Halloween in the Office

It’s tough not to love Halloween.

It’s the one time during the year where people can morph into other humans, creatures, or inanimate objects. It’s the American tradition that prevents us from taking ourselves too seriously. And we love it for that very reason.

Now, translate that into the office atmosphere. On the one hand, Halloween in the office is a perfect way to incorporate light-hearted fun into the workplace. Employees can step out of their shell and share laughs with coworkers.

On the other hand, Halloween is usually still a work day. It’s difficult enough keeping people concentrated on days like Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day; throw in the mayhem of Lady Gaga and Ninja Turtle costumes and the ability to keep employees on task becomes … impossible.

So here are a few frightful things to be mindful of while celebrating Halloween in the office. HR leaders — beware!

1. Inappropriate Costumes

Eek! This is an absolute horror for everyone involved.

And all it takes is one person to slip up — perhaps unknowingly — for dress code to become a serious issue. Though your employees are smart adults, it is worth sending an email out to the team reminding employees that certain costumes should be saved for after work hours, like those that are:

  1. Revealing
  2. Overly grotesque
  3. Cultural or ethnic stereotypes
  4. Physically inhibiting (preventing one from doing work)
  5. Or just … this

It’s not fun having to send an email before Halloween that comes off as though you don’t trust your employees to do the right thing. But remember that the alternative could be far worse.

2. Party-at-Work Attitude

Unfortunately, Halloween isn’t a national holiday.

Employees are expected to get work done, or else they would have been given the whole day off. Still, it will naturally be difficult to keep employees on task.

To avoid having the entire day go to waste, set aside the last couple hours of the workday for a Halloween social. Pencil it onto to the office calendar.

Halloween is an opportunity for employees to truly relax while socializing with others and to participate in team bonding. Simply separating work time from social hour allows employees to get some good hours of work done during the day without getting distracted by costumes and sugar highs.

3. Negativity Toward Employees without Costumes

This is never fun. No matter how small or “good-humored” the comments are, hearing colleagues continually bring up someone’s lack-of-a-Halloween-spirit gets old — fast.

So make it clear that dressing up is not mandatory. Even if your office is hosting a Halloween costume contest, employees must understand that those who don’t want to participate don’t have to. Instead, perhaps they can act as one of the judges.

The office is above all a workplace. Those who want to treat Halloween in the office like any other work day have every right to do so!

4. Undermined Authority of Managers & Executives

Of course, managers and executives should be part of the Halloween fun. It makes sense for them to be silly and participate in Halloween with rest of their team. In fact, it could be a great way to boost company morale.

But keep in mind that executives and managers shouldn’t come to the office in over-the-top costumes. Or if they do, it should be a costume that’s easy to get out of.

Managers and executives have to be ready to hop into a last minute meeting and be taken 100% seriously. Listening to the CEO talk strategy while his Jack Sparrow-locks whip around his head is possible to do seriously, but it’s undoubtedly more challenging.

So Cover All Your Bases

Halloween should be lighthearted and fun; Halloween employee engagement is a great idea, as long as you put the proper cautionary measures in place.

Hosting a Monster Mash at HQ is such a great opportunity to bring your team together. After that, bring on the weekend!