Norman Reedus on His Final Day on 'The Walking Dead', What He Gave — and What He Took

"I think I have like eight crossbows now, which is crazy," Norman Reedus tells PEOPLE exclusively of what he kept from set

Norman Reedus
Photo: JC Olivera/Getty

Norman Reedus is keeping the spirit of Daryl Dixon alive.

While The Walking Dead is coming to an end this fall after its 11-season run, Reedus told PEOPLE exclusively that he brought some meaningful mementoes of his zombie-killing character home with him after filming wrapped in March.

"I walked out with my entire outfit. I just, I didn't change clothes," Reedus, 53, shares of his last day on set. "I was hugging people and crying and saying goodbye to everybody that I just ended up driving home in my outfit. So I have all of it."

But that's not all! Aside from a select few wardrobe pieces and props–turned–artifacts that have been inducted into the Smithsonian Museum, Reedus reveals that he "has all the other vests — and I think, all the other crossbows. I think I have like eight crossbows now, which is crazy."

In addition to keeping a few pieces of TV history, he presented the cast and crew with parting gifts — uniquely crafted in the most Daryl Dixon way. "I gave everybody these wrap gifts… these little special knives I had made," Reedus says. "It was sad and bittersweet."

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He also made mention that he was the first person to give a speech during the final day on set — and after 12 years of filming and "14 straight months of shooting," nerves still ran high for the seemingly fearless actor.

"There were a lot of tears and a lot of speeches," Reedus says. "They handed me the mic first and I was like, 'Uh oh,' because I was nervous... It was super emotional."

He adds, "I think what I'll miss the most is the people, not just the cast, but the crew. You become very tight with the crew after that long. We've become really good friends and a lot of us still keep in contact."

steven yeun in the walking dead
Gene Page/AMC

Despite the many emotions poured out on set that night, reality didn't kick in for Reedus until he left. "It was sort of surreal when it was happening. It kind of hit me when I drove home," he recalls.

"I take a certain way to my house in Georgia through the woods, and when I got to my gate, I was like, 'Wow, I'm never going to take that route again,'" he tells PEOPLE. "The sun was coming up [it was an all night shoot] and it kind of hit me in the car. I was like, 'Wow, that just ended.'"

Reedus was optimistic about the bittersweet ending, suggesting, "Maybe when I feel sad, I'll just put on [Daryl's] outfit and walk around downtown."

Then he has a second thought: "Nah, that would get weird."

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