Zombie Prom brings fun to T-town

After living in Topeka for some time, you realize that there isn’t much to do, and even though Topeka is much bigger than to relative newcomers think it is, it still has a lack of interesting things. Most people who want to have fun usually go to Lawrence, Kansas City or Manhattan. Jinxed Productions, LLC is one group that is part of the Topeka Momentum 2022, a movement aiming to bring more fun and general traffic to Topeka so people won’t have to go out of town to do interesting things. Jinxed Production’s latest project comes in the form of Zombie Prom, an undead themed 21 and older adult prom that took place Sept. 29 at the Jayhawk Theatre.

Jinxed Productions, LLC is spearheaded by Nina and Adam Jenks, owners of the Jinxed and whose official titles are business managers and designers. Jinxed is as described as by Nina Jenks as a “Haunt company” that creates Halloween themed events and haunted houses. They also do prop design. Their original goal in establishing the LLC is to do their own high quality haunted house, but have ended up doing a variety of things, so Zombie Prom is far from their first stab at doing the horror themed event.

“In June, we hosted the first annual Zombie Run in Topeka, and last October we designed and built Topeka Haunted Woods. We also partnered with the Topeka Zoo for last year’s Booze at the Zoo,” Jenks said.

The idea of Zombie Prom came to the Jenks’ in a seemingly perfect way, considering this is actually the first Zombie Prom.

“We got a big donation of prom dresses. The Jayhawk Theatre just so happened to be going through renovations, so it was the perfect place to hold a zombie prom.”

Besides bringing fun to Topeka, the overall purpose of Zombie Prom was to raise funds and awareness for both the Jayhawk Theatre and Jinxed Productions.

The theatre really was perfect for the theme. It wasn’t some “Walking Dead” deep south zombie location. It had a vibe of classic zombie flicks directed by George Romero, mixed with a prom. 

The prom was DJ’ed by Aaron Koker of Sound Origin Productions, LLC, with a set of lights and other effects that really established the atmosphere. In addition to the people dressed in prom outfits and a variety of makeups that made them look like the undead, it was complete with props of Laura Palmer-esque corpse shaped props wrapped in sheets covered with yellow caution tape.

One thing was very apparent about the event, there was a considerable amount effort put into the costuming and makeup, and it really showed, with guts being very visible, pretty much all of the attendants using painful-looking contacts that make their eyes look demonic, and various other things, specifically all sorts of fake human entrails being the opposite of hidden, a fun contrast to the pale skin that the makeup illustrated.

One of the makeup artists, Shannon Wharton, had pretty much half of her face covered with detailed makeup, which according to Wharton,  was accomplished with cotton balls and liquid latex. Most of the attendees special effects makeup took around 30 minutes per person, but her incredibly impressive getup took over two hours. Including Shannon, there was a total of five people involved with makeup. The other artists who were responsible for the effects and makeup are Nina Jenks, Caitlyn Lamberecht, Jamie Vansickler, and Dana Gill.

Wharton also emphasized that there isn’t really a set plan for coming up for how you will look, as you can pretty much be as gore as you want, and the outfit and special effects will still work.

On the topic of doing the Zombie Prom again, Nina Jenks emphasized that Jinxed is most definitely open to it.

“We are hoping to have Zombie Prom be an annual event and are also thinking of making it 18 and older for future proms,” said Nina Jenks.

In terms of other future endeavors, Jenks didn’t reveal too much, but they are going to be involved with Fright Fest, a Halloween event taking place at the Topeka Zoo on October 13th, and Jinxed also is planning on doing something special this coming February.

On the topic of why Jinxed does what they do, Nina simply “To quote one of our favorite sayings “We are Haunters by Nature.”

And Jamie Vansickler, also an event coordinator with Jinxed Productions,   stated that everyone involved with Jinxed just loves doing what they do:

“We love it. None of us are paid staff, we just love it,” said Vansickler.

I really enjoyed the Zombie Prom. A significant amount of effort must have been put into it, whether it be the prosthetics or other makeup aspects. It really was a match made in heaven having it at the Jayhawk, as the Zombie theme and the theatre going through renovations really made it work. Jinxed Productions and everyone who is a part of the organization accomplished what they wanted to, because the attendants most definitely were having fun, all the while dressed as gray skinned zombies with plenty of red all over.