Orange is the New Black Ink for Sports Events | Sports Destination Management

Orange is the New Black Ink for Sports Events

Themed Competitions (Including Coffin Races) Make for Big Economic Impact This Halloween Season
Sep 29, 2023 | By: Mary Helen Sprecher

The effects of the pandemic are as dead as the proverbial ghost in a graveyard. Just ask the organizers of sports events scheduled for October this year. And that includes coffin races, which we’ll get to in a minute.


Total Halloween spending is expected to reach a record $12.2 billion, exceeding pre-2020 levels, according to the National Retail Federation. And with more people opening their wallets and preparing to attend events, organizers can expect treats.


A whopping 32 percent of consumers plans to throw or attend a party, including traveling to one. Extrapolate these numbers and we see an increase in the number of people not only throwing parties but going to Halloween-themed events, and that includes themed tournaments. Expect that pent-up demand will play into a spike in travel – and that event owners will be harnessing the enthusiasm to bring registrants, particularly when tournaments can make it fun for younger athletes to dress in costume. Here are some of the events appearing at the top of searches.


Coffin Races are big news, including the Emma Crawford Coffin Races in Manitou Springs, Colorado. You build it, you push it, and you need at least one person steering. There is a hearse parade, with more than 70 teams lining up before the starting gun goes off.


Not to be outdone, Denton, Texas puts on its own version as part of its Day of the Dead Festival. A quote from the website: “In October 2012, Denton held its first-ever Coffin Race. The rules were simple: drivers had to be mindful of wheels and helmets — and brakes were strongly encouraged. In those days, that didn’t stop many teams from throwing those suggestions out the window, and spectators saw everything from cars with no steering wheels to a guy roaring down Hickory Street on a hospital gurney. Luckily, no major incidents were reported, and for the sake of safety and fairness, today’s Coffin Race teams will find many strict rules and regulations to adhere to. Le sigh.”


Those are far from the only coffin races; you can find them in Gardenville, Nevada; Chillicothe, Ohio and Geneva, Ohio (Ohio, what is it with you?), among others.


Freehold Soccer League is putting on its 24th Annual FrightFest Invitational Tournament, and is encouraging teams to get into the spirit over the course of the event.


Halloween sportsMaryland Lacrosse League presents its Halloween Havoc, and just for the occasion, has named the fields, “Cemetery,” “Transylvania,” “Zombie Zone” and “Graveyard.”


Pickleball has never been one to shy away from a good time, and at Rotary Long Neck Sunrise Club, the annual Halloween Monster Ball will feature a costume contest (as well as all the hard-fought action you’d find in any tournament).


Tennis has even gotten into the swing, with the Baton Rouge Wheelchair Tennis Association putting on its fundraiser, the Hallowheel Charity Tennis Tournament. Oh, yes. There are costumes involved. If you can play in it, you can wear it.


Running in the USA, which tracks various foot races throughout the U.S., has recorded an inordinate number of races in October, with even more on the weekend prior to Halloween (October 28 and 29). Most 5Ks include key words such as Halloween, Ghoul, Witch, Haunted, Pumpkin, Zombie, Ghost and similar terms.


Travel to Halloween-related destinations is expected to be especially busy, according to this article. And that means visits to attractions associated with Halloween. Theme parks like Disney (where Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is held) are bracing for sellouts on certain nights; in fact, a site with the ingenious name of Mouse Hacking has insights on prices, how far in advance to reserve, expected activities and other information. (Fun fact: The Not-So-Scary event started in August and runs through November 1.)


It's likely most travel, tournaments and associated activities will take place the weekend just prior to Halloween – Saturday and Sunday, October 28 and 29. This year, Halloween falls on a Tuesday. (As the ghosts all say, boo.)


And for those making travel plans, Lawn Love has rated the Best Cities for Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse. Number one is Houston, and it goes all the way down to 200 (Miramar, Florida). Cities were scored on the criteria of Vulnerability, Hideouts, Supplies, Protection, and Mobility. Researchers also considered population density, access to “bunkers,” and hunting gear stores, for example, among 30 total metrics.


Safety first, people.

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