Last weekend we checked our first Walker Stalker Con at the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center.
The NJ celebration included several current and past Walking Dead cast members, like Jeffery Dean Morgan, Chandler Riggs, Scott Wilson, Michael Cudlitz, Austin Nichols, and Michael Rooker, among others. As the name suggests, the fan convention, which is in it’s fifth year, began as a celebration of the hit AMC series The Walking Dead but now also welcomes celebrities from other projects, like Sons of Anarchy and Boondock Saints, too.
Walker Stalker considers itself the con “for fans by fans” and promises that “each guest to come away feeling like they’ve had an amazing experience and have become part of a greater community of zombie lovers”, and it does offer amazing access to all of the celebs in attendance – for a price. Each celebrity is given their own booth on “autograph row” where fans can take selfies or get an autograph from them. Prices averaged between $40 – $60 for a single autograph or one selfie. This seems pretty average compared to other cons and, for the most part, the celebs are available ALL DAY, ALL WEEKEND, except when they are doing photo sessions or panels.
We did pick up a few good tips throughout the weekend to keep in mind if you plan to attend a Walker Stalker Con next year.
First, and most importantly, if you want an autograph from one of the convention’s more popular stars be sure to buy a pre-sale ticket. At the NJ convention all of the pre-sale tickets for Jeffrey Dean Morgan autographs and photos were sold out so a lot of people left disappointed. We lucked out and were able to get a ticket for an autograph but there were many disappointed fans. It’s also important to point out that a few people who had scheduled autograph sessions later in the afternoon on Saturday were turned away (with full refunds) because JDM’s scheduled got pushed back and it was too late for him to sign for everyone. This says something about him (his scheduled was pushed, in part, because he made sure to take a few minutes to chat with everyone he met) but it’s also a cautionary tale – if there is someone you have your heart set on meeting, buy a pre-sale pass, and choose a time as early in the day as possible.
Next, if you’re debating which pass to get for Walker Stalker, definitely splurge for the VIP passes over General Admission. The passes are a bit more expensive, around $220, compared to $90 for GA, but it is well worth it.
The VIP pass will allow you the opportunity to get into the convention an hour earlier than GA ticket holders. As we learned, this gives attendees a huge advantage. Not only can you learn the layout of the con while the floor is still pretty empty, you can also be first in line at the celeb booths and, as we learned, you can hang around in the autograph area early, and see all the stars walk in and, even though they won’t stop for selfies (after all, they are charging for them at their booth so they can’t really pose for free), you can get a handshake or take a quick pic as they pass by. Watching everyone arrive turned out to be one of the highlights of the day! You can also have first dibs on the best merch and entry into panels.
Also, while you’re buying tickets, it might seem like a good idea to buy one of the posed photo ops but, we say skip it. Most of the stages photo ops are around $100, have long lines, and are rushed. Most of the celebs will do selfies at their autograph booths for the same price. The selfies, in our opinion, are more personal and give you a little more time with the celebs.
Finally, if you are going to buy General Admission tickets, a one day pass will be plenty. Walker Stalker NJ had lots to do, merch booths, celebs, panels, even a pop-up tattoo parlor, but one day was plenty to see everyone we wanted to see, catch a couple panels, and buy a few souvenirs.
To see which cities Walker Stalker will be hitting next, and how to get tickets, visit walkerstalkercon.com. And, check out our gallery of photos from the event below!