HAZEL PARK — Last year, a Girl Scouts troop raised the dead with the revival of a beloved Hazel Park tradition, the Zombie Walk.
This year’s event is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 25, starting at 6:30 p.m. outside Hazel Park City Hall, 111 E. Nine Mile Road. The walk will officially commence at 7 p.m., walking up and down John R Road. Dressing up and staying in character are encouraged (without eating people, of course), but costumes and role playing are not required.
Participants are once again asked to bring one or more canned or nonperishable food items to donate to the Hazel Park Holiday Baskets, which are arranged for those in need at Christmas.
The walk was originally managed by Park City Entertainment, which started it in 2008 as a way to fill the pantries of local churches. People from across metro Detroit would come dressed as the living dead and proceed to shamble down the road, eliciting bewildered stares from onlookers who weren’t in on the joke.
However, prior to last year, the event had been on hiatus for several years. It was Girl Scout Troop No. 75297, led by Gail Colangelo and Cyndi Ciesluk, that brought it back. The troop is comprised of high schoolers and junior high schoolers.
The Hazel Park City Manager’s Office helped advertise its return last year, creating a flyer and circulating it online, while the Scouts posted copies in local businesses. It was the troop’s first service project of 2018, through which Scouts could earn a community badge.
As for the Hazel Park Holiday Baskets, applications will be available in Hazel Park Public Schools during the coming weeks, open to Hazel Park residents through November. One can also donate at the same locations.
Volunteers will then help pack boxes at Webb Elementary School in mid-December, to be distributed around the same time. In addition to nonperishable food, the baskets include a holiday ham, books, board games, hats, mittens, toys and more. About 250 families receive the baskets each year.
“As a community, we stand together to help one another through tough times,” Ciesluk said.
The troop leaders hope the walk will also teach their Scouts valuable life lessons.
“I would like the girls to learn many different things, but I think the biggest thing to take from this would be that everyone can help everyone, and nobody is better than anyone,” Colangelo said. “With all of the things you hear about bullying, I hope that letting the girls know they’re helping people in the community — or maybe even a friend they didn’t know needed help — will give them a feeling of pride.”