Marisa Smith/Contributing Photographer

Downtown Binghamton teemed with humans and zombies alike at this month’s Art Walk.

First Friday, appropriately held on the first Friday of every month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., is a city-wide event featuring galleries, performances, art exhibitions and other varieties of entertainment for local and student patrons to explore.

On Oct. 3, Binghamton kick-started the Halloween spirit by hosting an event called “Paint the Town Dead and Witness the Horror.” Binghamton residents, along with out-of-towners who traveled in for the event, embraced the spooky season by dressing up as zombies and trudging from Confluence Park to 75 Court St.

While the undead walked on, the living took part in a nearby slam poetry event, hosted by Binghamton University’s Slam Poetry Club. Members of the club recited original poems outside of art galleries on State Street. During an animated performance by Dan Roman, president of the Slam Poetry Club and a senior majoring in English, the massive zombie march ambled past. Shrieking and grunting, over 100 zombies drowned out the noise around them. Dan had to stop speaking and step down — the horde’s trek was too loud to ignore.

“It was pretty surreal,” Roman said. “It was an unexpected interruption, but it was pretty fun. Definitely weird.”

Keeping up with the ghoulish theme of the night was Jungle Science, an art gallery at 33 Court St. Paintings of the mythological creature Cerberus along with that of a detailed octopus were crafted entirely out of human blood by Nick Kushner, who also presented his work there last spring. These were coupled with gray paintings of man interwoven with machine, inspired by surrealist painter H.R. Giger. There was even a hearse parked outside of the gallery, with a coffin falling out of it, hopefully for decoration.

A touching aspect of this First Friday was at Atomic Tom’s Gallery at 200 State St. This art gallery featured an exhibition titled “The Rude and Bold Women Art Show.” Although this exhibition is put on annually, this year was special, being a tribute to Dianne L. Hodack, an artist that recently succumbed to cancer. Along with Hodack’s art hanging in the gallery, the center of the room featured colorful pen drawings that she drew during her illness. These powerful works captured Hodack’s faith and will to survive. Some had lengthy pleas to God that brought some patrons to tears. This exhibition showed the power of artistic expression and its ability to touch the human soul. Hadock’s works were a powerful reminder to appreciate the life we have and to never give up hope.

All in all, this month’s First Friday was the perfect beginning to a festive October. Zombies and bloody paintings made for an ideal segue into the Halloween season. The eerie-themed festivities made for a perfect night to celebrate the upcoming holiday in Binghamton.