As October 31st draws near, many companies are decorating for fall and Halloween. For some businesses, fall festivities include a Halloween celebration and an in-office costume contest. Figuring out just how to participate can be a tricky topic. It will take creativity and class to set the right tone with your costume.
Prep for Halloween with these office guidelines, useful celebration do’s and don’ts, and ideas for throwing together a last minute stunner.
Guidelines for Your Halloween Countdown
Do a little detective work before planning your ghoulish festivities. Find out what last year’s celebrations were like. Was it a subtle dessert with candy corn and rice crispy treats? Was it an all-out party with spider web décor and a cash prize for the best outfit? Ask seasoned employees what percentage of the office staff participated. You want to know if you’re going to stick out like a sore thumb if you do or don’t dress up. It helps to know how your company culture approaches holidays.
Take a look in your inbox and explore the office calendar. Do you see any emails or events set up related to Halloween? See if the company has communicated this year’s plan for employees. You may want to check with your direct supervisor to find out if your department has any specific guidelines set out.
The other item to dig for in your calendar is any upcoming presentations or major meetings that might be occurring on Halloween. You’ll want to consider how your appearance can vastly change how you convey yourself to coworkers, managers and clients. Attending a quarterly review in a poodle skirt and wig could make things a bit awkward. So remember to keep professionalism in mind even when it comes to the fun stuff.
Work Costume Do’s
- Choose a costume that is comfortable and safe to work in
- Label sweets and treats you bring in to share with helpful ingredient info about items such as gluten or peanuts
- Find costumes and props that are easy to take on and off, such as fun ties, silly hats, Halloween name tags, and dramatic capes
- Practice any face painting ahead of time to avoid allergic reactions
- Think humor and not shock value when you pick a character to dress up as
- Provide clear indicators of who you are dressing up as, like the name of your character, a Hogwarts school emblem, the Flo hairstyle, or Rosie the Riveter bandana
- Enjoy the time to bond with coworkers and brighten up a work day
Work Costume Don’ts
- Put on an outfit that is overly gory or scary
- Wear items that are too revealing, suggestive, tight or ill-fitting that the clothes are inappropriate or too distracting
- Bring in fake weapons or dress as violent characters
- Wear costumes that are offensive toward race or religion
- Respond to your coworker’s costumes with disrespectful remarks or harassment
- Choose footwear, bulky costumes or large masks that may impede your ability to maneuver through the office, answer phones, sit at a desk or complete other work tasks
Simple Last Minute Ideas
If you are struggling to find a costume, remember you are in good company. Most people put off choosing an outfit until the last minute. Don’t have to have a Pinterest panic attack! Instead, consider some of these tried, true and somewhat new last-minute costume ideas.
- The classic flapper with pearls, a mid-length dress and a headband
- The secret superhero with a T-shirt peeking out from under your business suit
- A cape or cut up sheet for vampires and ghosts
- A cut-out hat with a color coordinated outfit to look like a banana, pineapple or grapes
- A clever name tag with a character from of your favorite TV shows like “Friends”, “The Walking Dead”, or “Stranger Things”
- A fedora, sunglasses, and suit to give a nod to those Blues Brothers
- Easy add-ons like cat ears, antlers or even a unicorn headband
- A little black dress and pearls for Breakfast at Tiffany’s vibes
- An ensemble group with your department as crayons or the Wizard of Oz cast
- A red dress and playing card crown to be the Queen of Hearts
- Pink jackets with everyone’s name for Grease’s Pink Ladies crew
- A flannel shirt and jeans to make a cowboy, cowgirl or scarecrow look
- A button-down shirt and hat with flowers for the beloved Mary Poppins
Pro tip: characters in professional clothing always make great choices. Think of your favorite character from “The Office”.
When you choose your outfit, don’t feel pressured to have the most original idea at your workplace. Try to enjoy the playful spirit and bring just a bit of imagination into it. And if you are ever in doubt about whether your costume is appropriate, err on the conservative side of things. Finally, don’t forget to focus on your productivity in the midst of the festivities!
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