Celebrate Halloween at Work

How to Create Halloween Traditions through Fun Celebrations at Work

••• Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Traditions are important in companies just as they are in families. And, Halloween is one of the best holiday traditions to establish and to celebrate at work.

Halloween has climbed right up the holiday charts and is now the second most popular holiday, second only to Christmas, so it's popular with employees, too. Celebrating Halloween at work appeals to the child in each of us and helps create a motivational, teamwork-oriented work culture.

Halloween is unconnected to any particular religion so diverse employees are rarely offended. The myriad activities associated with Halloween allow you to schedule few or many events while still celebrating Halloween at work.

As with any event that is not part of the content of the work, however, participation in any Halloween festivities is voluntary. No employee should ever feel pressured to celebrate Halloween at work. 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 will want to form a small, cross-functional committee to plan and execute the celebrate Halloween at work events. Alternatively, you can form an employee events team whose membership changes every year so that you involve a diverse group of interested employees to plan your Halloween celebration.

Rather than all organizational event planning landing in the lap of the Human Resources staff, rotating primary responsibility for holidays from department to department or to an employee events committee is important.

This rotation allows for team building and leadership development across the company, since planning and executing holiday celebrations build staff skills. Additionally, when different departments own various holidays, staff are more likely to participate and fresh ideas are generated.

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

Finally, participation on the planning team further develops staff teamwork skills.

Celebration Ideas for Halloween at Work

These ideas will spark your creative thinking and open up the world of possibilities for celebrating Halloween at work. And, they are all doable since my client companies have done them all.

Costume Party or Parade: No Halloween celebration at work would be complete without the opportunity for staff to wear costumes. You can keep the event simple and encourage people to just wear their costume to work for the day. Or, you can make the celebration more elaborate and hold a party or an official parade of costumed employees throughout the company.

Staff voting for their favorite costume is often a popularity contest—yup, that's the reality of staff voting—so, to counter this popularity contest, multiple categories of awards are recommended. Try 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 awards in advance and provide a nice gift to the winners such as a gift certificate or catalog certificate.

Halloween Breakfast: Cider and doughnuts make a popular breakfast treat for Halloween.

So might pumpkin and apple bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin coffee cake, or pumpkin and apple muffins. For healthy eating, assorted fruits top off the meal, and you'll also want to make the breakfast a team building celebration. Ask employees to spend some time together rather than retreating with their breakfast to their office or cubicle.

Halloween Luncheon: You can make a Halloween at work luncheon as seasonal as breakfast. Or, you can order pizza, sandwich wraps, submarines, or any other luncheon menu. Most restaurants will deliver for a large crowd even if they don't advertise that they do. This enables employees to work until the event is scheduled.

Halloween Decorations: Offer prizes for best and most festively decorated work area. You can give awards like the awards suggested above for costumes.

Enhance the team building aspects of this competition by encouraging teams of people to work together to decorate their shared work 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 older children to help and younger kids to watch if you choose to make this a family adventure. Other organizations make pumpkin carving a contest between individual employees or groups of employees. Either option is a fun, creative team building opportunity.

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 fun.

Because trick or treating is for children, too, you can hold a costume party for staff children, schedule trick or treating with the employees, and serve cider and doughnuts for all. The children are amazing in their costumes and your employees will enjoy the event. Many may live where they don't see any children trick or treating.

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 community events, activities, and needs and assist with them. Company employees have visited elder care centers in full costume and passed out treats. They have visited pediatric care facilities at hospitals. And, they have run clothing and food collection drives for local churches, charities, and food banks.

Bobbing for Apples and Other Games: Bobbing for apples is a tradition many of your employees will decide to skip, but it's fun for those who are interested. It's a laughter generator for those who are not. ​Team building games and activities that are active in nature and without the potential to embarrass work best for Halloween celebrations at work.

Halloween celebrations at work are a popular way to mark the occasion of this increasingly widely celebrated holiday. The Halloween celebration at work is positive for employee morale and team building. Sounds like a real winner. Looking for other Halloween ideas?