The first waking of the zombies occurred on an eerie night when Michael Jackson took his girlfriend to see Thriller. It was close to midnight on December 2, 1983. Darkness fell across the land. They creatures crawled in search of blood. Then they moved like no zombie had ever moved before.
To this day, the ghouls still linger...waiting for All Hallow's Eve, when Michael sets them loose upon Portsmouth, NH.
OCTOBER 1995Led by Dino Danakamala and a like-minded group of Halloween-loving friends, the Portsmouth Halloween Parade was born. A small group of costumed and musical wonders marched through the streets of Portsmouth for the very first time, not quite knowing the important steps they were taking.
OCTOBER 2009Michael Jackson's zombies first escaped from 6 feet under for their debut performance. Led by founder, Tara Walker-Sullivan, they left spectators in awe.
OCTOBER 2011The Portsmouth Thriller Dancers slumbered in their crypts for a one-year hiatus but carefully crafted their return from the dead.
OCTOBER 2013Zombies shambled through a rain drenched night under new Wrangler, Lisa Griffin, with fresh choreography that progressed with the parade. The weather shorted out their sound, but spectators sang along to help.
DECEMBER 2013The zombies made their debut performance at both the Rye and Portsmouth Holiday Parades - this time as elves...zombelves?
OCTOBER 2014Paying homage to the Batman comic's 75th anniversary, a throng of Batman heroes and villains joined MJ's zombies in a once-in-a-lifetime parade performance - this time with a new weatherproof sound cart design.
OCTOBER 2016As the clock struck 7:00 pm on Halloween night, a zombie marching band moved unnaturally through downtown Portsmouth, led by new Wrangler Jonathan Day. It's said by townspeople that if you listen closely on October 31, you can still hear the sound of their eerie cacophony.
October 2018There was a new sheriff in town. Head Wrangler Cyndy Dow and her trusty undead deputees Kait Dow, Nancy Hamilton, Janine Moran and Ivy Roy led a wild group of Western zombies through the night, terrifying young and old alike.
October 2020The year the undead horde was driven underground by a worldwide pandemic. They rested in cold storage until they could again be the scariest thing in the PHP.
October 2021Portsmouth Thriller, known to break into dance at any opportunity, has been found at charity fundraisers, networking events, parties, and even the occasional wedding. Now the Thriller mob prepares to rise again to terrorize the streets of Portsmouth for Portsmouth Halloween Parade 2021.
What people are saying about us
"The "Thriller" dance — performed three times — was a highlight of the 2009 parade, with fans cheering loudly and breaking out cell phones and video cameras to record the event."
"Something eerie happens around October; under the harvest moon the town transforms. [The] choreographed Thriller dance... Seriously, you don’t want to miss it."
"I just love this. I never had this when I was a kid. We just did trick-or-treating. It was great. How fabulous to get a group of people to do that [the 'Thriller" dance] . It's very inspiring.'."