A Thrilling Performance

Lacamas Shores neighbors enjoy putting together annual performances of the Halloween classic

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It’s close to midnight

Something evil’s lurkin’ in the dark

Under the moonlight

You see a sight that almost stops your heart

You try to scream

But terror takes the sound before you make it

You start to freeze

As horror looks you right between the eyes

You’re paralyzed

‘Cause this is thriller

Thriller night

These lyrics to Michael Jackson’s 1982 mega-hit “Thriller,” are some of the best known on the planet. And every year, performers from around the globe, including a group from Camas, participate in “Thrill the World,” an international dance event and world record breaking attempt, in which participants simultaneously emulate the zombie dance seen in the music video.

Sarah and Steve Bang began what has now become an annual tradition in the Lacamas Shores neighborhood, by participating in “Thrill the World.” Not wanting to limit their dancing to just one performance, the group also puts on a show for neighborhood trick-or-treaters on Halloween night.

“We practice and practice and practice, and just don’t want to stop doing it,” Sarah said. “We also started doing it on Halloween night because if we didn’t, the festivities would go until midnight here. It’s a very popular place to trick-or-treat. This makes it fun for the kids and no one feels bad about turning their lights out at 8:30 p.m.”

Participating in “Thrill the World,” came about after a wine tour.

“We didn’t want to drink wine the whole time, so we had people film us dancing,” Sarah said. “Then I heard about ‘Thrill the World,’ and showed my friends a video on how to dance it. We had some challenges that first year, but we work hard to get it right. We don’t quite dance it like Michael, but we’re close. And fortunately, we enjoy being around each other.”

They perform the official dance at Camas Meadows, under an outdoor tent, the Saturday before Halloween.

The neighborhood performance this year will include a 12 by 15 foot screen, courtesy of Matt McCantz, who is also participating. The screen will project singing pumpkins, flying ghosts and green goblins as accompaniment.

Also performing for the first time this year are Matt’s wife, Shari, and 10-year-old daughter, Taylor.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” Shari said. “I’m new to the neighborhood and right away was invited to do this. It’s a nice way to get to know people and develop community. I think more neighborhoods should do this.”

Taylor is the youngest of the 25 performers this year.

“All the dancing has been great,” she said. “When I was little I was in dance for four years. I’m looking forward to dancing on Halloween in front of the neighborhood.”

Steve Bang said he is glad to have some other men participate, although being the only male had its benefits.

“Me and 20 women, what’s not to like?” he joked. “I really enjoy watching my wife having so much fun. The group has gotten bigger, we get a good workout dancing. It’s fun to watch the little kids jump around and dance with us on Halloween.”

Deb Mrazek enjoys the group’s camaraderie.

“It’s a real feeling of belonging and doing something together that none of us could accomplish alone,” she said. “We do a lot as a neighborhood, from the annual Lacamas Lake cleanup to film festivals. There are always lots of things happening here.”