Downtown Lodi was filled with people who resembled the living dead.
After all, that was the theme Saturday night as the second annual Lodi Zombie Walk provided revelry, a special zombie cake, dancing to the Michael Jackson classic "Thriller," a sometimes racy burlesque show and a midnight zombie movie.
"Why, that's mighty good brains," Zombie Walk organizer Tom Presler said as he grabbed some frosting resembling brains from cake delivered to a Downtown alley.
While many played the traditional zombie part, others just went out to do some first-class people-watching.
"I came all the way from Walnut Creek," said Julaine Moore, who was seated with some friends outside Rosewood restaurant.
Lodi resident Teri Spring said she brought five people to Rosewood, where several empty drink classes were on their table. They didn't dress in Halloween garb, but they enjoyed what they saw.
Before the Zombie Walk, festivities were held in an extremely crowded alley east of School Street between Pine and Elm streets. They included the zombie cake filled with ugly brains and detached fingers.
There was a graveyard with tombstones of people like Ace Ventura, Freddy Krueger, Alfred Hitchcock and, in the spirit of the Oakland Raiders, the late Al Davis and Gene Upshaw. It was a perfect location for zombies to pose for photos.
Presler conducted a costume contest, and Patricia Moore led a dance of the Michael Jackson hit "Thriller" before zombies headed to School Street to start their walk through town.
One of the major revelers was Mara Byrne, of Lodi, who brought three Galt friends, Vicki, Andres and Amanda Ramos. All had faces caked with blood and gruesome black stitches. Byrne was busy giving out black roses.
Presler, dressed in a monk's outfit and derby hat, told the crowd that the Zombie Walk was about the arts, individualism, freedom and supporting small, local businesses.
"We're here to support our troops and vets," Presler said.
And if it wasn't Presler making the necessary announcements, it was "Miss Zombrella," who in real life is Billy Dee Herrera, costume designer for Costumes in Lodi. Herrera was dressed as a rather big-boned woman as he talked in a husky voice.
The emcee for the late-night burlesque show as also a man dressed as a woman. He wouldn't give his name, but his stage name was Nicky.
The burlesque show at Last Call on Sacramento Street didn't have any seating unless you showed up early and took a seat at the bar. The show, almost an hour long, got more risqué toward the end as the women ended up topless except for pasties.
The evening ended with a midnight movie at the American Legion Hall, and Downtown bars continued with special zombie drinks until the 2 a.m. closing time.
Presler plans to continue to make the zombie walk an annual event, and announced plans to have a St. Patrick's Day next year.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.