Five Tips for Making the Perfect Race Costume



Costumes are one of the best things about participating in a themed race. The perfect race costume can be magical, but a not so perfect race costume can be miserable. I’ve experienced both the magic and the misery that can come from attempting 13.1+ miles in a costume, so I thought I’d share a few tips for picking the perfect race costume!


1. Choose breathable fabrics: Choose a base for your costume that includes workout friendly wicking material. This might mean you have to do a little bit of creative shopping, but it is well worth the hunt! Nothing ruins race fun like chafing from heavy fabrics. I like to look for cheap, solid color workout shirts from Walmart and Target. They work great as a base and are often less than 10 dollars!

  • Precautionary anecdote: At the Tower of Terror 10 Miler a few years ago, we decided to all wear pirate costumes. Life got crazy and I didn’t have the time to make a race costume. It was close to Halloween, so I went to a costume store and picked up the first costume that looked pirate-like and low cost. My costume was made for teens so the arm holes were a little snug and the top was made of velvet. Yes, you read that correctly. I ran a race in 100% humidity and 86 degree temps in a velvet Halloween costume. I thought I was going to pass out before the end of the race. At one point, I considered asking the medical tent to cut it off of me so I could breathe. The only saving grace of that costume decision was that we got selected to be on the Disney blog for a race costume contest. Here is a picture of my race costume disaster:


2. Consider weather fluctuations: This seems like a pretty obvious tip, but it can be tricky to plan around weather. For example, I’ve run the Princess Half Marathon 3 times, and the temperature has been anywhere from 40-85 degrees. I try to be as flexible as possible with my costumes. If I need a shirt with a logo, I make an iron on logo and wait until I see the race day weather forecast before choosing long sleeves, short sleeves or tank top. Tutus and sparkle skirts are also a great way to have a costume that can work in a variety of temps. If it’s cold, you can simply wear running tights or capris under your tutu or sparkle skirt. If it’s warmer, you can wear running shorts. You can also wear fun accessories like running sleeves that are easy to remove should you get warm while running.


3. Keep it simple: I love Pinterest, but sometimes I find crazy costume projects that are time consuming, stressful, and way out of my league. You don’t have to become a seamstress or find a gang of sewing mice friends to create a great race costume. The truth is, a race costume really only needs to make it through the race. I use shortcuts like hot glue, safety pins, and iron on materials to help make the costume prep less time consuming… and when all else fails, I hop on Etsy and outsource the costume to a pro.

Here are some examples of a few shortcuts I’ve taken in the costume department!




4. Check race rules: Planning on going as your favorite superhero with an epic mask? Want to carry a plastic shield? Before you make that extreme costume decision, be sure to check the guidelines for costumes at your particular race. Many races do not allow costume accessories that might conceal your face such as a mask or full face paint.

5. Take your costume for a test ride: It’s never a good idea to try something for the first time on race day. Once you have all your costume pieces together, it’s time to take that costume for a spin! Make sure you are comfortable with the weight and feel of the material.

That’s all for now, running friends. Hope these tips help you make your best race costume yet!


“There’s nothing to it really!”



  1. […] 8. Consider a race costume: Many runners at Disney races wear tutus, sparkle skirts, and race costumes. It’s part of the fun. Costumes should be comfortable and appropriate for the climate on race day. For more tips on making the perfect running costume, check out our costume planning post here. […]