Halloween is next week. If you’re like us, you’re pretty darn excited for the upcoming evenings of Halloween-themed parties, get-togethers, liquor, candy, and debauchery celebrated with friends in their ghoulish and/or sexy garb that are sure to ensue. Celebrating Halloween with friends is great, because you have free reign (for better or for worse) to wear (or not wear) whatever your heart desires, from a terrifying zombie to a sexy policeman reminiscent of Magic Mike. However, there is one Halloween party that requires a little careful consideration: the office party. If your boss is festive and a Halloween office party is a company tradition, then great! Before you go crazy, though, there are a few guidelines that must be adhered to. Keep these Halloween office party do’s and don’ts in mind, and you’ll have all the fun without any of the job-compromising regrets.
If you work at the kind of company that doesn’t deny employees the right to be festive on Halloween, then by all means, don’t take that for granted! Participate, even if you’re not the costume and candy type. Halloween festivities at the office are all about loosening up, adopting an alter ego that you otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to do at work, and strengthening bonds with coworkers. Even if you just wear all black with an orange tie, participating will help you feel connected to the rest of your company, as opposed to being the party pooper.
Oh, and if you’re the boss of a department or entire organization, definitely participate. You’ll build more rapport with your employees, and it might do you some good to loosen up if only for a day.
… Bring Food
The same rule that applies to parties outside of work applies here, too. Don’t come to work empty-handed on Halloween if your office is getting festive. Grab a bag of candy or some chips and guacamole from the nearest grocery store. Your coworkers will appreciate it.
… Mind the Dress Code
This is relative to the corporate culture at your specific workplace, obviously. But the general rule applies for everyone. Don’t bust out a costume with shorts if your office’s dress code says not to.
… Show Your Face
This is more of a practical suggestion. Wearing a mask or other bulky, face-covering costume will not only be distracting for your coworkers, but might also prohibit you from getting your work done. If you are planning to don the mask, at least make it one that’s easy to put on and take off so that you can wear it for the potluck, but easily take it off at your desk.
… Get Creative
Go beyond the vampires, ghosts, and Hello My Name Is costumes and get creative. Opt for a topical costume, a TV show character, or a play on words. As long as it’s tasteful, you’re good to go.
This is the biggest Don’t for any Halloween office party. Stay away from costumes of the religious, political, or racial variety, and avoid costumes that might strike an emotional chord, such as a getup inspired by a celebrity who has recently passed or a tragedy that happened. Just because you may not find something offensive doesn’t mean it’s a safe bet for everyone else.
… Wear Anything That Would Prohibit You From Doing Your Job
This goes along with the whole showing-your-face thing. Avoid body suits, morph suits, or any costume that protrudes outward from your immediate person (stop thinking dirty thoughts. You know what we mean). Not only might it be distracting, it may also be hard to maneuver through tight cubicles and office hallways in a giant inflatable ostrich jumpsuit.
… Decorate or Prank, Unless…
… your company has a strong corporate culture and solid camaraderie amongst coworkers. If you work in a very serious environment, it may not be appropriate to decorate your cubicle with skeletons and play eerie music from your laptop. However, if your company is more relaxed (and especially if your boss is into Halloween), and if you’ve been at your company for a decent amount of time, a harmless prank and a bowl of candy at your desk may be perfectly fine. Just avoid any pranks that could potentially cause actual terror, destruct company property, or disrupt work from getting done.
… Go Too Scary or Too Sexy
Save those costumes for the haunted houses and parties you’re attending after you clock out. Don’t wear anything that strays too far from the company’s dress code. And, be courteous of your other, potentially more easily scared, coworkers.
… Body Paint
Unless you want the cost of cleaning the bright blue metallic paint off your chair and all communal office spaces you encountered throughout the day coming out of your paycheck, pass on the full-body-painted Avatar costume.
With these do’s and don’ts in mind, we hope you have a swell time at this year’s office Halloween party. Take lots of pictures, bond with your coworkers, and use this excuse to eat copious amounts of candy before your lunch break. Happy haunting.