The Best Halloween-Themed Races Across the U.S.

The Best Halloween-Themed Races Across the U.S.

The Best Halloween-Themed Races Across the U.S.

Whether you’ve constantly got your sights set on a shiny new PR or you’re a recreational runner in it mostly for fun, we doubt you’ll disagree that fall is, quite possibly, the best time of year for running. Not only do crisp, cool temperatures and gentle breezes make for the perfect running conditions, but during this time of year festive, Halloween-themed fun runs begin popping up all across the country.

Given our love for outdoor activities we know you’re not surprised to learn that we can’t think of a better way to celebrate the season than with a festive fun run. And our favorite part of it all is that with so many events to choose from runners of all abilities can join in on the Halloween race scene. From dodging brain-hungry zombies and dashing through spooky courses lined with menacing monsters, to hauling pumpkins and completing half marathons in full costume, you won’t have to search too hard to find a way to join in on the fun.

The following Halloween-themed races are regarded as some of the best in the country and include everything from seriously spooky obstacle courses to family-friendly fun runs. So whether you’re in for a fast-paced fright or simply want to show off your stylish costume, you’re sure to find a race that will make all of your Halloween dreams (or nightmares) come true.

The Monster Dash — Chicago, Ill., Saint Paul, Minn. & Fort Worth, Texas

The Monster Dash hosts Halloween half-marathons, 10ks, and “fun run” (non-scored) 5k races in Chicago, St. Paul and Fort Worth all through the fall. Runners are invited to dress up during the race and can enter their costumes to be judged in the post-race costume contest. Judges rate costumes based on originality, execution and perhaps most importantly, its ability to be worn while running. A few winners from the 2014 festivities included the “Lego People” from The Lego Movie, Flo from the Progressive commercials and the Pink Power Ranger.

Panic in the Dark — Lowell, Mass.

Self-proclaimed as the “original nightmare obstacle run,” Panic in the Dark is a festive 5k fright fest. Runners wear headlamps as they set out into the dark of night and race along a haunted course filled with zombies, monsters, ghosts and ghouls. The event creators promise to turn your worst nightmares and favorite horror movie scenes into a race-day reality, so only sign up if you're really ready to face your biggest fears.

LA Cancer Challenge — Los Angeles, Calif.

This Halloween-themed charity event is held each year in support of pancreatic cancer research. So not only is it an opportunity to dress up and have fun running, but also to raise awareness and funds for a great cause. Plus, with a Fit Family Expo, Halloween Kids Zone, 4-Legged 5k Dog Walk and an adult costume contest, it’s the perfect way for the whole family to kick off the season with some good-hearted Halloween fun.

The Zombie Run — Denver, Colo. & Various Locations

The premise of The Zombie Run is simple: make it through five one-kilometer zombie-infested zones, and after, party like it’s the apocalypse. Or, you could sign up to participate as a zombie and chase down humans if that sounds like more fun. Either way, each zone is bustling with more zombies than the last, and participants must attempt to get through the entire 5k without having their “life balloons” popped. But finishing without “becoming infected” is not a requirement and there’s no reward for “surviving” with your balloons intact either because everyone is welcome to the end of the world after party.

Franklin Park Zoo’s Run Wild 5k — Boston, Mass.

A collaboration between Zoo New England and RACE Cancer Foundation, the organizers of this race call the event “frighteningly fun,” as participants are invited to dress up and race through Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo. The course winds through the zoo’s scenic trails and the race is followed by a wild Halloween after party including a variety of craft beers and plenty of festive fun.

Devils Chase— Salem, Mass.

6.66 devilish miles make up this diabolical dash through Salem, Massachusetts. Those who are doubtlessly demonic can cast a bid for the chance to race with bib number 666 pinned proudly to their shirt. In past years it’s sold for more than $200, which is no surprise considering it also comes with a totally tempting goody basket. This year's will include prizes valuing more than $500.

The City of Shoreline's Monster Mash Dash 5k Family Fun Run & Walk — Shoreline, Wash.

With a name like Monster Mash Dash, of course participants are encouraged to show off their Halloween costumes at this family 5k and fun run/walk. The event follows Shoreline’s scenic Interurban Trail, and while it’s not officially timed, organizers guarantee the 5k to be “officially fun.” And at the end, prizes are awarded for the best costumes in each age group.

The Haunted Half & 5K— Salt Lake City & Provo, Utah and Phoenix, Ariz.

From apple-bobbing to doughnut-eating Haunted Half participants can expect to break for much more than just water and Gatorade along this 13.1-mile course. While the race doesn’t involve any brain-hungry zombies or menacing monsters, runners must make their way through several “Spook Zones” like the Tunnel of Terror, the Ghostly Graveyard and the Fearsome Forest. And at the finish line, they’ll find fun treats like the “Mummification Station,” “Donuts on a Noose” and even a Trick or Treat Tent.

The Great Pumpkin Haul— Littleton, Colo.

If your idea of Halloween fun includes hauling the heaviest pumpkin you can find for two miles (or more), then sign yourself up for The Great Pumpkin Haul. Lug your big orange orb through fields and forests and over creeks and hay bales to prove your fitness in the most festive fashion. Make sure you hold on tight to your pumpking the whole way though, because only those who finish without dropping it are considered winners.

Boxer Boogie 5k/3k —Schertz, Texas

The Boxer Boogie 5k and 3k fun run encourages humans to dress up with their furry friends, not only because it increases their chance of winning more costume contest prizes, but also just because it’s fun. In fact, there are four costume contest categories including best overall costume, scariest costume, best dog and owner coordinated costume and best dressed Boxer. Additionally, humans can chow down on free tacos at the finish line and all race proceeds benefit Alamo Boxer Rescue.

Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon & Freaky 4-Miler — Miami Beach, Fla.

This festive half marathon held each year in Miami celebrates all things Halloween. Runners are absolutely encouraged to show up at the start line dressed in costume and each year the organizers create a new theme for the race that takes life through everything from the logo artwork and t-shirt designs to the highly coveted race medals.

Haunted Hill - Diamond Hill’s Demon Run — Cumberland, R.I.

Put both your physical and mental strength to the test as you make your way through this seriously spooky 5k obstacle course. Not only will you be challenged to tackle all the usual mud-run-type obstacles, but you’ll also have to face killer scarecrows, Michael Myers and a handful of other Haunted Hill psychos. Not everything about the race is evil, though. All entry proceeds go to the Town of Cumberland's Park and Recreation Youth Programs and the race is followed by a family-friendly fun day