By the title of the post, you might be thinking of jack-o’-lanterns. But there’s another important type of head in October: Head Races!

Many types of sports have elite courses and races, including the Boston Marathon, the St Andrews Golf Course, and the Kentucky Derby. In the world of rowing, there are two famed races in the Northeast: the Head of the Schuylkill and the Head of the Charles.

Occurring on consecutive weekends (the second to last and last full weekends on October for the Charles and Schuylkill, respectively), the races are staggered “head races” wherein crew teams attempt to complete a course in the shortest amount of time; the winner is the team with the shortest recorded time.

What makes these two races unique? Aside from their rowing fame, geographic proximity, and identical seasonality, the courses have quite similar geographies along two distinct rivers, albeit one predominately traveling N/S and the other traveling E/W.

Although both are considered elite races, the Head of the Charles is perhaps more well known given the course’s adjacency to Harvard, MIT, Cambridge, and Downtown Boston; the Head of the Schuylkill traverses the river alongside Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park and ends at the Art Museum, providing for a more scenic route slightly removed from the city’s hustle-and-bustle.

Although this year’s have come to a close, be sure to check out the races alongside the rivers during the next fall season.