idea what was going on in front of her.

Gerrard, who joined and also started dancing, said, “I thought it was a bunch of random people who happened to be really good dancers. I had no idea they were a fast mob.”

Fortunately for Gerard, I found out that the kidnappers mob was at a grassroots level, and anything anyone could join. The group quickly expanded their repertoire beyond the “thrills” of Halloween and began staging other numbers throughout the year—suddenly set off dancing to “Uptown Funk” or “footloose enough” in the downtown Waynesville Block Parties.

The flash crowds even inspired Gerrard, the owner of the second home, to move to Haywood County full time.

“I enjoyed being a part of it so much, it motivated the decision. People dancing are happy, people watching are happy, and that’s just fun,” she said.

Where do you catch zombies?

After a two-year COVID hiatus, the Flash crowd is back, staging two Halloween “thrills” shows – one at 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 29 at Cabbage Rose in Maggie Valley in conjunction with a trunk or treat event, and one at 6 p.m. on Monday, 31 October, on Main Street in Waynesville in conjunction with Treats on the Street.

Anyone can be a part of the flash mob, and you don’t have to be a good dancer. Action moves have been modified to a simpler version that anyone can pick up.

Two practice rehearsals will take place from 2-4pm on October 23 and 24 at Nancy Weldon’s outdoor lounge in Lake Junaluska.

“It’s almost like an open house,” Gerrard said of the look.

If you can’t do that, there is a dance tutorial video on YouTube at youtu.be/gtD_yuj8gVI.

Meanwhile, dressing up zombies together is one of the easiest Halloween costumes out there.

“You’re a zombie, there’s no particular dress code,” the county said. “I went to a second-hand store and got a huge, oversized T-shirt with a few serrated holes in it.”

For more information, call Gerard at 704-914-6042.