Celebrating Halloween At The Office - Genesis HRWhen I was a kid, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays—I still remember the year I dressed up as Teen Wolf, my all-time-favorite costume (even though it was terribly itchy).

Now, as an adult, I find that sometimes the rules of celebrating Halloween aren’t as clear as they once were—and that’s especially true at the office. With this in mind, our team put together a list of do’s and don’ts for celebrating Halloween at the office. (Yes, our team will be celebrating, costumes and all, and we’ll certainly be following these rules, too.) Take a look!

Rules For Halloween At The Office

1. Don’t assume anything about how your office will celebrate.

Rule number one for celebrating Halloween at the office is to never assume your office is actually celebrating. You don’t want to walk in as Frankenstein and realize you’re the only person who dressed up–so before you plan your award-winning costume, check with HR about what’s allowed and what’s not. Can you wear a costume at all? Will there be any events within departments or even company-wide? Check and see, and then follow the guidelines provided.

2. No offensive or inappropriate costumes.

If you get to dress up at your office, awesome! But please, please, take into consideration whether or not the costume you’ve chosen is appropriate. If it’s not—or if there’s even a smidgen of doubt in your mind—pick something else.

Here’s a quick list of what to avoid from U.S. News:

  • Anything sexualized.
  • Anything that plays on racial tropes.
  • Anything that makes it uncomfortable to talk with clients or colleagues.
  • Anything offensive politically.
  • Anything too morbid or grotesque.

As the previously mentioned article explains, “Employers in the U.S. have a legal responsibility to ensure their workplaces don’t constitute a hostile environment for employees on the basis of protected classes, which include race, ethnicity and national origin.” Take it seriously.

3. Don’t hassle co-workers who don’t dress up.

“Not everyone enjoys dressing up for Halloween, and that’s OK.”  It’s simple: Just don’t make people feel bad or awkward for choosing to not dress up.

4. Don’t leave early for trick-or-treating.

…That is, unless you’ve cleared it way in advance with your supervisor. Don’t take advantage of the holiday by choosing to work around rules that you normally follow—if you would like the time off, you should ask for it in advance. Also, don’t expect your co-workers to cover in your absence if you do leave—that isn’t fair to them, and it could jeopardize whether or not your workplace allows Halloween events in the future.

5. Keep it under control at the office party.

I thought this article shared some important advice: “Sometimes these get out of control or go a bit awry,” he says. Take it easy on the witch’s brew, so you don’t say or do something that would make a Daisy Duke outfit look tame.

Less Tricks, More Treats

A Halloween party—just like any office celebration—is no excuse to do things you can’t (or wouldn’t) usually do at work. Just keep these rules for celebrating Halloween at the office in mind, and you should have a spook-tacular time!