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Most reasonable adults admit that the re-animated corpses called zombies aren't real. But when it comes to products and services aimed at surviving a zombie apocalypse, reality doesn't seem to matter.
The sentiment, "there are no zombies yet " often rises in conversations, in books such as Max Brooks' "Zombie Survival Guide," and in products and services like the 10 that follow.
In this way, the zombie apocalypse has already come. An invasion of walking dead has gripped the public imagination and is busy chowing down on pop culture.
Even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention got in on the fun last year with its Zombie Preparedness campaign, which it says began as a tongue-in-cheek campaign but proved an effective platform for educating about preparedness for all hazards. FEMA agreed in a recent webinar.
Aside from any redeeming emergency preparedness effects of zombie prepping, some businesses might just be capitalizing on a trend. For example, Sportsman's Warehouse has a page dedicated to Zombie Survival products—consisting of everyday weaponry and outdoors gear.
Whatever the intention behind these items, it's Zombie Awareness Month, so let's take a look at 10 zombie items and experiences.
By Colleen Kane
Posted 19 Oct. 2012
Price: $10.99 - $134.99 per box
According to the Hornady website, its Zombie Max ammunition and Z-Max bullets are "proven"—"Have you seen a zombie?" the text says, by way of backing up this claim. The site also has a disclaimer asserting that these live ammunition bullets are only for zombie use—never on human beings, plants, vegetables or minerals.
The idea came from Hornady President Steve Hornady, who is a fan of zombie movies and TV shows. Earlier this year, firearms salesman John Murray to CNBC who these bullets are for. "Everybody. They work just like any other bullet, but the tip is green."
Price: $14.40 per 8 pack paper targets - $99.99 per archery target
Zombie targets are available in the cheaper format of paper as well as in the costlier three-dimensional forms for use with bullets or in the case of the one pictured here, with arrows. Undead Fred by Delta McKenzie Targets is made from self-healing foam to endure numerous arrow wounds from a practicing archer.
As with any good horde of TV or movie zombies, the costumes of these ex-living individuals indicate that they come from all walks, with one paper target line featuring a butcher, a socialite and a pizza delivery guy. But across the different brands brands of shooting targets, there is a preponderance of undead clowns, Nazis and terrorist zombies.
The online marketplace Etsy conjures images of precious knitted, felted, and/or quilted products handmade by independent crafters. But the site's handmade merchandise often runs into the dark, geeky, and gothic end of the spectrum. So it makes perfect sense there's a corner of Etsy selling handmade zombie-themed items—of course there is.
A subsection of the zombie category includes zombie-fighting weapons. What is a rifle axe, you ask? Well, zombies don't stop coming just because you ran out of bullets, and there isn't always a Cabela's nearby. This 3-by-14- inch steel blade from seller Plan B Armory is a backup plan. Or, as the description suggests, "you may forget about your ammo altogether and channel your inner berserker."
Another seller on Etsy offers a $200 "Post Apocalyptic Zombie Bat" in a coffin case and a $136 "Zombie Battle Axe."
If this Gerber Apocalypse Kit with Canvas Knife Roll looks familiar, it may be because it made a cameo on "The Walking Dead." According to the site selling the kit, All Cool Tools, the first limited edition of 200 quickly sold out.
This second limited-edition kit comes with two machetes, a parang, a camp ax, an infantry knife, a folder knife, and a drop-point knife. All Cool Tools carries 65 more weapons and tools in its shopping category "Zombie Killer and Apocalypse."
The 2012 Zombie Apocalypse Disaster Survival Preparedness Bug Out Bag from Patriot Outfitters is not the only game in town when it comes to pre-packed zombie survival kits, but it just might be the most expensive one.
This kit features a tube tent, waterproof matches, a sheathed fixed blade, a Swiss-style knife, a sharpener, a hatchet, a mess kit, a canteen, a first-aid kit, insect repellant, food rations and energy bars, water purification tablets, a windup flashlight, a five-bulb headlamp, among other survival supplies.
Entrepreneurs, take heed: Armor is one necessary category notably lacking in products directed at zombie preppers. Of course, a survivor looking for body protection can appropriate police riot gear (although on the season premiere of "The Walking Dead," police armor seems to have been easily compromised). Or the more handy and resourceful survivors can rig up some sort of lightweight chain mail or ventilated leather armor.
Meanwhile, for the live-action role players out there, there is an acrylic zombie armor costume for sale on eBay offered at $900 (with no promise of protection). Assembly is required.
Price: varies—see below
It's little help to have a weapon in an outbreak of the undead if you don't know how to use or maintain it, or if you can't keep nourished when takeout food is no longer an option. If disaster strikes, will you be prepared?
The Zombie Survival Course in South Jersey teaches post-apocalypse skills such as finding and building shelter and collecting supplies, shooting firearms and a crossbow and how to hotwire a car. Day classes are $179 and weekend classes are $450 per person.
In addition, nationwide sporting goods retailer REI is offering survival classes throughout the country (it's actually its normal free emergency preparedness class with a seasonal zombie theme). The social work department at Michigan State University even offers a zombie survival class called "Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse: Catastrophes & Human Behavior."
Price: $3.99 and $7.99 for app, $40 - $125 for class
There are two kinds of people in a zombie apocalypse: the quick and the undead. Therefore, zombie preppers who are more likely to be found sedentary watching horror films than exercising will want step up their game. "The keys to surviving Z-day are simple," reads the website for the Chicago-based program ZombieFit. "Be able to lift and throw heavy things, run fast and for long distances, be situationally aware and be able to navigate obstacles and urban environments in an efficient manner." ZombieFit's parkour workouts promise the answer to these requirements.
Part zombie game, part fitness training program, the Zombies, Run! app (pictured at left) is another option to get fit with a zombie twist. It can be used to inspire, entertain and train on a treadmill, or while walking or running in the great outdoors.
It can't be all struggling for survival following a zombie outbreak. Classic zombie films such as the 1978 "Dawn of the Dead" and the 2004 remake remind us that shopping malls will still be around with plenty of stock for the picking (while supplies last)—and that includes their Hot Topic shops.
Iron Fist clothing, purveyor of mass produced goth/punkish fashions, has a line of zombie-adorned vegan shoes, pumps and boots called Zombie Stomper. The black high-heel boots pictured at left (for sale on eBay) have a motif of grabbing zombie hands. An even less practical model from the line for stomping zombies are the platform heels, each covered in a zombie face with a decorative bow at the back.
Price: runner fees were $77 - $87 at time of publish
You've thought about the coming zombie troubles and trained for it long enough. Now it's time to test your mettle in a real-life zombie-infested environment. Run for Your Lives is a live-action 5K obstacle course taking place over the next few weeks in four rural areas around the country. Runners are given flags that are their "lives," and if all lives are snatched by zombies, they become undead. Anyone who finishes the course, alive or undead, is admitted to the Apocalypse Party afterward.
The Run for Your Lives events are nearing full or sold out, and 18 additional locations have already been added for 2013. Many other independently organized zombie runs, pub crawls, conventions, obstacle courses, and scavenger hunts are scheduled throughout the Halloween season.