Is your office dressing up for Halloween?

Wednesday October 31, 2018

From ghouls and ghosts to long-legged beasts and things that go bump in the night, is your office dressing up for Halloween?

It’s that time of year! A huge stack of pumpkins has appeared in your local supermarket. A pumpkin-spiced latte seems like a reasonable deviation from your regular coffee order. And your employees are cracking all sorts of jokes about zombie commutes and frightful deadlines.

Embracing the tradition of Halloween in your workplace can be a fun way to lighten the mood and motivate your employees. But whether you decide on decorations, fancy dress or a full-on fright fest; there are a few things to consider to avoid your own HR horror story.

Call that a costume?

What’s worse – an employee with a completely inappropriate Halloween costume at work or the one person that doesn’t want to dress up at all?

It’s likely that you’ll encounter both instances when inviting fancy dress into the workplace. And both can be handled through clear communication and expectations.

To ward off a nightmarish situation, it would be a good idea to emphasise key parts of your dress code, such as not showing off too much flesh. One person’s sense of humour could be deeply offensive to others. And if someone really does not want to join-in, give them an opt-out by saying to all that fancy dress is optional.

Health and safety horrors

Your workplace and your employees might look very different on Halloween. But the same health and safety regulations will apply.

Floaty costumes can present trip hazards and candles can do all sorts of damage if left unattended. As always, it’s wise to remain alert for hazards and consider some safer alternatives, such as bulb candles, where possible.

Work in progress

Halloween has a habit of creating a smoke and mirrors effect. By that we mean employees can get caught up in the moment and forget that it is not actually a holiday.

As Halloween falls on the last day of the month, could you consider being flexible with deadlines? Such as requesting a report a day earlier to ensure that your employees are not too distracted from important tasks. Be sure to provide plenty of notice if you decide to do this.

It is also possible that meetings with external visitors or interviewees have fallen on that day. It’s fine if you want people to get a feel for your company culture. But consider each visitor individually and the impression that you will be making.


Halloween at work can be great fun when it is done right. Stay away from scary situations by ticking off your HR checklist, and contact us if you have any further questions.

Preventing People Problems

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