To celebrate the Oct. 22 Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead — the series’ 100th episode — Yahoo TV will be posting a new TWD-related story every day through the season opener.
Season 8 is officially less than a month away, but those last few weeks can be the toughest while waiting on your favorite show to return. Here, we offer a few ways to get your TWD love on in the meantime, from several reasons to make a road trip to Georgia — getting married with Rick, eating at Daryl’s, and sleeping at Carl’s, for example — and finding out how sweet Negan portrayer Jeffrey Dean Morgan really is to using your apocalyptic fandom to get in Savior-fighting shape and win great prizes like a set visit and a Greg Nicotero zombie makeover.
Dine With Your Fellow Fans (and Maybe Even a Cast Member)
Norman Reedus and TWD executive producer/director/special effects whiz Greg Nicotero are the titular co-owners of Nic & Norman’s, an American food joint located on the main street in Senoia, Georgia, which also served as Woodbury during those crazy days of The Governor’s rule on the series. The cute interior — wood-meets-chandeliers — is an inviting place to dive into a menu that includes comfort food classics like meatloaf and pot pie, the best brussels sprouts we’ve ever had, and a gourmet burger selection that pits the co-owners against each other: Greg’s Pick is a juicy cheeseburger on a potato bun, and Norman’s Pick is a bison patty with a fried egg recommended to be eaten sans bun. For the record, Reedus confessed to Yahoo Entertainment earlier this year that Greg’s Pick has proven to be the more popular nosh. P.S. Because Nic & Norman’s is so near TWD production, it is not uncommon to spot cast members dining at the eatery (and wearing the cool Nic & Norman’s logo T-shirt during their travels).
— Khary Payton (@kharypayton) August 5, 2017
Get Interactive With TWD and Fear the Walking Dead Attractions
Landscapes and artifacts from the series pepper Universal Studios Hollywood’s year-round TWD attraction that sends fans through an effects-laden set (with input from Greg Nicotero and his KNB Efx studio) where you try to avoid hangry walkers who are hot on your trail. Meanwhile, the new Fear the Walking Dead Survival attraction in Las Vegas includes zombies, mazes, sets, an interactive video game, and an escape room element.
Sail Away With Daryl and Maggie and Negan
Cruise from New Orleans to Cozumel next January with shipmates like The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, Greg Nicotero, and cast members Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Pollyanna McIntosh, Ross Marquand, Austin Amelio, IronE Singleton, Michael Traynor, Tom Payne, and Alanna Masterson on a four-day Walker Stalker Cruise trip that includes panels, Q&As, meet and greets, photo and autograph opportunities, and live music. For the landlubbers among us, upcoming Walker Stalker Conventions include Philadelphia, Atlanta (featuring Andy Lincoln’s only WSC appearance of the year), New Jersey, Portland, Sydney, Melbourne, London, Germany, Chicago, and Nashville, with panels and photo and autograph opportunities with the cast past and present.
Sleep in Chandler Riggs’s Family’s Vacation Home, Tour TWD Locations, and Get Married by Rick Grimes (Sorta)
You already know where to grab a good meal, but you could plan a whole TWD vacay in Senoia, Georgia, with multiple series-themed tours and even a sleepover at a vacation home owned by a cast member’s family. Riggs Tours is a company operated by the father of Chandler Riggs’s dad, meaning lots of behind-the-scenes anecdotes (dad’s been on set with “Carl” since the beginning), trivia, giveaways, and a walking tour of Senoia that includes actual filming locations. The Walkin’ Dead Haralson Tour and Zombie Charm School offers the chance to get into zombie makeup, be issued replica weapons and play out your own version of TWD on actual series locations, including places that hosted scenes with The Governor, Rick, Hershel, Daryl, and Merle. The Georgia Tour Company, meanwhile, is another fan tour of TWD locations in Senoia, as well as locations used in movies like Driving Miss Daisy, Fried Green Tomatoes, and The Fighting Temptations. The GTC headquarters also includes a local farmer and art market, a gift shop, and “The Walking Wed,” where a Rick Grimes lookalike will perform a wedding or vow renewal ceremony for you.
Finally, spend a honeymoon, or any Southern vacay in a gorgeous Senoia rental home owned by Chandler Riggs’s family. The home, converted from an old church, is just one block from the shops and restaurants of the town, sleeps up to nine people, and besides the very pretty décor, includes fan-friendly touches like a Walking Dead pinball machine, TWD wall art (including angel wings like the ones on Daryl’s vest), and zombie pillows.
Go Road Trippin’ With Norman Reedus
Season 2 of The Ride With Norman Reedus, The Walking Dead star’s motorcycle travel series, will include guest stars like Dave Chappelle and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and is set to premiere on Nov. 5. The show’s already been renewed for a third season, and Season 1 is available to stream on iTunes and Amazon Video, including Reedus’s visits to New Orleans, Death Valley, the Pacific Coast Highway, and a special trip to the Florida Keys with Easy Rider legend Peter Fonda.
Enjoy the Sweet Treats in Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Candy Shop
It’s not only a cute little candy, baked goods, and coffee shop, but the town of Rhinebeck, New York — about 100 miles outside of New York City — is the perfect excuse for a day trip. Samuel’s Sweet Shop — the store Morgan co-owns with actress wife Hilarie Burton and pal Paul Rudd — sits right on the charming main drag, which also includes restaurants, shopping from jewelry stores to a cheese market, and even a women’s clothing store called… Darryl’s (sorry, no zombie ear necklaces in their collection).
Raise Funds for Comic Book Artists in Need and Enjoy TWD Artwork
The Hero Initiative is a non-profit that raises money for comic book artists who hit hard times, and one of the organization’s fundraisers is the “100 Projects” series, in which 100 top comics artists draw original works onto blank covers of comic books. Those original drawings are auctioned off, while reproductions are collected into limited edition books which are sold, with all proceeds going into the fund. A very limited number of The Walking Dead 100 books are available at Amazon, and fans can view all 100 original works — which raised more than $100,000 — at the Hero Initiative Website.
Get in Walker-Fighting Shape While Bingeing The Walking Dead
There are TWD drinking games aplenty, but Fan Fest has another, more clever, and infinitely healthier way to enhance your Walking Dead binge-watch: Exercise while watching Rick and company evade walkers (and the always more frightening live humans). As per Fan Fest’s Walking Dead workout chart: Do jumping jacks to warm up while the series theme song plays, jog in place when a character on the show runs, do five pushups anytime a walker is killed by a sharp object, do a 30-second plank whenever someone dies, an appearance by baby Judith requires 20 floor sprints, a 30-second wall sit is the punishment for you when Carl disobeys Rick, and an episode’s end credits earns you a cool down period of marching in place.
Pay Homage to Your Favorite Character with a Quality Halloween or Cosplay Costume
Sure, you can cut out some cardboard wings and tape them to the back of a hoodie and pretend you’re Daryl Dixon, or, for those willing to invest a little cash, you can go trick-or-treatin’ or fan conventionin’ in TWD style with the high-quality cosplay outfits of SkyCostume.com. Choose from Daryl, Michonne, or Rick and detailed costumes made of real fabrics, with the opportunity to have the costumes customized to your measurements.
Earn Autographs, Merch, and a Tour of The Walking Dead Set with Your Fandom
The way the official Walking Dead Fan Rewards Club works is delightfully simple: 1) you watch videos, watch episodes, shop for merchandise, and connect your social media accounts (i.e. things you’d do anyway); 2) you collect points; 3) you use those points for sweet swag like exclusive T-shirts, autographed posters from cast members, and truly awesome experiences like a zombie makeover by Greg Nicotero, VIP tickets to Talking Dead, a personal message from the cast, and a tour of The Walking Dead set.
The Walking Dead Season 8 premieres Oct. 22 at 9 p.m. on AMC.
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