9 Haunted Races to Join This October

Trick or treat early by slipping on your sneakers and your best costume for one of these runs. Register as soon as you can: Next to Thanksgiving, Halloween is the most popular running holiday of the year.

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Scare in White Bear (White Bear Lake, Minn.)

(October 27) Ready for a run in the dark? Locals on White Bear Lake—which made a cameo in Mark Twain's memoir, Life on the Mississippi—stand along the tiki-torch-lined route to cheer for runners at the Scare in White Bear, a kids' race and family-friendly 5K walk/run that kicks off after dusk. Post-race festivities and perks include performances, a costume contest and cider and hot chocolate for finishers.

Sleepy Hollow Halloween 10K (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.)

(October 28) Washington Irving's classic supernatural tale picks up speed in the historic Westchester County village that inspired it. The Sleepy Hollow Halloween 10K makes its way along the Hudson River and past the Headless Horseman Bridge, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and Old Dutch Church (where, as the story goes, the Horseman tethered his horse among the graves in the churchyard). Fair warning if you decide to dress as Ichabod Crane: "You never know what might be lurking along the course in Sleepy Hollow," organizers say.

Devil's Chase 6.66 Miler and Creepy Clown 3.33 Miler (Salem, Mass.)

(October 28) Salem calls itself the "Halloween Capital of the World," and it could have a point: More than 200,000 people visited over the holiday weekend last year. Entrants in both the Devil's Chase 6.66 Miler and the Creepy Clown 3.33 Miler will jog past some of the town's most notorious landmarks, including the House of the Seven Gables (the inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne's witchy novel). The race's best-dressed male and female devil will pocket $150 apiece but read the rules carefully: to be eligible, costumes must include "horns, a pitchfork and a cape or tail" (even if you're running as Deviled Eggs or Devil's Food Cake).

HoBOOken 5K Halloween Run (Hoboken, N.J.)

(October 28) A charity race that encourages runners at all levels and benefits a local shelter, the HoBOOken 5k begins at Pier A and welcomes strollers, little ones (who are also eligible for the Scary Scurry Kids' Race) and walkers. Costumes are encouraged (and can win prizes), and the course is flat and fast—so this could be the year to break out that two-person pantomime horse costume you've been keeping in storage.

Minneapolis Halloween Half (Minneapolis)

(October 28) The Minneapolis Halloween Half winds along the Mississippi River, where runners will drink in views of the city and historic sites, as well as water and sports drinks along themed refreshment stops. Half-marathon runners (and participants in the event's 5K and 10K sister races) aren't required to show up in costume, but as previous years' runners have demonstrated, it's half the fun.

Halloween Half Marathon (Atlanta)

(October 29) "Trick or treat," this multi-city group's organizers ask, "who has the fastest feet!?!" Participants in the Atlanta Halloween Half Marathon & 5K will begin and end their runs in Historic Fourth Ward Park and tend to don "superhero, villain, scary, funny and HUH?" costumes (there's a contest associated with the races, naturally). Runners can also find races in Miami Beach (on October 28), on the Cape Fear River Trail in North Carolina (on October 29) and in Petersburg, Va. (on October 21). Finishers in all four cities receive a Halloween-themed medal with the year's "Featured Creature."

Haunted Island 5K & 10K (New York)

(October 29) Manhattan's sportiest ghouls and goblins can catch a subway train or an aerial tram car to the Haunted Island 5K & 10K, a race that follows the shore of the East River and loops around Blackwell Island Lighthouse at the northern tip of Roosevelt Island. Trick-or-treaters interested in going the extra mile can register for the previous day's Haunted Half Marathon, which begins at Shore Road Park Pier in Brooklyn, passes under the Verrazano Bridge and winds along Gravesend Bay. All three races conclude in Halloween afterparties—New Yorkers love an afterparty.

Spooky Super Underwear Halloween Run (Dayton, Ohio)

(October 29) "Every hero puts on their super underwear and parades around town," the Spooky Super Underwear Halloween Run's organizers say, and "we want you to do the same." (They also note that participants should comply with Ohio Revised Code 2907.09 on public indecency—this is a family event, after all.) Six Spooky Aid Stations along the one-mile, 5K and 10K race routes—all on the Great Miami River Recreational Trail—will entertain runners with Halloween music, decorations, candy "and of course water." Finishers can toast with their free commemorative pint glasses at Old Scratch Pizza & Beer and try their luck in the post-race party's costume contest.

Terrifying 10-Miler (Dana Point, Calif.)

(October 29) Don't be (too) daunted by the sound of the Terrifying 10-Miler: It begins and ends on the picturesque cliff above southern California's Salt Creek beach and features costume and pumpkin-decorating contests, 'trick-and-treats' aid stations, an all-day All-Hallows Festival and a handful of shorter races (a Spooky 10K and 5K, as well as a half-mile Super Hero Kids' Run). All finishers receive a web- and witch-emblazoned medal.