Fall is perfect for racing. Cooler temperatures after a long, hot summer set the scene for perfect early morning runs. Long runs are decorated with orange and yellow leaves. Speed work seems a little easier. Well, no, speed work is never easy – but it is more tolerable on cooler afternoons. Fall just makes running fun. And what’s more fun than a run in costume?

If you need a break from striving for a PR or simply want to enjoy your next jog, check out some of the best costume-themed races in America.

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5-10K Races

Across the country, there are countless shorter-distance races that attract costume-wearers of all ages. A 5K is perhaps the best distance for sporting your garb, as a little chafing over 3 miles is much more palatable than hours of uncomfortable rubbing. A few races we really like:

  • Ghosts, Goblins & Ghouls Spooktacular in Leesburg, Va.: Complete with costume contests and Halloween-themed activities, this race has something for all ages
  • Evergreen Pumpkin Run: 5K and 10-mile options for runners brave enough to run through a cemetery in Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Wicked Halloween Run: The Monster Mile, 5K and 10K round out the largest Halloween run in Michigan. The best part: a live performance of “Thriller” kicks off the races.
  • Sleepy Hollow Halloween 10K: We couldn’t imagine a better setting for a costume race than Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. You’ll wind through Sleepy Hollow Manor and Cemetery and (eek!) across the Headless Horseman Bridge.

Half-Marathons

A half is a great distance to challenge yourself – especially if you are in a head-to-toe Halloween costume. Polishing off a 13.1-mile race is a great feeling, and a finish-line photo of you dressed as the Incredible Hulk is priceless. Check out these fun runs:

  • The Rock & Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon: Not sure what to wear? Go as Elvis and join a group vying for the largest group of running Elvi in history.
  • Haunted Half Marathon in Kingsport, Tenn.: This flat, fast course is perfect for runners who want to have fun but post a good time as well. Bonus: The Boo to Brew Relay Race and costume contest.
  • Halloween Half Marathon Series features races in Miami Beach, Fla., and Atlanta, Ga. The finisher’s medals sport new, ghoulish designs every year, making them a sought-after collectible.

Adventure Runs

Yes, even more adventurous than wearing a costume, don’t be afraid to get a little dirty during these:

  • Monster Mud Run in Lincoln, N.H.: Find mud, muck and glory with 16 obstacles, and bonus! You get to enjoy beers and a Monster Bash afterward.
  • Madison Mud Run: Billed as the “most fun you can have while running,” the Madison, Wis., race features a costume contest before the start.

Do’s and Don’ts

Whichever race you choose, be a good sport and join in the fun by dressing up. There are a few tips to follow to make sure your costume is running-friendly:

  • Do pick something fun but comfortable. Needless to say, certain get-ups can cause chafing in unwelcome areas. A little petroleum jelly on the right areas can help.
  • Don’t wear shoes that aren’t running shoes unless you want your feet to hate you.
  • Lastly, do wear something that allows you to breathe. Masks and corsets restrict your airflow – and a funny costume isn’t worth passing out.

Pick your race, pick your costume and – most importantly – have fun!

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