How to Celebrate Halloween at Work

Create Halloween Traditions Through Fun Office Celebrations

Three office workers don Halloween costumes for their office Halloween party.


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Why Celebration Traditions Are Important

Traditions are just as important in companies, as they are in families. And, Halloween is one of the best holiday traditions to establish and to celebrate at work. Your employees can have fun with Halloween celebrations at work.

Halloween is the second-largest commercial holiday, surpassed only by Christmas for consumer spending and it's very popular with employees. Celebrating Halloween at work appeals to the child in everyone and helps create a motivational, teamwork-oriented work culture.

Plus, Halloween isn't connected with any particular religion so diverse employees are rarely offended. This is a plus in a world where the top holidays celebrated internationally are often connected to religion.

As with any event that is not part of the day-to-day work agenda, participation in any Halloween festivity should be voluntary. No employee should ever feel pressured to celebrate a holiday that requires you, for example, to dress up in a costume or bob for apples. And, even if employees don't dress up, you need to honor the diverse needs and values of all of your employees.

How to Prepare to Celebrate Halloween at Work

As with any employee event, you want to form a small, cross-functional committee to plan and execute Halloween activities. Alternatively, you can form an employee events team whose membership changes every year so that you involve a mix of interested employees to plan your annual events and celebrations.

Rather than leaving all of the organizational event planning in the hands of Human Resources, try rotating primary responsibility for holidays from one department to another. Or, one employee to another. That way, no one feels burdened, and everyone (eventually) gets to take part in the planning.

This rotation also allows for team building and leadership development across the company, since planning and executing holiday celebrations build organizational and managerial skills. Additionally, when different departments take ownership of various holidays, fresh ideas are generated.

The tradition of the celebration is important, but new activities, along with the tried and true ones, are always welcome.

Celebration Ideas for Halloween at Work

These ideas will spark your creative thinking and open up the world of possibilities for celebrating your own unique Halloween at work celebration.

Costume Party or Parade

No Halloween celebration is complete without the opportunity for staff members to wear costumes. You can keep the event simple and encourage people to just wear their costume to work for the day. You can also pick a theme—like Woodstock, famous movie stars, or fairy tales. Make it a point to pick a new theme each year.

Staff voting for their favorite costume is often a popularity contest. So, to avoid holding a popularity contest, have multiple categories of awards. Give out awards for the best costume, the funniest costume, the most sophisticated costume, the costume that took the most work to make, the scariest costume, and the most creative costume. Advertise the award categories in advance and provide a small gift to the winners such as a gift certificate to a local retailer.

Halloween Breakfast

Cider and doughnuts are a popular Halloween breakfast treat. So are pumpkin and apple bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin coffee cake, or pumpkin and apple muffins. For healthy eating choices, have assorted fruits available. Make sure you have employees gathered together in one place, rather than everyone retreating with their breakfast to their office or cubicle.

Halloween Luncheon

Organize a pizza or sandwich wraps or subs Halloween luncheon with an orange-colored punch and black paper plates and napkins. If possible, hold the lunch celebration for a three-hour period so staff can stagger their time. And, be sure to have appropriate eerie music playing.

Halloween Decorations

Offer prizes for best and most festively decorated work area. Enhance the team-building aspects of this competition by encouraging groups of people to work together to decorate their shared work area. Or, have teams pick a specific office location (e.g., lobby, conference room, break room) and each team decorates their area.

Pumpkin Carving Contests

Start at around 4 p.m. so staff can bring their children in for the pumpkin carving contest. Parents can bring their older children to help out and their younger children can watch, turning it into a family adventure.

Trick or Treating (Without the Tricking)

Not just for children, you can encourage all employees to bring treats to share and employees can go cubicle to cubicle or door to door trick or treating. Provide each employee with a Halloween trick or treat bag for added fun. Budget allowing you can have the company logo imprinted on the bags.

Because trick or treating is predominately for children, you can hold a costume party for the children of all staff members—a great way for employee families to bond with each other.

To appeal to the philanthropic hearts of your employees, a form of employee team-building and staff motivation that is growing in popularity with the next generations of employees, invite children with special needs to trick or treat, too.

Schedule Philanthropic Activities for Volunteers

Use your imagination to find events, activities, and those in need in your community and lend your assistance. Company employees can visit senior care centers in full costume and pass out treats. Or, they can visit a pediatric care department at a local hospital or a homeless shelter. Clothing and food collection drives for local churches, charities, and food banks are more good options.

Bobbing for Apples and Other Games

Bobbing for apples is an age-old Halloween tradition that many employees will decide to skip (it's messy), but it is fun for those who are more adventurous or unworried about messing up hair, makeup, and clothing.

There are also a lot of ​team building games and activities that you can orchestrate—all in the guise of a Halloween celebration.