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How Zombies Crawl, Walk and Dance Their Way Into Saving Your Downtown

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It started with a simple night out at a zombie flick in Minneapolis, Minn.. But after the movie, Chuck Terhark's friends began acting like zombies, which they thought was pretty funny.

Now they lead 30,000 people a year to benefit local businesses and charities -- and serve as an example for how zombies are changing the world for the better, especially in October.

Across the country, people are gearing up for zombie walks, runs, dances and zombie pub crawls like the one in the Terhark's West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis.

"We'd just gone on a pub crawl a couple of days earlier, which we thought was a pretty fun time," Terhark said. Then came the zombie movie. "We put two and two together and came up with Zombie Pub Crawl."

That pub crawl has grown from 150 zombies the first year to more than 30,000 last year, and the event now takes eight to nine months of planning.

Terhark expected the event would help local businesses in the West Bank. "The benefits to local businesses are enormous, most of the bars that are included in the crawl see their highest sales of the year on the day of the crawl," Terhark says. "One bar owner told us it is like adding another month to the calendar."

But for-profits aren't the only ones who benefit. two years ago, zombies started paying to participate, with proceeds going to help pay for security during the crawl as well as to charity.

Terhark says that in the past two years, approximately $10,000 has been raised for local charity. This year, the event will benefit 11 local charities. "Sometimes we choose charities thematically. For instance, in the past we've given to Alzheimer's research because 'Healthy brains taste better,'" Terhark says.

Staff at Dance with Me, a dance studio in Springfield, Mo., realized they were on to something when three years ago they publicized they would be teaching the dance from the Michael Jackson video Thriller and had such an overwhelming response they weren't able to put on the production in the studio. They moved it to the street and C Street Zombie Corps was born.

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