10 Spooktacular Races for Halloween

The days shorten and the leaves start to turn, what better way to dive into autumn than with one of these spunky costume races or rides? We promise you’ll have fun—if you make it.

It’s a trope: in the case of a zombie apocalypse, where do the survivors escape to? Vermont?

In Danville this fall, you can try your hand at escaping real, live local zombies in the Zombie 5K. Head north to Newport for the infamous Vampire Swim in Lake Memphremagog (only vampires could endure such cold water) or swing over to Warren for the Trick or Trot 5K. And, if you’re looking to break any records for running long distances in a costume, check out the Nor’Witch Halloween half marathon, marathon and ultramarathon from Nor’East Trails.

Ooky Spooky 5K Benefit Race, Burlington, Oct. 19

Take a spooktacular trail run through Rock Point School’s stunning waterfront campus on a mix of singletrack, dirt road, the Burlington Bike Path and the beach. Prizes will be awarded to those with the best costume (as well as the best time in each race category) and proceeds benefit the Committee on Temporary Shelter. This one is kid-friendly. rockpointvt.org

The Inaugural Danville Zombie 5K, Danville, Oct. 19

“The goal of this race is not to achieve the fastest time, the goal of this race is to survive!” write the organizers. Runners 13 and older follow a course through the woods of northern Vermont while encountering “a terrifying array of the finest zombies Danville has to offer.” Just like in flag football, each runner is given a belt with three flags at the start line. Each flag represents a life, and the goal is to protect those lives from the zombies scattered along the course who will try to take them from you. Crossing the finish line with at least one life remaining means you have survived. Lose all your flags? Your fate is sealed. danvillezombie5k.com

Halloween Hustle 5K, Essex Junction, Oct. 26

Head to Essex for this certified 5K road race. Costumes are highly encouraged and prizes will be awarded to the fastest runners as well as the most-decked-out runners for best costume. A kids’ race will follow the 5K at Maple Street Park. essexhalf.com

Even the dragons hustle at the Halloween Hustle in Essex Junction. Photo courtesy Essex Junction Parks and Recreation
The Vampire Swim, Newport, Oct. 26

Kingdom Games hosts a ghoulish vampire party at the Newport City Dock as part of a global blood drive by cold water swimmers. To participate, you must give blood within six weeks of the event, find a surrogate to give blood for you or donate $25 to the Red Cross at registration. Then, at 2 p.m., brave, costumed souls will take the plunge into chilly Lake Memphremagog and swim 25 to 100 meters. Be sure to catch Newport’s Halloween Monster Bash, which features costume contests, a ghost walk parade and more. kingdomgames.co

Halloween Running Scared 5K, Rutland, Oct. 26

This feel-good family 5K is the perfect Halloween event for kids. Held annually the morning of Rutland’s Halloween parade, kids and families run in costume through the decorated streets of downtown Rutland as community members watch from their porches and cheer them on. “Last year, everyone was costumed from head-to-toe,” says organizer Brittany Malmgren. “Even the jog strollers were decked out.” Prizes for best costume will be awarded after the race. Stick around for Rutland’s 60th Halloween Parade. rutlandrec.com/races

Wicked Creepy Cyclocross Race, Bennington, Oct. 27

For the last 13 years, the Wicked Creepy Cyclocross race has been a pilgrimage of sorts for cyclocross diehards across New England. Hosted by the Bennington Area Trail System and Peak Racing Gear Works Cyclery, the course features plenty of grass and natural obstacles and is timed to coincide with some great fall foliage in Southern Vermont.

This year, thanks to hard work by BATS’ “Wicked Creepy Crew,” the course includes a few “spooky” challenges like the vast sand pit in the middle. There are a host of race categories for men and women, as well as for juniors, and a short course for little kids (those under nine race free). The race is the third of four races in the 2019 NY Cross series. If competitive cyclocross is not for you, join for the free costume lap. You never know what’s going to happen in the throes of a cyclocross race and that’s half the fun of the sport. batsvt.org

10th Annual Halloween Ride, Burlington, Oct. 27

Join hundreds of radically costumed riders for a Halloween party on wheels through the streets of the Queen City. It’s a three-mile meandering ride around town, followed by a costume contest and end-of-ride party with free Folino’s pizza, a dance party andaportraits,  with prizes for best group, most clever, scariest, best use of bicycle and best kids’ costume. facebook.com/BTVHalloweenride

Photo courtesy Burlington Parks and Rec.
Black River Beatdown, Craftsbury Common, Oct 27

Head for the woods of Craftsbury Outdoor Center in this challenging 15K, 30K or 45K trail race on a 15K loop course. This race is hosted by Ironwood Adventure Works, the same crew that puts on the Catamount Ultra and other races across the state. The rolling course features a mix of doubletrack and singletrack, skirting Great Hosmer Pond and the Black River. Costumes are highly encouraged, and the race can be run as a 45K relay. Postrace, expect a bonfire, hot drinks, great food and a costume contest. Keep an eye out for members of the U.S. Nordic Team at the start line. ironwoodadventureworks.com

5th Annual Mad River Valley Trick or Trot 5K, Warren, Oct. 27

Each Halloween weekend for the last four years, the tiny village of Warren has turned out to transform their hamlet into a spooky destination—all for the sake of the Warren School. Costumes are encouraged in this 5K walk or run through the spook-ified village and over its covered bridge, with live music and Halloween fun (look out for unicorns and ghouls) along the way. Celebrate at the finish with Halloween games, a kids’ fun run and wood-fired pies from Open Hearth Pizza. madrivervalley.com

Nor’Witch Halloween Half’Witch, Full’Witch & Ultra’Witch, Norwich, Oct 28.

The little town of Norwich gets a little spooky with this beautiful, rolling costume race hosted by Nor’East Trails. All distances—full, half and ultramarathon—feature a single-loop course on a combination of paved and dirt roads. The half marathon features 1,400 feet of elevation gain, the full marathon features 3,050, and the Ultra features 3,550 feet of elevation gain. Runners and “Zombie Walkers,” as walkers are referred to, will find both “Dead” and “Undead” aid stations every couple of miles along each route. Undead stations are staffed and may offer hot cocoa and cider in addition to the usual race snacks, while dead aid stations are self-serve. Run in costume for a chance to win Spirit of the Witch and Best Costume. netrailruns.com

Featured Photo Caption: You never know who you’ll run into at the annual Halloween Ride in Burlington. Photo courtesy Burlington Parks and Rec.

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