The Woman Behind Kansas City's 'Zombie Queen' | KCUR

The Woman Behind Kansas City's 'Zombie Queen'

Oct 31, 2013

Earlier this month zombies walked the streets of Kansas City for the annual Kansas City Zombie Walk, a charity event that collects food for the hungry and homeless. But one zombie at the event stood out from the others - the Zombie Queen.

The Zombie Queen is played by Hyde Park resident and Zombie Walk president, Peige Turner. For the event Turner is in full zombie garb, and she walks on stilts, grabbing the attention of kids and adults alike.

The important business of becoming the Zombie Queen

"This is my makeup kit," says Turner opening a rather large case. "The first thing you see when you open it is my severed hand."

Being Zombie Queen isn't all glamorous, it takes a lot of work - including changing the color of her eyes.

"I put the black one in my left eye," she says of her special zombie contacts, "because my character got attacked on her left arm, and the story of my character was I rotted from the left to the right."

Turner's house also gets a big makeover this time of year. The light fixture in her living room is adorned with a lush circle of peacock feathers, there a skulls, a planter crawling with black rubber mice and numerous eerie paintings.

Getting started young

Turner is a Halloween lifer, with a love for costumes and horror that goes back to early childhood.

"I put together the most ridiculous pieces of clothing to form wizards and witches," she says of her childhood. "I loved being a pirate, I loved trying to be as authentic as an eight-year-old could."

Turner says she would get into something and do it again and again.

"I did half-man and half-woman for several years," she says. "I loved putting together the half suit, half dress costume, I loved it."

Turner says she probably had some help from her mom to create that costume, but the way she remembers it, she did it all herself.

"I did most of the sewing alone, and cutting it up alone," she says. " If there was something that was too complicated she would step in and help, but I put the buttons on, I sewed it together, I pieced it together and made it work."

So, how did she become Kansas City's Zombie Queen?

Turner attended her first Zombie Walk when she lived in Alaska around the same time that she was getting into special effects makeup. 

When she moved back to Kansas City she heard there was a Zombie Walk and thought it would be a good outlet for her love of costumes and all things creepy.

" I just fell in love with it and the people and made friends with the woman who actually started it in 2008," says Turner.

The role of the Zombie Queen

As Zombie Queen Turner has a lot of responsibilities — including helping to organize the walk, and leading the zombie pack when event day comes.

During the walk she says she is the zombie who smiles and talks to people.

"I am the one who breaks my character all the time," says Turner. "If people ask be questions I will tell them about it, if they don't as questions I will get into character and reach at them, and I will do the zombie moan... say 'BRAINS.'"

Turner says what she loves most about being the Zombie Queen is entertaining the public.

"I love reactions," she says. " I love mixed reactions. I like to scare people, I like to make people laugh, I like to make people feel inspired."