Artist crafts a zombie invasion

Paul Castle hopes to bring out the Shuswap’s undead for the second annual Salmon Arm Zombie Walk.

Bring out your undead: Paul Castle ponders a pointless purchase while out on the 2011 Salmon Arm Zombie Walk.

Bring out your undead: Paul Castle ponders a pointless purchase while out on the 2011 Salmon Arm Zombie Walk.

Paul Castle hopes to bring out the Shuswap’s undead for the second annual Salmon Arm Zombie Walk.

Last year’s event attracted a grisly cast of animated cadavers, acted out by family and friends of Castle’s with a shared passion for the walking dead.

This year, Castle would love to see others join in the zombie walk, slated to begin at the Ross Street Plaza at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13.

“It would be nice to get a few people from outside… I’ve encountered a lot of like-minded people and it seems to be pretty popular in other cities so I thought why not here,” says Castle. “I went to one in Kelowna over the spring and there was well over 100 of us. I’d be happy if we got 20 or 30 people though.”

While Castle considers the walk a family event (last year’s participants included toddlers and grandparents), it’s not necessarily for the squeamish. This is due in part to Castle, who is a professionally-trained make-up artist with a knack for transforming the living into eerily convincing flesh-hungry ghouls.

“I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember,” says Castle. “I got into make-up artistry in the late ’90s and I went to John Casablancas in Vancouver and got a diploma and found it really hard to get work in make-up artistry, so I just kind of do it on the side. I do all other art forms as well, but this one is just enjoyable and you can wear it around.”

Not surprisingly, Castle is a long-time fan of zombie movies.

“There’s just something intriguing about the undead I guess,” he explains. “Mostly the horror effects. A lot more of the how it’s done side of it. I stopped getting scared of movies a long time ago because I wanted to know how it was done.”

Also not surprising is how big Halloween is for Castle and his family.

“It keeps me busy for at least a month in advance,” says Castle. “We’ve done a lot of haunted houses as well. I’ve helped the Lions Club in Enderby with their Halloween events. We built a couple of haunted houses there.”

This year’s zombie walk will begin and end at the plaza and stick to the downtown core. More information can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SalmonArmZombieWalk. If anyone is interested, and with enough advance notice, Castle says he’s willing to meet at the plaza prior to the walk, to do a bit of a zombie make-up workshop. He stresses, however, that the walk is a fun event and participants, while undead, are still expected to be civil.

“I’ve been very adamant that leaving blood smears on buildings would be considered vandalism, and things like that…,” says Castle. “In the end, it is just a bunch of people going for a walk. They just happen to be wearing costumes.”