Running Your Business

Hosting an Office Halloween Party: Dos and Don’ts


  • Halloween is right around the corner, but how should you celebrate in the office?

  • If you host an office Halloween party, it's important to remember that sensitivity, culture and industry matter

  • Halloween parties should always be voluntary, and the standards should be made clear in the invitation

Posted by October 12, 2017

It’s that time of year again, All Hallow’s Eve is right around the corner. If you’re thinking about throwing an office Halloween party, you may be wondering: what is (and what is not) appropriate? Consider the following points:

Culture and Industry Matter

If your business is a funeral home, dressing up as a creepy vampire is a terrible idea. However, if your business is an after-school hangout for teens, that might be perfect. You need to consider not only your workplace culture but also your clients.

Real business still needs to be accomplished on Halloween. If your office is completely covered with spooky decorations and everyone is in costumes, will your clients be OK with that? It’s crucial to know your industry.

Sensitivity Is Super Important

Costumes shouldn’t make fun of other cultures, the word “sexy” shouldn’t be attached to any workplace costume and the gore should be kept to a minimum. Remember, the goal is to have fun, not to offend. If you want to dress up as a sexy zombie, save that for your own Halloween party with personal friends.

Halloween Parties Are Always Voluntary

If you want to have a Halloween party at the office, that’s great—just make sure it’s 100 percent voluntary. Not every person likes Halloween and some people don’t celebrate for religious reasons. You should not pressure people to participate in the name of team spirit. Remember that many fun activities cease to be fun when people are forced to participate.

Set the Standard in the Invitation

No one wants to be the party police. So, make sure your invitation is clear and states what is expected. Here are some sample starts:

  • Join us in the break room at noon for a spooky Halloween lunch! We’ll play some Halloween games and eat lunch. No costumes, sorry!
  • Tuesday is Halloween! Please feel free to join us at our annual Halloween Costume Party. Remember, costumes should be respectful of all cultures, not include the word “sexy” in the description and allow you to do your regular job. We’ll meet in Conference Room C at 4 p.m. for treats (no tricks!). Bring your plastic pumpkin if you want to take home some candy!
  • Boo! Tuesday is Halloween! If you would like to dress up in a costume, please keep in mind that our customers will expect us to be working. Wigs, funny hats or Halloween-themed clothes are acceptable, but full costumes are not appropriate. If you have any questions, please ask Jan in HR. With a funny hat or without, please join us for a pizza lunch provided by the business.

You don’t need to provide a detailed list of rules, just a few simple directions generally do the trick. A Halloween office party can be a great activity as long as you keep it voluntary, light and fun. Just don’t forget the candy.

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