How I spent my Halloween weekend with zombies


I stood on a pool deck by a bar at the top of an Austin, Texas hotel. Behind the bar is a zombie named Michael.

“So what kind of brains do you prefer eating?” I asked. “I prefer college students’ brains because they are pickled in alcohol,” he said as he held a water bottle filled with blood. 

“So what about older people’s brains? Are they rough to chew through?” I asked. “That’s a stupid question!” he yelled and threw the blood on my new white shirt.

This was how I spent my Halloween night—interviewing zombies.

The ACP/CMA fall conference is a collegiate journalism conference that is held every year and invites students from all over North America to come together to learn in Austin, Texas, a city that prides itself on staying weird.

The conference was divided over five days of nerdy journalism excitement. Some of the highlights included an exhibition hall where Yik Yak was giving away free socks if you wanted to learn how to use the app for news reporting, a session on bad ledes where if the speaker could write a better lede (the first part of an article) than the one you submitted, then you had to eat a cricket (I had to eat a cricket) and Zombie Stories.

Zombie Stories was a program started by the Society of Professional Journalists and students from Florida Golf Coast University.

Zombie Stories goes by the mantra “If you can interview a zombie, you can interview anyone.”

 Participants were given a new white T-shirt and were let loose in the Austin Hilton to interview “zombies” (students and advisors who were given professional zombie makeup jobs). If you asked a bad question such as “What’s it like to be a zombie?” then you were doused in fake blood. At the end of the night, you submitted your best questions and answers and the person with the best question won $50.

There were over 50 participants and around 7 zombies. At the end of the night, three winners were chosen. Two people won $20 and one person won $10. I was one of the $20 winners with my question of “Do people taste different biased on their life style? Can you tell if they are vegan?”

At the end of the night, the newly-bloodied journalists converged on 6th Street, Austin’s famous bar district, with thousands of others in costume.

This conference really showed me that journalism is something that I want to do for a very long time. It was so enlightening to meet others who shared my passion. Going to a conference about some that you love is one of the most rewarding and motivating experiences I can recommend. I can’t wait to go again next year.