For nearly five decades, the flight deck of the USS Midway was the stomping ground for sailors wearing brightly colored yellow, blue, purple, red and green jerseys. This past Halloween, however, sailors gave way to dozens of zombies who took over the flight deck in their tattered blood-stained shirts!

For the last 15 years, the annual Thrill the World event has been a global community happening where local groups from all over the planet simultaneously perform the famous zombie dance to Michael Jackson’s 1982 hit song “Thriller.”

“We wanted to have a Thriller event on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum because San Diego is a huge military town, in fact my husband is in the Navy,” said Larisa Hall, executive director at Tap Fever Studios and the zombie dance organizer. “Midway is such an iconic naval vessel and a cool place to have the opportunity to dance.”

Surprised Midway guests weren’t sure what to make of the zombies as they crept onto the flight deck one by one.

“It was fun to watch peoples’ faces when they saw us,” said Janice Magnuson, one of the zombie dancers. “They got so excited to see us up close looking like zombies and then hearing the Thriller song.”

The zombie troop staged the entire six-minute dance choregraphed exactly as it was performed in the Michael Jackson music video nearly 40 years ago.

“I’ve been doing this dance since 2008, and every year it gets more fun,” said Debbie Fowler, a retired teacher. “Over the years, I’ve made new friends who are now zombie friends forever.”

The dance, for some, also has a therapeutic quality.

“I had a mid-life crisis about 15 years ago,” said Seattle native Karen Vogel with a smile. “This dance has really helped me. It’s been great meeting wonderful people. While I still haven’t perfected all the moves, I keep working on it.” 

For all the zombies, the Thriller dance is just fun and being able to do it on Midway’s flight deck was its own special thrill.

“Being on the Midway was a blast,” said zombie dancer Debra Doiron from Vancouver, Wash. “It was a fun way to spend the afternoon and honor the memory of Michael Jackson.”

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