DALLAS –  The first weekend in March saw the return of Walker Stalker Con, the affectionately and appropriately titled annual sci-fi, horror and zombie convention.

Thousands of horror fanboys and fangirls descended upon the Kay Bailey Hutchinson convention center in the heart of downtown for a weekend of bloody good times.

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Nearly two dozen actors and celebrity guests were on hand to meet with fans, sign autographs and pose for the obligatory selfie. Some of this year’s special guests included several cast members from AMC’s The Walking Dead, including Michael Rooker, Steven Yeun and Lew Temple, among others. Giancarlo Esposito, best known for his role of “Gus” on AMC’s Breaking Bad was also on hand, as well as horror icon, Russ Streiner who played “Johnny” in the original Night of the Living Dead.

DSC_9956One thing that set this con apart from other horror and sci-fi cons was the number of hands-on exhibits and “games” available for ticketholders. Each was set up like a small haunted house with inner mazes and corridors and rooms, each filled with “walkers”. Participants used toy guns modified to laser-tag-type specs to fend off zombies in mock battles. AMC’s The Walking Dead was also represented, but their zombie encounter took place in a semi-trailer dubbed “The Walking Dead Experience”.

DSC_9870Another aspect of the genre, and in line with the Con’s theme, there were plenty of makeup and SFX artists and organizations on hand. It seemed everywhere you turned, there was an artist applying zombie makeup to a patron. It was quite a treat to witness the magic of SFX firsthand and see normal people transformed into blood-thirsty, gut-munching undead denizens of hell right before your eyes.

Some choose to do their makeup at home, beforehand and between the people that showed up in makeup and the ones who got theirs done on-site, the cosplayers were well represented, to say the least.

DSC_9872Of course, the normal stuff we would expect at con was always there. The Con held panel discusssions and workshops where fans got a chance to interact and ask questions of the celebrity and panel guests. Dozens of vendors, artists and authors were also on hand, selling all sorts of wares. From original artwork and prints, to t-shirts, to novelty items like “Pop!”s and handcrafted brain-smashing baseball bats.

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All in all, this year’s event was a overwhelming success. If the turnout is indicative of this con’s future, well, it looks pretty darn bright.

Walker Stalker con is the brainchild of viral podcasters, John and Eric. After visiting a live set of AMC’s The Walking Dead, the two fans developed a podcast, from which evolved to a nationwide con. Their first event was in 2013 and since their Con has gathered quite a following. This year they are holding Cons in nine cities across the country. For more information, visit them online at http://walkerstalkercon.com/

Check out the slideshow below for all photos from the event!