Celebrating Halloween At The Office

Get Fun Ideas for the Workplace, from Parties to Costume Contests

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Everybody in the US seems to be thinking about Halloween just now. For most people, it centers around their children and the annual trick-or-treat festivities. However, for a growing number of Americans, Halloween is also celebrated at the office. That's a good thing for the business as well as the employees. Here is a plan that you can start today that will let you and your employees reap the benefits of Halloween at the Office.

Why You Should Bother

You can use Halloween at the Office to build morale and teamwork. At the same time, it can help you spot creative and participative talents among your employees. Your people have a little fun in the office, which builds morale. Groups of employees work together on fun projects, which helps build teamwork. Employees from different departments share a common activity, which improves communication and inter-departmental cooperation. You get to identify the people in your organization with hidden talents, skills like creativity, team leadership, and cooperation, in a non-hierarchical setting.

Start Today

Even if you haven't yet started, it's not too late. Find, or appoint, a volunteer to coordinate the activities. Human Resources and Communications are good places to find this type of individual, but it can be anyone.

Decide what the event will include, when and where it will take place, and set a budget for the event. Then get the word out.

Use whatever employee communications methods you have to announce the Halloween at the Office event. Post it on the bulletin boards and the company intranet. Send out a blast email. Use the communication tools you have so people will have enough time to get their part ready.

What's Included?

Pick and choose from this list those things that will work for your company. Be aware of the company culture, its industry, and its location.

  • Halloween Party: Usually, this works best at lunch time. Set it up in the company cafeteria or lunch room if you have one. Get facilities to put up decorations, which you can purchase. Make sure everything is fireproof. The party can be as simple or as extensive as time and your budget allows, from a buffet lunch to punch and cookies. Having a party increases the time that employees from different departments will interact and provides a venue for judging a costume contest if you have one. It also gives employees who cannot, or choose not to, participate in the costume contest an opportunity to interact with those employees who do.
  • Costume Contest: Set up and publish the contest rules, including categories. You may want to have separate contests for teams and for individuals. Award prizes for best, most original, scariest, lamest, etc. You can even give a prize to the individual who's costume most resembles a corporate executive or best exemplifies the company spirit.
  • Area Decorating: Starting the morning of the event, allow employees to decorate their group areas in a manner reflective of Halloween. They may want to create a haunted house or a graveyard. What they come up with tells you something about the people in the group. How well they do it says a lot about their team spirit. Keep an eye out for the informal leaders who emerge during the process who you might be able to develop further.
  • Other Games and Contests: If it's appropriate for your company, consider apple bobbing or pumpkin carving or anything else your event leader comes up with.

Events like Halloween at the Office can be great ways to promote employee morale, teamwork, and inter-departmental cooperation. They can also help you identify creativity, innovation and leadership talents among your employees that you can develop for business purposes. Besides being good for business, it can be fun. Give it a try.

Costume suggestions

Some shy employees feel unable to fully participate in group activities at the office. They worry about appearing silly or being embarrassed. Halloween may provide a good opportunity for these employees to join in. It's a great time for shy people to show off their talents at the office while hiding behind a costume.

Here are some good costume choices for employees who are uncertain about participating in the office Halloween party:

Full-face or full-head masks

Costumes with hoods

  • Ghoul
  • Dementor
  • Monk

Easily removable Costumes

  • Big glasses with funny nose and fake mustache
  • Sunglasses and black fedora hat, like the blues brothers

Inappropriate Costumes for the Office

Remember that although this is an office party, it is more office than party. Choosing an appropriate costume means ruling out anything that would ridicule or embarrass your coworkers. Which costumes are acceptable will vary from company to company depending on, for example, location, industry, and company policy. Here are some costumes that are not appropriate regardless of the setting:

  • Exaggerated body parts of the other gender
  • Costumes like the facial tissue box with sexual innuendo in the brand name
  • Costumes that are too revealing (sexy can be acceptable, nearly nude is not)
  • Costumes that shed or loose parts (like feathers) that could get into a co-worker's area
  • Excessively elaborate or expensive costumes
  • Minimal costumes that scream "I couldn't be bothered"

Appropriate Costumes for the Office

Good choices for costumes at the office Halloween party include those that demonstrate your creativity, those that display a business-appropriate sense of humor, or those that show your talents in a favorable light. These could include:

  • An intricate costume you made yourself that shows off your skill as an artist or your ability to sew
  • A costume that demonstrates your ability to select common items and blend them into a costume, like large rubber balls, hooked together to make you look like a bunch of grapes
  • Donald Trump mask, shabby suit, and a sign that says "you're fired" but "you're" has been scratched out and replaced with "I've been"
  • Or something as simple as the programmer who replaced his standard Dockers(r) and a t-shirt with a nicely tailored, expensive business suit and a full face mask so no one knew who he was.