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Last updated: Fri. Oct. 21, 2011 - 04:36 pm EDT

Frightful, delightful

Ghouls, fun-seekers to haunt downtown

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If you go

What: Fright Night

When: Noon to midnight Saturday (Face-painting for the Zombie Walk starts at 2:30 p.m. at 900 Library Plaza. The walk starts at 5:30 p.m.)

Where: Downtown Fort Wayne, various locations

Admission: Free, although there is a charge for some events. For more information, go to the Downtown Improvement District’s blog at

Last year, 3,000 people purportedly showed up for the Downtown Improvement District’s Zombie Walk, which is only one component of its annual Fright Night festivities.

Zombie Walk’s popularity has grown every year to a point where the DID office has had to cook up new strategies to accommodate all the people who want to take part in it.

The fourth annual Fright Night happens Saturday at various downtown locations.

Zombie Walk was introduced to Fright Night in 2008.

The concept was to grant the fondest wish of exhibitionistic zombie fans by allowing them to pretend to be part of a zombie invasion.

Downtown Improvement District marketing director Tena Woenker says the face painters who helped some Zombie Walk participants get into character last year were so overwhelmed with requests for zombification that the DID is asking people who plan to attend this year to come with their base makeup already applied.

Base makeup, in white or gray, is available at all area Halloween and costume stores, Woenker says.

Or better yet: Do the whole job yourself.

There are plenty of ways to look like the walking dead, only one of which involves partying till dawn.

Area stores have basic and complex cosmetics kits designed to achieve whatever the opposite of beautification is.

If all else fails, there’s always Mom’s makeup table.

Woenker says there will be entertainment at three points in the “Zombie Walk” – a WAJI van at the start of the line, the End Times Spasm Band on a float in the middle and Samuel TrueBeDoor and his magic bus bringing up the rear.

Despite what The Who claimed, you can’t get too much magic bus.

“The parade was three blocks long last year,” Woenker says, “and that meant that people couldn’t hear the music at the front of the line. So we have interspersed music throughout the parade this year.”

Woenker says there will be more activities going on during the daylight hours prior to Fright Night this year.

Those activities will include children’s crafts and games at the Community Center and the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, and a Science Central table at 900 Library Plaza, where kids can make their own “ghost snot.”

Ghost snot, according to Science Central’s marketing and development director Julie Burkholder Tutwiler, is glow-in-the-dark slime.

Ghost decongestant is, presumably, harder to obtain.

New to Fright Night this year are the Anime Ball (a rave-style dance for which teens are encouraged to dress as their favorite characters from Japanese pop culture), a Halloween-themed show at the Fort Wayne Dance Collective, a bonfire at the Courtyard by Marriot, and fresh ghost-hunting ventures at the Alexander T. Rankin House and the Embassy Theatre.

The Embassy will host an overnight ghost hunt that is limited to 60 participants, Woenker says.

To be included on that list of 60, contact Embassy marketing director Dana Poffenberger.

The biggest addition to “Fright Night” this year might be a party called Braineaters’ Ball.

Cinema Center is the host and the locale is the space that was until recently occupied by Artlink.

Cinema Center’s executive director Catherine Lee says theaters such as hers are typically expected to offer “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at this time of year (that film will be screened in the courtyard of the botanical conservatory on Fright Night).

“We were happy to jump in with something a little different,” she says.

Lee asked Cinema Center board member Jeffrey Melton (aka electronic musician Nofi) to round up some of the area’s best DJs.

Braineaters’ Ball will “be very casual,” Lee says, with pizza, skull-shaped cupcakes, dancing, beer and wine, art for sale, some surprising free footage on the Cinema Center screen and a $3 showing of the British alien invasion comedy “Attack the Block.”

Woenker says the DID has added a free trolley to Fright Night this year to ferry people among points of interest.

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