On October 31st we celebrate Halloween. Halloween is a day to dress up in costume, hand out candy and try to frighten each other with spooky stories. Like many holidays that are celebrated today, Halloween did not start off being celebrated in this manner – its origins have a history that started many centuries ago, but it has become one of the best holiday traditions to establish at work. Celebrating Halloween at work appeals to the child in each of us and helps create a motivational, team work-oriented work culture.

Use these do’s and don’ts when bringing a little Halloween festivity into your workplace:

  • Do get some consensus and approval about dressing up: If you’re in charge, let people know you would love it if they dressed up on Halloween. If your company has policies about office parties and holidays, know what they are and make sure the powers-that-be are on board with your Halloween dress-up ideas.
  • Do make it completely optional: Not everyone is interested in putting together a Raggedy Ann or Ninja outfit, and some people have religious or personal beliefs that don’t approve of Halloween, so make sure no employee feels uncomfortable if they choose not to participate. (Just in case, though, you might want to pick up a few inexpensive masks to have for folks who don’t dress up and then wish they had.)
  • Do make it into a party: Even if it’s just some orange and black cookies and spiced cider set up in the lobby or the coffee room all day, everyone will enjoy a little time to get together to appreciate each other’s costumes and to do a little holiday bonding.
  • Don’t wear anything sexy or revealing: This is still a workplace, so leave the sexy doctor outfit, or the big baby wearing only a giant diaper costume for a nighttime social event outside of company time. Rules of modesty and work-appropriate coverage still apply, and laws about sexual harassment are still in effect.
  • Don’t wear anything graphic or offensive: Super-gory horror movie costumes can freak people out, and costumes that make fun of religion or politics are guaranteed to offend someone, so aren’t a good choice for work. And toy guns or weapons have no place in the office.
  • Do make it a contest: One surefire way to get people involved is to make it into a contest. You can name a team of official judges, or set up a voting box so every employee can vote for their favorites. Give prizes like a chair massage gift certificate, lunch at a local restaurant or candy to get more people participating.
  • Do get people to decorate, too: Award a prize to the person who does the best job at decorating their cubicle or desks for Halloween.

Halloween is one of the most fun holidays to celebrate in the office, so have a great time!

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