Just last week, I told you about how my four years at the University of Minnesota Morris were quite possibly the best four years of my life. I told you that I racked up adventures and misadventures alike, and I told you that I had lots of college stories to tell.
This is one such
I didn't know it
when I applied, but UMM (a public liberal arts school) had a reputation
for being full of weird kids. (Had I known it when I applied, I would've have
applied much sooner and would've spent much more time on my "tell us about
yourself" essay.) The reputation was well-earned: in my time at UMM, the
arts kids ruled the place. We were only vaguely aware that we had sports teams,
and the athletes were so few and far between that we couldn't name one if
asked. At UMM, you were judged not by your athletic prowess, but by your
creativity and quirk. It was my home sweet home.
As a school for
weird kids, UMM offered weird kid activities. I was a sophomore in October
2006, and zombies were just starting to be cool. UMM was quick to hop on the
zombie train , and they decided to put on... Zombie Prom.
My friend Sara and I
were ecstatic. We were going to go to Zombie Prom, and we were going to be the
prettiest zombies at the ball. But of course, we had NOTHING to wear.
One thing you need
to know about Morris is that shopping options are limited: especially if you're
looking for the perfect Zombie Prom dress. At the time, Morris offered a Pamida
(which has since become ShopKo), a junky consignment store (which I believe is
still there), a super expensive clothing store that appeared to specialize in
department store cast-offs from the early 90s, and a Salvation Army.
Guess where Sara and
I went shopping?
This was the one and
only time that I set foot in the Morris Salvation Army (affectionately known to
the college kids as the Salvo). It was that special kind of trashy thrift store
that smelled like a thousand grandmas' basements, and you felt like you had
bedbugs the minute you stepped in the door. It was the perfect place for Zombie
Or so we thought.
What we really wanted were old prom dresses or bridal gowns that we could tear
apart and douse in fake blood, but no such luck. Either the Salvation Army
never had anything so nice, or other would-be zombies got to the store before
we did. Our shopping trip was pretty last-minute (aka, the day of Zombie Prom),
so we didn't have time to take a trip to Alexandria (45 minutes away and the
home of much nicer thrift stores). We had to make do with the Salvation Army.
To make up for the
lack of sartorial options, Sara and I gave our zombies personas. She was Easter
Dress Zombie, and I was 80s Businesswoman Zombie. We bought our outfits
and made a stop at the local Pamida for the appropriate zombie makeup. Supplies
in hand, we set up shop in Sara's apartment to zombify ourselves.
Problem: we had no
idea how to zombify ourselves.
We started with our
outfits. Scissors in hand, we cut and chopped and ripped and tore our clothing
into shreds. Armed with fake blood, we smeared the sticky liquid all over our
clothes. Outfits = done.
But ahead us was a
bigger problem: zombie makeup. Pamida didn't have any of those nice decaying
flesh shades of green and grey, so we bought black and white. Our aim was to
give ourselves a deathly pallor and top it off with quintessential dark zombie
circles around our undead eyes. Yes, that was our intent... but the execution
was a tad flawed. Not possessing any real zombie makeup skills meant that we
looked less like brain-eating monsters and more like cute pandas.
Every good zombie
needs their hair done for prom, so Sara and I curled ours all nice... and
turned it grey. We found some Halloween spray-can hair dye at Pamida, so
clearly we had to buy it. Because all prom-going zombies have grey hair.
The entrance fee to
Zombie Prom was one canned good, so Sara and I shambled over to food service
(yes, prom was held in the food service building) with our canned corn and
cream of mushroom soup. We stepped in the building to find that our old familiar cafeteria
had been transformed into a zombie paradise. Black garbage bags covered the
floors and walls, and mist from a fog machine swirled through the air. There
was even a little cemetery.
I don’t remember how
long we stayed at Zombie Prom, but I remember two very specific things: 1.)
this was the very first time I had seen “Thriller” performed live en masse, and
2.) Sara and I got our zombie makeup on EVERYTHING.
And that zombie
makeup? REALLY hard to wash off.
Zombie Prom came
around again in October 2007, when we were juniors. This time, James and I went
together in fancy clothes, calling ourselves Swing Dancing Zombies. But there
was something different about this Zombie Prom. The decorations were lacking,
as was the population. There were no zombies dancing to “Thriller”. There were
a few undead freshman roaming about, but that was it. Considering the fantastic
time we had last year, Zombie Prom 2007 was a profound disappointment.
That was the last
time I went to Zombie Prom. I think there was another one when I was a senior,
but I had definitely aged out by that point.
has exploded since that first Zombie Prom. While there are no more proms to
attend, I have shambled in two Sioux Falls Zombie Walks and am planning on
doing so again this year. Sadly, my zombie makeup skills have not improved in
the years since Zombie Prom.