The undead clean up Main Street

Published 10:55 pm Tuesday, October 30, 2018


More than three dozen volunteers cleaned up downtown Suffolk on Saturday afternoon, including ghouls dressed in everything from hoodies and jeans to suits and ties for the Zombie Cleanup.

This Halloween-inspired cleanup was organized by Keep Suffolk Beautiful at Morgan Memorial Library on West Washington Street. Volunteers were given safety vests, gloves, grabbers and trash bags. They also had the option of using provided makeup to look like a George Romero movie.

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“I was like ‘Zombies? Sign me up,’” said Jesse McAllister, who dressed up like the walking dead with his wife, Tricia McAllister.

Other volunteers were Lakeland and King’s Fork High School students, independent organizations and families like the Uprights. Cindy Upright and her husband, Brandon, came prepared to shamble down Main Street with their children Nicholas, 5, and Grace, 8.

“We had makeup last year that we got from Walgreens,” Grace said before they started picking up downtown. “We had blood and white stuff and clothes from last year, and dad had a broken shoe.”

“I’m sure my dog did it, but it was perfect,” Brandon Upright said about his broken shoe.

Costumed volunteers roamed downtown under dreary gray skies until around 4 p.m. They ended up filling more than 40 trash bags with what they picked up from gutters and street corners, said Wayne Jones of Suffolk Litter Control and Keep Suffolk Beautiful.

“Lots of beverage, fast food — consumable stuff,” Jones said in his gnarly-looking Halloween mask. There were also empty cans of Raid, cigarette butts, broken mirrors and even a whole potato on the side of the road.

Tickets were raffled off for places like the Children’s Museum in Portsmouth and the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, and plenty of candy was passed around. Many students came for volunteer hours, while families wanted to enjoy Halloween flair with their children while helping their city.

“We’ve lived in Suffolk our whole lives and just want to help keep it looking good,” Cindy Upright said.

Jones was satisfied with the turnout for Keep Suffolk Beautiful’s first Halloween cleanup, especially with the weather being as bad as it was on Saturday morning. But he’s planning for even more next year.

“Hopefully next year we’ll have 100 zombies,” Jones said.