A zombie horde invaded Comstock Park on Spokane’s South Hill on Saturday, but there were plenty of zombie slayers waiting for them.
At 6 p.m. dozens of kids lined up, Nerf guns at the ready, prepared to race across the park dodging zombies and zapping them with their guns. Kids ages 3-10 ran at full speed, led by “resistance fighters” who showed them the way and encouraged them. One shouted “For humanity!” as he led the charge.
They were only the first wave. Sessions for older children and adult “intense” players were held later in the evening.
Erica and Aaron Vorhies and their 6-year-old son Ayden were ready for the horde. They prepared by enthusiastically practicing their aim while shooting at each other.
“It just seemed like fun,” Erica Vorhies said. She and her husband are avid zombie enthusiasts, with their favorites including “Zombie Land,” “The Walking Dead” and “Dawn of the Dead” – the original.
“It’s something to do,” Aaron Vorhies said. “It’s always nice to come out and support local kids doing something.”
The teens who organized the event have formed a nonprofit organization called Apocalypse Corps. It has its roots in the Ferris High School drama program, which organizes an event every year to benefit a local charity.
“We usually do plays, but last year we did a Zombie Run,” Ferris junior Adin Haines said. “People loved it so much.”
Haines and his fellow drama students decided to form the nonprofit to expand what they could do. The group now includes students from other schools as well as some teens who have graduated.
“We do zombie runs and alien hunts and other fun stuff for charity,” Haines said. “We’re all drama kids. We like to dress up and have fun.”
Saturday’s run benefited The Source, a 2-year-old organization that works with teens in the juvenile justice system. Haines said he benefited from programs run by The Source, where he learned to work on cars and refinish furniture. He admits he was a troublemaker and got involved in crime and drugs early, describing it as a “malicious state of mind.”
That changed with help from The Source, Haines said.
“It turned my life around, honestly,” he said. “The Source really does a lot of things.”
Haines now holds down three jobs and supports himself. He said he hasn’t been in trouble with the law for two years and Saturday was a way to give back to the organization that helped him.
The work of the Apocalypse Corps was appreciated by the young zombie slayers, many of whom went through the course multiple times. Declan Hurley, 10, sat in the grass next to his mother and sipped a sports drink after his second run.
“It’s really fun,” he said. “It’s real cool how realistic they can make the costumes.”
Declan said he was taking a break before his third time through the lengthy course. Kids ran a route that was populated by zombies lying in wait. The kids had to shoot the undead, which dropped to the ground for a few seconds before rising again in search of another victim.
“If you finish at least once, you’ll probably have at least one cramp,” Declan said before dashing away to shoot more zombies.
“He’s been looking forward to this for two weeks,” said his mother, Sandy Hurley.
Her husband also was participating in the event with another of their sons.
“He’s probably the biggest kid of them all,” she said.