Costume races draw tons of runners each autumn, with participants dressing up in all sorts of getups to hit the pavement in Halloween style. Seasoned runners and first timers toe the starting line together in scary and merry masquerades.
What are the secrets to the most fun and practical Halloween race costumes?
Halloween costume runs are a far cry from trick or treating or harvest parties. Race outfits have to hold up to some pretty tough wearing. Consider these tips for choosing and assembling run-worthy Halloween costumes that don’t slow down or bother the wearers or other race participants.
1. Watch the weather.
Running costumes have to fit the current temperature on race day. We’ve seen racers shiver in skimpy suits, but we have also seen them sweat it out in too-warm bulky or plush getups as well. Those furry one-piece pajama costumes can be sweltering on the run, for example. Bear in mind as well that runners must be able to pin race numbers on whatever Halloween race costumes they choose to sport.
2. Mind the masks.
Face masks make Halloween costumes extra fun, unless they interfere with vision and comfort. It pays to try these on, and see how they feel while bouncing, jumping, and running around. Does the mask wiggle? Does it interfere with breathing or pull the hair? If so, it might not fit the bill for a run.
3. Ditch the moving parts.
Let’s face it. When it comes to a running outfit, nearly anything that bounces, shifts, wiggles, or rubs is likely to become irritating or even chafe. A corrugated box robot or Tin Man costume sounds like a cute idea, but this might become a runner’s worst nightmare within a few blocks. And a spider or octopus costume with all those loose-flying appendages can be a total nuisance to the wearer and nearby runners. Lots of costume wings are difficult to wear while moving fast. It’s smart to try a costume on – and try actually running in it – before showing up at the Halloween race.
4. Hold the headgear.
Hats and headdresses and caps and crowns may top off a Halloween costume nicely, unless they wobble and slip and get in the runner’s way. Can you imagine what might happen to fellow runners, if Carmen Miranda’s fruit arrangement slipped off her head, if the Bride of Frankenstein dropped her veil, or if the Statue of Liberty’s crown poked somebody? What about a wiggling wig that won’t stay put? Well-anchored headgear is a plus.
5. Study the shoes.
Runners could write the book on the importance of proper shoe fit. What happens when it comes to costuming? Boots, high heels, and other non-runner footwear may not be prudent for a costume race. Sure, a runner might show up for the costume contest in them, but he or she is likely to swap for sneakers before the race starts.
6. Stick with safe socks.
Even if a Halloween costume comes with tights or stockings or special socks, a savvy runner will go with athletic socks for the actual event. Can you imagine the blisters that might result from stomping out a few miles with fishnets or footed pajamas tucked into running shoes?
7. Master the makeup.
Face paint and exaggerated makeup are hallmarks of Halloween costuming. Are these suitable for running? Less may be more for a costume run, where makeup may melt, and face paint may sweat off. Waterproof makeup can be a plus.
8. Pick props prudently.
Sign up for a Halloween costume race or two, and you may be surprised at the carry-alongs that appear. A knight might tote a spear. A cowboy might hold a stick pony. A witch may bring a broom. Red Riding Hood might have a plush wolf. A gladiator may hold a shield. All these props add fun to their costumes, but actually running with them can be a hassle. Savvy runners might scale it back a bit. A pirate may pin a tiny parrot on one shoulder, instead of carrying a larger one. Dorothy could do the same with a tiny Toto toy. Strategic choices can free a runner up to run, instead of juggling props throughout the race.
Are you vying for a costume award, a race medal, or simply a fun workout? With a well-chosen and smartly assembled costume, a Halloween fun run can actually be enjoyable.