Heading into the spooky month of October, the Fine Arts Club decided to host an event right before Halloween.
Three days earlier on October 28th, 2022, students participated in the Zombie Tag Event hosted right after school. The last time the club held these types of events was the Friday before Christmas and Halloween before the pandemic.
Before attending this event, students had the opportunity to purchase tickets on sale for $5 during all lunches that week. If they did not buy a ticket before the event, they could do so at the time of the event.
Senior Jose Mejia explained that he first heard about the event through social media and posters around the school. He added that it would be “really fun to run around the school without consequences.”
The event was set to begin at 2:45 PM, but those who purchased tickets could show up early. Beginning around 2:30 PM, students started to show up at Cafe B to settle down and await further instructions for the game.
Soon later, the staff for the event, the members of the Fine Arts Club, began checking in the participants with their tickets and provided them bandanas, which serve a purpose for the game.
The bandana would be placed on one of two spots on their bodies, depending on their role. They must have it tied around their left arm if they are survivors. Otherwise, their bandana is worn around their neck if they are a zombie or become one.
Beginning at 2:45 PM, the Advisor of the Fine Arts Club Joseph Luongo started giving instructions to the participants. First and foremost, Luongo explained the rules.
1: No overaggressiveness, pushing, shoving, or running people over.
2: No cheating (being dishonest or utilizing external resources other than the provided materials)
3: Only the second floor is available for the event
4: No hiding in any rooms, including the bathroom and inside lockers
5: If tagged by a zombie, they must remove the bandana from your arm and place it around your neck.
Luongo then explained the objectives of the game afterward. At the beginning of each round, a few players will take on the zombie role. The rest of the participants will be the survivors. The zombies must tag all the survivors before the time for the round ends to win.
The staff passed out socks to the participants which the survivors could use against zombies. If they are in a dire situation and throw their sock at the zombie, hitting them successfully, the zombie must freeze in place for ten seconds, thus allowing the survivor to get away. They can pick up the sock afterward if they want to. However, if the zombie catches the sock, the survivor becomes a zombie.
When it was time, Principal Chris Mastrangelo spoke on the intercom and announced that the zombies had invaded Malden High School, marking the start of the first round. At the beginning of the first round, sophomore Milan Nyguen and senior Jose Mejia volunteered to be the first zombies. The survivors proceeded to the second floor to hide.
Mejia explained he volunteered to “make the first round fun with a good impression for the next ones to come.” He hoped “I could get the adrenaline for others to start pumping” when he chased them down.
Zombies began tagging survivors almost immediately after proceeding up to the second floor. Chaos began to erupt as they started chasing survivors from Boyle into the Holland building. Survivors were frantic as they ran away from those pursuing them. It did not take long before they were cornered and turned into zombies. Within minutes of the round, almost all survivors turned into zombies. A short moment later, the round ended with no survivors.
As a former track athlete, Mejia thought “pacing [himself] and speed adjustments came in handy” during the game.
Before the start of the second round, Luongo gave all the participants an update on the game. They were now able to use the third floor alongside the second.
Since this was the first round with multiple floors accessible, a lot was going on at once. One survivor decided to give himself up once he was cornered by another zombie, knowing he could not get out of there. Since there had not been any survivors in the first round, it was evident that adding another floor had increased the number of survivors.
A new pair of zombies was selected for the third round. Participants were given around ten minutes to reach their objective, either surviving until the very end or tagging all the survivors. Once the round began, survivors started to spread out onto the third floor to provide themselves with the highest chance of survival. At this point, survivors were getting into groups as this allowed them to defend themselves better with their socks. Senior Andrew Landaverde, one of the original zombies, surrounded a group of survivors in Holland. However, he was quickly overwhelmed by the group and had yet to tag anyone successfully.
The excitement and energy of the participants remained the same throughout the fourth and fifth rounds. As these were the final rounds of the game, the survivors could be seen having fun with each other.
Within seconds before the fourth round ended, a horde of zombies saw two survivors hiding behind trash barrels and caught them just in time. The survivors were, of course, disappointed as they were so close to victory.
As the event narrowed to the end, during the final round, most participants formed groups and decided to control a section of the Holland building. The groups then formed blockades to restrict zombies from entering their area. They were successful until a swarm of zombies came down from the third floor, chasing them away from their region.
At the end of the fifth round, a survivor emerged from the original spot behind the trash barrels, the same spot where the two survivors were caught, smiling.
Mejia expressed he “absolutely loved the game.” He closed off by saying, “It was a great way for me to socialize, and would definitely attend another one. I felt so relieved to be able to put school work aside and just enjoy the moment.”
Landaverde also felt he had a lot of fun. “The experience of being a zombie was fun, but it was a lot of work.” Like Mejia, Landarverde added, “if there were another event like this, I would definitely attend it.”