August 8, 2013 Updated: August 8, 2013 at 4:40 pm
Don't be alarmed if you see bar hoppers dressed in ripped clothing or covered in blood splatters Saturday night.
The third annual Zombie Pub Crawl attracts all the Springs zombie wannabees, says organizer Samantha Lawrence, who expects to see about 600 pub crawlers fill the streets of downtown.
The idea began two years ago when Lawrence and her boyfriend, Mitch Nielsen, moved to Colorado Springs from North Dakota. When the two had no luck finding a pub crawl, they decided just to start their own. Nielsen is a huge zombie fan, which inspired the walking dead theme.
"You get to dress up however you want and get all dirty and no one really cares," Lawrence says.
Now, the concept of zombies is arguably much more popular than it was just a couple of years ago. Despite the concern that the theme is overdone in the media, Lawrence doesn't see the crawl changing themes to avoid being just another follower of the fad.
The event begins at 7 p.m. Saturday at Acacia Park. Zombies are asked to gather at 6 p.m. At 7, the group will shamble to the first few bars, beginning with Tony's Downtown Bar. The next stop is Jose Muldoon's, followed by V Bar and Gasoline Alley, after which attendees will disperse to other participating venues, including the Thirsty Parrot.
Many participating bars and clubs are offering specials to those dressed up as zombies. Lawrence says both Tony's and the Thirsty Parrot will have "buy a shot, get a free beer" specials. Gasoline Alley will also offer a free shot. The Cowboys and The Mansion will have free cover for zombies, and Blondie's will give pub crawlers a coupon for either a free shot or a free mixed drink.
Besides the crawlers, those at the bars get into the theme as well.
"They get so excited every year for it," Lawrence says. "Sometimes the bartenders even dress up as zombies themselves. We check in after the pub crawl and they love the fact that there's blood all over the bathroom, and they laugh about it."
Lawrence says there will also be a raffle for participating zombies, including old-school zombie movies and gift certificates to some of the participating bars. These raffles will occur at each stop.
The event goes until 2 a.m., so if you don't want to get there as early as 7 p.m., there are a couple of ways to stay updated on the group's location.
"If the zombies don't stand out enough, like I'm sure they do, we have one of our friends dress up as a bright green plant," she says. "Or they can always check in on Twitter. We update Twitter every time we switch a bar."
If you want to go the social media route, the pub crawl's twitter handle is @SpringsZombies.
The pub crawl has almost doubled in size since it was created. The first year, downtown was infested with 350 walking dead. Last year, that number increased to 400.
Lawrence says the ultimate goal is to shut down downtown.
"There's one in Minneapolis," she says. The only way you can get in is you have to pre-buy zombie wristbands, and that's the only way you can get into downtown because there are so many people."
Zombie Pub Crawl
When: 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday
Where: Meet at Acacia Park, 115 E. Platte Ave. Participating downtown bars include Tony's, Jose Muldoon's, V Bar, Gasoline Alley, The Thirsty Parrot, Blondie's, The Mansion and Cowboys.
Tickets: Free, but food and drink costs will vary by bar; www.facebook.com/SpringsZombiePubCrawl