Zombie Eau-Pocalypse crawls through downtown Eau Claire

Annual bar crawl features seven local bars and creative costumes


Photo by Julia Lopez

The Zombie Eau-pocalypse featured seven bars downtown on Saturday, October 19. Dozens of Eau Claire locals donned bloodstained clothes and milky-green faces to move from location to location.

If you noticed swarms of zombies stumbling through the streets of Eau Claire this weekend, fear not — it was all a part of an annual Halloween-themed pub crawl hosted by the bars of downtown Eau Claire.

The Zombie Eau-pocalypse featured seven bars downtown on Saturday, Oct. 19. Dozens of Eau Claire locals donned bloodstained clothes and milky-green faces to move from location to location. 

The participating bars included Wigwam, The Mousetrap, My Office, The Fire House, Clancy’s, The Plus and Scooter’s. Each welcomed participants with Halloween-themed drink specials, like caramel apple shots at The Mousetrap, and plenty of decorations. 

Though the event encouraged first-time participants to try out new local bars on Facebook, many avid zombies said they were regulars.

One such regular was Billie Benson, a bartender at the Wigwam and Depot and makeup artist and hairstylist. 

Benson ran a team of artists who did zombie makeup at the makeup and pre-party event hosted by the Depot from 4-7 p.m.

She said while she has been doing her own zombie looks for five years now, this was her first year doing it for other people. 

This was a little outside her normal routine, Benson said. She usually does makeup for events like proms and senior pictures, but she prepared by gathering zombie ideas from YouTube and Pinterest.

“This morning I had a wedding at 7 a.m.,” Benson said, while creating a fake wound using latex, oatmeal and fake blood. “So I did bridal makeup this morning, and now I’m here!”

Benson said she had done zombie makeup for around twenty people that night and had to call in help to wrap the event up by the Depot’s time limit. 

Amanda Novak, a fellow YouTube learner and zombie regular, said this was her first year doing makeup but her ninth year participating in the crawl. 

Both artists said their favorite part of the Eau-pocalypse is seeing the different creative costumes participants put together.

“You’ll see people who don’t look human,” Novak said. “You will see people who spent eight hours on their faces. I did!” 

They agreed blood and gore were common overall themes, but some people had creative takes like Disney characters or themed groups. 

For example, Benson said her group does a theme every year. This year’s was elderly zombies, and she said her favorite theme from the past was The Wizard of Oz. 

However, many participants stuck to a classic-corpse look. Jack Holstein, one person dressed as a zombie who said he was getting a lot of attention, had an arrow sticking out of his shoulder, complete with a wound and blood all over.

“I wanted something a little unique, and I’d never seen this done before,” he said. 

Holstein said this was his first year dressing up for the crawl, but, after seeing how excited people get about costumes, he plans to participate again. 

He said his favorite part was seeing people’s faces when they first saw his costume.

“The immediate reaction is really great because I can see what they think in their eyes,” Holstein said. “You can’t fake first impressions and that makes me feel really great about it.” 

Jeremiah Laughlin, another first-time crawler, also enjoyed the overall experience of creating a costume and seeing other people’s “living dead” creations. 

“You meet new people, you’re all dressed up,” Laughlin said. “You wanna get photos with everyone else and it’s just a really enjoyable time.” 

Lopez can be reached at [email protected]