Oct | 13

My Favorite Halloween Tradition: Costume Races!

halloween running costume ideas, halloween costumes for runners, tips on making a running costume for halloween, how to make a running costume

My homemade paparazzi costume (I made the camera out of an empty tissue box and solo cup spray painted black).

While most of the population is celebrating the turning of the season by bathing in pumpkin spice everything, runners have their own way to celebrate this time of year, particularly Halloween:


It’s true you can find a costume race year-round. Heck, most of us don’t need a formal race invite to wear tutus, body paint and multi-colored spandex. But Halloween is extra special in that it is the time to play dress up.

Normal person: “What are you going to be for Halloween?”
Runner: “Well, I was thinking Saturn, but the ring might hurt my PR. And I have all the gear for Forest Gump… but that might be too…I don’t know…literal?”
Normal person: “Uh…”

So to help you navigate the challenges of Halloween race costume logistics, I’ve come up with a haphazard list of things to consider, such as easy/cheap costume ideas, costume race day must-haves and running theme costumes. Because, if you’re like me, you spend afternoons scouring the internet for the perfect race day presentation.

The Running Dead — Easy, Cheap & Still Beeping on the Pop Culture Radar

My favorite Halloween races are zombie runs. And since they are EV-ER-Y-WHERE, chances are there’s one near you. These are so easy to dress up for. Especially if you are cheap, thrifty or tend to hoard a lot of clothing you don’t mind shredding to bits.

BONUS: Bedhead works fabulous with this look, so take an extra minute to snarl up that morning mane.

All you need is a little fake blood (*see Sweat-Resistant Makeup below) and maybe a mannequin arm to carry… you know… as a mid-race nosh. Or, you could be a “survivor,” as my friend Kelly was a couple years back (see photo above of me taking a bite out of my survivor friend).

Just arm yourself with a water gun, bandana, and gnarly-looking clothing, i.e. think leather and/or camo. If gore isn’t your thing or you just want an excuse to wear your old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume, by all means – dress up! There are no limits when it comes to running costumes.

Except maybe going all-cotton. You still want runner-friendly clothes.

And nudity.

Halloween Runner Arsenal 

You know that guy who dresses up as the Hulk and—by the finish line—has streaks of green running down his chest like he’s had himself a good cry?

Don’t be that guy.

If you’re going to don any type of makeup for your costume run, opt for sweat-resistant makeup. That way your costume stays intact and people won’t be dodging your hugs like a 12-year-old does at a family reunion.

Examples of sweat-resistant makeup:

  • – Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
  • – Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray
  • – Ben Nye Final Seal

When it comes to keeping your whole ensemble in place, try to keep these stocked in your Halloween costume box:

  • – Safety pins
  • – Hairspray
  • – Hairpins
  • – Velcro
  • – Needle & thread



There’s nothing more difficult than running a 5K with a bunch of fake crows attached to your body (the year I went as Tippi Hedren from “The Birds”). So glue, tie and cinch your way to costume-construction victory. And enlist the help of family or friends.

“Run, Forest, Ruuun!”

Finally, if you’re looking for ways to express your love of running, why not go literal?

I mean, you don’t exactly have to be Forest Gump or Prefontaine. Dig out your old college track shorts and go as your glorious self. The older, the better – embrace that 1970s updo! Or, think of people or things remotely related to running.

For example…

• Postman being chased by stuffed dog
• Runaway bride
• Kid running after an ice cream truck
• Paparazzi (see first photo)
• The wind
• Cheetah
• Lady’s hosiery (a million points to whoever pulls that off)
• Running Late (see photo below)

You get the idea…

Just get out there, you princesses, superheros, zombies, etc. And let’s show this Halloween race season who’s boss!

halloween running costume ideas, halloween costumes for runners, tips on making a running costume for halloween, how to make a running costume

Brooks co-worker, Amy Widener, and I are running late for work!


What have you worn for a costume race?

About Erin Spaulding
Northern Michigan born 'n' raised and living in Seattle. When I'm not running (sometimes to work, literally!), I enjoy fly fishing, craft beers, exploring the Pacific Northwest outdoors with my husband and pup, and *gasp* my job! Loving my Brooks family <3.