5 Tips to Make Your Halloween Costume Runnable!

Friday 5 When I talk to my 2 year old niece on the phone, my favorite thing she says is…”Hey Auntie….Boo!”  Maybe it’s because Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year.

Unlike previous years though, I’m down to the wire trying to figure out a great costume I can wear to the Halloween event my “running” club is having.  I’m not worried though; I’m pretty sure I can put something epic together in just the few days left before it’s time to get spooky.  The trick though, is to make sure it’s a costume I can run in!

If you’re in the same boat and need a costume for a running event, if you just want to wear something fun for a race, or if you suddenly find yourself signed up for a 5k in a gorilla suit, I’ve got some ideas to help make sure running in your costume isn’t scarier than the costume itself.

Check those skates! They’re actually an old pair of Asics.


1. You can’t run in ruby slippers, Dorothy.

If you’re running in your costume, your number 1 priority has got to be making the shoes work. The way I see it, there are two ways to do this:

To me the best way is to make your shoes the centerpiece of your costume. Last year I was a roller-disco skater and made an old pair of shoes the star of the show by painting them silver and pinning foam “wheels” (made out of foam curlers) into the sides.  I would have worn real skates, but not having skated in fifteen years I’d have been more likely to be a bloody mess instead of a dancing queen.

The other option to make costume-worthy footwear out of your trainers is to dress up your shoes with overshoes. You could spend a big chunk of your costume budget purchasing them from a costume store, or if you’re crafty like me you can try to make them.  An easy way to do this is to get a cheap pair of socks, wear them ON TOP of your running shoes (make sure to wear low-cut socks inside them too!), and decorate them appropriately. If you want boots you can even go with knee-high socks.




I failed to test out my nun habit at the last Catholic Schoolgirl hash and after the run I was…wilted, to say the least!

1 word: Masks.  Masks and other wacky headgear can make your life hell when your heart rate is elevated and your breathing heavily.  That’s not to say you shouldn’t wear that Nixon/Bank Robber mask you’ve always cherished, but put it on your head for twenty minutes without running in it and see how it feels.  Doing okay in there? Alright…

But there’s one more thing to consider.

Whoa, it’s HOT in there!

Did you purchase a costume? Take a look at the label. Go on, check it out. Ten-to-one it says your getup is mostly made from polyester or other synthetic fibers. When was the last time you ran in plastic? Oh, never? Exactly.

That, friends, is why we make sure we run in costumes that are well-vented. So instead of your favorite baseball team’s official mascot costume, maybe this year it’s time to try something a little more lightweight. Like, you know…NOT a gorilla.  (Sorry, Nutmeg, but I had to use that as an example!)  If you want a pre-fab costume, make sure it’s lightweight, not too hot, and you can move easily in it!



3. Are you supposed to be a melted candle…?

English: Marat Abdrahimov Русский: Абдрахимов ...
How do you think Rum Tum Tugger dances around in THIS for two hours? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So if you decide to forgo a mask because of the above, you may desire to paint your face.  But if you want to go as the Wicked Witch of the West before she melts, the best tip I can give you is to buy theatrical makeup.  How do you think the dancers in Broadway shows carry on for hours at a time in makeup? They use the good stuff.

Ben Nye is a great brand to try. You can also use micah powders or anti-sweat preparation powders and cremes to help keep your face from falling off.  This is a great forum I found while writing this post, and it has a ton more suggestions.



4. Hey lady…your hair fell off!

This Tokyo Marathon clown knows what I’m talking about. img via HAMACHI! on flickr

Wigs are a great way to accessorize your costume and push it over the edge.  But as any guy who’s dressed in drag for Halloween can tell you, it’s important to make sure your hair stays on your head.

Bobby pins left, wig pins right.

You may think bobby pins are the best way to keep that LMFAO ‘fro on your head, but actually wig pins are your best bet (and this cosplay site has a great tutorial on what to do with your hair, where to put the pins, etcetera).  If you get really sweaty, you may even want to consider a wig cap.  Rather than making your head hotter, a cap will add a layer of fabric between your head and all that extra hair.



5. It’s all fun and games until someone slips a nip.

No runner does sexy costumes better than Catra. Image blatantly stolen from her awesome blog. Click to view her post about the 2011 Javelina Jundred.

Thanks to Leg Avenue and its counterparts, in recent years sexy costumes have become the norm rather than the exception when it comes to women’s Halloween wear.  And hey, these costumes are lightweight, don’t cover your face (usually) and show lots of skin, so they’re well-ventilated.  They’re practically tailor-made for running!

But last time I checked, corsetry is not conducive to breathing, so maybe reconsider lacing up a tight costume if you’re planning on lacing up your running shoes too.  Try a stretchy bustier instead, or better yet, just your sport bra! If you’re gonna go sexy, might as well go all-out, right?

Costume tape to the stars. Click through to purchase at Amazon.com

But if you opt for a plunging neckline, consider using costume tape to help keep your girls in place.  And if your super-short skirt is just too short for boy shorts underneath, try running briefs or, in a pinch, a pair of bikini bottoms will do the trick and dry as quickly as tech fabric.

And hey, don’t underestimate the power of shorts either. I feel a lot sexier in a pair of short shorts that show off my cute runner’s rear than I do in any skirt at all!


And hey, in a pinch you can always be a runner for Halloween! I did it in 2009 when the NYC Marathon fell on November 1. Happy Halloween!

What are you going to be for Halloween this year? What’s your favorite costume idea for running?

Cinnamon made Salty Running, takes lots of pictures and drinks lots of coffee. By day she's a camera assistant for films and tv in New York, and by night she's on a quest for zen in the 10k. Her writing is a mix of satirical humor, finding wholeness as an average runner, cheering for runners at all paces and more.

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