runDisney Tips

How to Make a Running Costume for runDisney Races or Others!

The four of us Joyful Milers love to run in costumes … even Rob! They are a great way to add excitement and fun to a race, whether it’s a local 5k, a major race, or runDisney event! Jackey gave some advice back in September and I’ve shared my Five Favorite Running Costumes, but with Disney’s Princess Half Marathon around the corner, you can’t have too many tips! So here’s yet another article on how to put together a running costume that will add some pep to your step … and avoid a total costume fail.

How to Make a Running Costume | Disney's Princess Half Marathon Series #1

1.) Comfort is key!

After all, you do have to run. So make sure you stick with breathable, comfortable fabrics that won’t chafe. Your race distance will make a difference, however. For a 5k, you can get away with a more elaborate costume, but for longer distances such as a full marathon, I stick with the basics. We never would have survived 26.2 miles wearing purple fuzzy leg warmers like we wore for the Wine & Dine 10k!

How to Make a Running Costume

Oh, and if you’re thinking about wearing a wig, make sure it’s not too tight or that your skull cap is too tight. Trust me. I’ve learned my lesson the hard way as proved by this video.

Just in time for the #PrincessHalf - Tips for making a #Running Costume! #werunsocial #runchat #runningcostume #runDisney Share on X

2.) Don’t think too literally.

This is my biggest flaw when planning a costume … I think too literally, trying to match whichever character I’m dressing as to perfection. Simply wearing the same colors with a few accessories can do the trick, however, like what I used for my Strip “The King” Weathers costume for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon!

For this, I used a teal shirt, turquoise Sparkle Athletic skirt and visor, fun checkered flag socks and emblems cut from felt. The ads are ones I printed on mailing labels!

How to Make a Running Costume

3.) Be aware of the rules.

Some races may not allow costumes, so check their website or contact the race director to find out first. Others might allow costumes but with restrictions. For example, runDisney’s guidelines in the 2017 Princess Half Marathon Event Guide states that:

  1. Costumes must be family friendly and may not be obstructive, offensive, objectionable or violent.
  2. Guests who dress like characters may not pose for pictures or sign autographs for other guests.
  3. Costumes may not contain any weapons that resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.
  4. Costumes may not contain sharp objects, pointed objects or materials that may accidentally strike another guest.

4.) Think COLOR!

Colorful costumes not only stand out more, but they also look awesome in photos. One of the best we’ve worn was Jessie from Toy Story for the 2016 Disneyland Country Bears 5k!

How to Make a Running Costume

5.) Get ideas from Google searches or Etsy.

A quick ‘running costumes’ search brings up enough examples of other runner’s costumes to keep you busy for an hour. Add in ‘group’ to see good ideas from groups of runners! Etsy offers a ton of running costumes for sale and there are countless Running Costume boards on Pinterest. We have one, for sure!

6.) Buy (gently) used to save money.

There are several places where you can find used costumes that cost much less than the original. On Facebook, check out the runDisneyRun Marketplace group by requesting to join. You can also look for pre-owned running costumes on eBay.

7.) Join Team Sparkle!

Nearly all of my past running costumes have included a sparkle skirt and/or visor from Sparkle Athletic. I have … oh, how many? Five visors and twelve skirts. Yeah. I love my sparkle skirts.

You can also coordinate them with pieces from your existing wardrobe to make a quick costume. Add a red polka dot skirt, visor, sleeves and legs to black shorts and a tank top and voila. Instant Minnie Mouse! Oh, and Amazon Prime members – you can order the basic skirt and visors through Prime with quick two-day shipping!

How to Make a Running Costume

8.) Try Making a Tutu!

Word is, it’s very easy making your own tutu. At least that’s what the gals in the video tutorials say. I’ve never made nor worn one and I don’t have any plans to because they seem too itchy. But they do look adorable on and maybe you’re a little braver than me! If so, they go to the experts – the Runs in Tutus gals for DIY tips:

9.) Be aware of where the bib will go!

While planning out your outfit, think about where you’re going to be pinning your bib. For runDisney, the average size is approximately 8 x 8 and in order to get the best Photopass pictures, you’ll want it pinned to the front of your shirt or skirt. So don’t make the same mistake I made when I sewed my 43’s too close to the front!

How to Make a Running Costume

10.) Plan for different weather conditions.

Especially if you’ll be doing a runDisney race in Florida since weather forecasts can never be trusted! Have backups for all kind of conditions, whether it’s rain, wind, or chilly temps or long sleeves and thermal bottoms that can be worn underneath your costume.

And finally, the most important tip…


And I’m not just talking about a light trot on the treadmill. I mean an actual run to make sure your costume is both comfortable and function able. I wish I would have done a better job with this for my 2014 Tower or Terror Gaston costume. I thought it’d be smart to wear a regular belt with a Fitletic camera case Velcro’d on the back to hold my goodies. Not smart. It bounced the entire way and drove me crazy!

How to Make a Running Costume

I also wish I would have tested out the Mickey ears I wore for the 2015 WDW Half Marathon … the very windy half marathon. Thank goodness I had some extra hair clips to hold it down!

12.) Bring along a sewing kit.

Scissors, needle, thread … hot glue gun, whatever it takes for a quick repair, be sure to toss that in your checked luggage! You’ll thank me later in case of a costume emergency.

So there you have it, my tips for putting together a run and comfortable running costume! What about you?

QOTD: Do you have another tip to add to the list? Awesome, please leave it in the comments below! And be sure to subscribe for more Princess Half Marathon posts.

Happy running!


Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger, vlogger, wife to an amazing guy for 26 years, mom of two wonderful boys, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that plus she can quote most lines from Talladega Nights. Shake and bake!

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  1. Debbie says:

    Listening to the podcast right now. Love dressing up to run! Just finished making my costumes for Princess half marathon. Most of mine are low key but always make ears to match. They are one of my favorite parts of running!! I am even getting my husband to dress like Mickey for the 5K so I can re use my Minnie costume!!
    My Lumiere was one of my favorites with light up ears!! Sebastian was the next favorite!!

  2. Theresa says:

    November is my first 10k&first RunDisney-I wanted to go with a chef theme as my son is actually graduating from culinary college(his name is Chef Louis as the character in Little Mermaid). He brought me a chef hat back from Italy(cloth). I know I must try it on a run, bobby pins to hold it in place? Any other clip suggestions?
    Also, inserts or cushion for running sneakers-any suggestions? New to your youtube channel& love it!

    1. Yikes, my apologies for missing your comment! You might have already figured out the hat, but here’s something Jackey did to help our USO gal costume hats stay in place. She took thick string and made small loops, attaching them to the inside of the hat with a glue gun, making eye hooks of some sort. We then ran the bobby pins in them rather than on the hat so we didn’t have all these bobby pins running up the sides. Hope this helps!

      As for inserts, I used custom inserts. Fleet Feet has a line of inserts that vary in thickness and cushioning but my shoe guy has always recommended sticking with the insoles running shoes come with. Try going to a running store and see what they recommend!

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