The music began and the zombies lurched to life, moving together to the strains of Michael Jackson's "Thriller." Behind them, students held up signs: "RIP Philly's Schools."
Dozens of youths - members of the organizing group Philadelphia Student Union - gathered outside the Philadelphia School District's headquarters on North Broad Street Tuesday to protest a plan to close 37 city schools in June.
The zombies danced for a few minutes, then collapsed in a heap.
"We represent the students affected by the closing plan," Benjamin Franklin High School sophomore Hausim Talbot said later. "Our hopes would be dead."
District officials have said that if they do not shut schools, they will run out of cash to operate. They estimate the closings would save about $28 million, though that does not include transition and start-up costs for the next school year.