A real thriller | Zombies show their stuff at Issaquah’s annual Green Halloween festival

A horde of zombies descended on the Issaquah Highlands Saturday.

A horde of zombies descended on the Issaquah Highlands Saturday.

At exactly noon, about 40 Highlands’ residents, “the (unofficial) Highland Zombies,” performed a spot-on zombie dance to Michael Jackson’s classic “Thriller,” while thousands all over the world also performed the dance in order to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest simultaneous dance.

The choreography was close to perfect, considering the group only practiced once a week for the past six weeks said Amy Hammingh, who with her son, Alex, 8, were part of the brain-eating troupe.

The “Thriller” flash mob kicked off the 12th annual Green Halloween Festival at Blakely Hall and Village Green Park. Communication manager for the event, Nina Milligan, said attendance was lower than anticipated due to the inclement weather. The event is presented by the Highlands Council which includes homeowners, renters, home owner’s associations and businesses.

Several businesses set up booths, including Safeway, which was giving away free apples. Young and old alike had the opportunity to pitch an apple into a basket for a chance to win a caramel apple from the Safeway bakery.

One of the more unusual vendors was Mr. Clean-A-Can, a trash can cleaning service. The company cleans large residential trash cans curbside, eliminating diseases spread by garbage can foraging critters, such as rats, raccoons and maggots.

“The deodorizer in the cans also deters bears, which are a problem in Issaquah,” said Brian Gallagher, whose wife started the business.

He said they use green cleaning solutions, then at the end of the day they take the dirty water to a sanitary sewer dump which then goes to the wastewater treatment plant.

Corey Colwell-Lipson, originally from Bellevue, now living in Issaquah, started Green Halloween from her home, and this year it became an official event with Green America.

Now, as a national event, Green Halloween has evolved and expanded to address all aspects of Halloween, from helping families find nontoxic face paint, to facilitating costume swaps to promote reuse, to encouraging people to buy fair trade and organic candy from green companies.

Colwell-Lipson said that through 70-80 events nationwide, over a million kids will get healthier Halloween treats.

“It’s not so much about sugar, rather food that’s not real,” she said.

She said since the Highlands is a built-green community, Green Halloween is a perfect fit for the neighborhood.

Meantime, screaming and howling came from loudspeakers at Blakely Hall, while kids rode on ponies or kiddie rides, and parents perused booths with healthy snacks such as Larabars.

Local photographer Julie Croff even had a booth set-up to take professional pictures of kids (and adult zombies) in costume, to memorialize the day.