Ideas for Celebrating Halloween at Work
Halloween is a one of those holidays enjoyed just as much by kids as it is by some adults. This special time of year is conducive to several workplace activities and as such it’s an opportunity for some office fun and camaraderie – without breaking the budget. Here are 6 ways to have some fun at the workplace on All Hallow’s Eve.
Pumpkin Carving Contest
You’ll need newspapers or plastic table clothes, pumpkins, and carving kits (available at most stores that sell Halloween decorations). Ask that employees form teams and register ahead of time so you know how many pumpkins you’ll need (buy a couple extra just in case of breakage or last minute sign-ups). Offer prizes for categories such as:
Establish and communicate basic rules beforehand including no inappropriate content, no flamed candles, and anything else with potential to cause comfort and safety issues for the boss. You’ll also need to determine a method for judging. One possibility is a panel of impartial people (not participants) who determine winners. Other means of judging include allowing employees to vote, allowing customers/clients to vote or taking photos and allowing social media followers to vote. Above all else, make sure to get permission/buy-in from the appropriate leadership team member(s) in your office before getting underway.
Halloween Costume Contest
This is one of the most popular office activities for Halloween. Again, permission is strongly recommended and rules are a must. Things to avoid include any costume that’s not appropriate for the workplace (too revealing, culturally insensitive, vulgar, etc.), costumes that inhibit employees’ ability to conduct their work and anything else that may be frowned upon by management. If people need clarification, encourage them to err on the side of caution or consider running it by their supervisor before the day of the event.
Like pumpkin carving contests, costume contests typically have categories. Possibilities include:
Best Team Costume/Theme
Best handmade costume
Best Traditional Costume
Best Use of Company Colors/Logo/Brand
Judging can follow a plan similar to the one noted for pumpkin decorating. When people wear costumes, it’s common to take photos and post them online. Make sure that you allow anyone who doesn’t want to be included in online pictures the opportunity to opt-out. A good way to get around this is to announce that a group photo (or photos) will be taken at a certain time and place. Invite anyone who wishes to be in the photo that will be shared on social media to partake. If these few precautions are included in your event, it’s very likely to be a big hit.
A cubicle decorating contest can change a row of panels into a cobweb-covered graveyard. Participants might want to join the fun individually or with those who work in their vicinity as part of a team. Outline specific items that are not allowed ahead of time (potentially open flames, smoke machines, items that have sound, etc.). Designate a set up and take down deadline and determine judging and categories as described in the pumpkin and costume contests. As always, get permission/buy in ahead of time. Remember to take plenty of photos for your company’s social media accounts (and be mindful of anyone who doesn’t wish to potentially go viral).
Cubicle Trick or Treating
First of all, we recommend leaving out the trick component. With any Halloween activity, the key to having fun and ensuring an event next year is a well-managed, respectful day this year. That said, Trick or Treating doesn’t have to be limited to just the kiddos. Set the parameters first for a successful event. Create a sign-up list so participants know how much candy to purchase. Suggest a per piece price range so everyone enjoys similar quality of their treats. Determine a method for those participating to signal that they are a “stop” on the trick or treat route. Communicate a start and stop time and let the fun begin!
Sharing a meal together in honor of Halloween can be a unique experience. People are very creative when it comes to dressing up food as freakish delights. A breakfast or lunch event will provide your team the opportunity to compare creations and dine together. Some organizations provide the main course to help get things rolling while others do just fine with all-employee contributions. We recommend a sign up sheet divided into main dishes, sides, desserts, and drinks to help ensure a nice balance for your event. This is another opportunity for some great photos for the company Facebook page. This element of the day can also serve as a contest, should you wish to reward the most creative chefs in the company.
Early Wrap Up
While office Halloween events are fun, there’s no substitute for family activities. Because it gets dark earlier during this time of year, consider allowing your employees to start and leave earlier on this day. If you want to give your team an amazing perk, consider closing an hour or two early on Halloween to allow employees plenty of time to prepare for trick or treating, answering the door or whatever their personal activities entail. Of course this isn’t conducive to all organizations, but it’s very popular with those where it is.
Any one or more of these activities are sure to be well-received by your team. In addition to office fun – they can inspire creativity, office fun, and help build rapport among your most valuable asset … your employees. As with any office activity, the key to making an event this year something you can repeat is to seek buy-in/approval, establish guidelines, communicate and minimize disruption, especially for your customers.
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