Bananas keep pace at last year’s Jingle All the Way. The 5K, on Dec. 6 this year, benefits an initiative to get kids involved in running. (Swim Bike Run Photo)

Forget reindeer games. Charity races are a win-win for everyone, proving that you don’t have to be Santa to spread goodwill and cover some serious ground this holiday season — but it might not hurt to dress like him. (Or a turkey or goblin, depending on which event piques your interest in the next couple of months.)

Mud Dog Run: Zombie Edition

Crumland Farms, 7612 Willow Rd., Frederick, Md.; Oct. 31, every half-hour from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (tickets remain for 12:30 wave only); $66-$75;

This is what you get when you cross a mud-soaked 5K obstacle course with brain-eating zombies. Make it through obstacles such as a muddy mass grave without getting caught by the undead, and you’ll probably still look like you were buried alive. A portion of the proceeds benefits Platoon 22, a Frederick-based nonprofit organization that works to help military service veterans deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. Also, racers can make their own donations when they register, which participants can do through race day.

Halloween Hustle 5K and Fun Run

Montgomery Village Shopping Center, Gaithersburg; Oct. 31, Fun Run/Walk at 8:30 a.m., 5K at 9 a.m.; $10-$35;

Keep the costumes G-rated at this kid-friendly race to benefit Family Services and the Montgomery Village Rotary Club Foundation, both of which support area families in need. Stroller-accessible trails lead to a post-race party featuring a moon bounce, face- and pumpkin-painting, and a DJ. Register as late as race day.

Proceeds from a Mud Dog Run on Halloween provide help for veterans. (Mud Dog Run)
Operation Reinvent Veterans Day 5K

1201 Lee Hwy., Arlington; Nov. 7, 11 a.m.; $25-$40;

Worried that “naughty” outweighs “nice” this year? Tip the scales by raising money for Operation Reinvent, a nonprofit group that helps women veterans transition from military to civilian life. Registration will still be open on race day.

So Others Might Eat’s Trot for Hunger

Freedom Plaza, 13th Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW; Nov. 26, 9 a.m.; $30-$50;

Compete for Pacers store gift card prizes during this 14th annual event to raise money for SOME, which provides food, clothing and health care to the District’s 11,600 homeless people. Turkey get-ups encouraged. Teams must register by Nov. 16; individuals can register until noon Nov. 25 for $30 or $35, depending upon whether you want to be timed; or on race day for $50.

Virginia Run Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot

15355 Wetherburn Ct., Centreville; Nov. 26, 8 a.m.; $35 for the 5K, $10-$20 for 2K walk;

Burn pre-stuffing calories while helping Life with Cancer, a group founded at Inova Fairfax Hospital to support cancer patients and their families. The race, in its 27th year, has raised more than $1 million so far. Registration for the 5K ends Nov. 25. Bringing strollers and dogs? Opt for the 2K, which welcomes registrants day-of.

Turkey Chase

YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase, 9401 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda; Nov. 26, 8:30 a.m.; $15-$50;

The 2014 Ugly Sweater Run in the District. (Ugly Sweater Run)

Let’s talk turkey: This event, in its 33rd year, typically attracts about 9,000 participants — in all their Thanksgiving trimmings if they want — to support the Bethesda-Chevy Chase YMCA and Bethesda Chevy-Chase Rotary. The under-8 set can win a foam turkey hat for chasing the race mascot in the 50-meter Tot Trot, and there’s a stroller-friendly two-mile fun run/walk, too. Registration for all three is open through race day.

Jingle All the Way 5K

Pennsylvania Avenue NW, between 12th and 13th streets; Dec. 6, 9 a.m.; $40;

Chug some coffee at the starting line to take off like Rudolph in this race, and dress like him, too, if you want to compete in the post-race costume contest. Race winners get cash prizes, but the real gift goes to the DCXC Distance Project, which aims to get local kids involved in running. Leashed dogs, especially in costume, are welcome. Register through Dec. 5 at midnight.

The Ugly Sweater Run

165 Waterfront St., National Harbor; Dec. 12, 9 a.m.; $40-$50;

Need a warm, fuzzy feeling to work up the confidence to run 3.1 miles in a sweater you wouldn’t wear even on a sick day? Break out the ugly to help Save the Children, a child-advocacy nonprofit group. Rehydrate afterward with free hot chocolate, beer and hard cider. Bonus: Runners also get a knit hat. Registration will be open race day if space permits.