Making Halloween in the Workplace Spooktacular
Halloween is here and while some view this holiday as an excuse for children to eat too much candy and keep dentists in business for years to come, it has recently become known as a “millennial holiday”. The National Retail Federation reported that in 2015, 80% of the 157 million people purchasing Halloween items in the United States were considered millennials. Since millennials are becoming such a large part of the job market, it is important to take note of what interests them so that you can start to form traditions that boost morale and foster relationships in the workplace. Use the following Halloween tips to ensure that October 31st is spooktacular!
Form a committee: As with any office party or event, forming a committee will help to ensure that the responsibility of coordinating doesn’t fall on any one person. This committee should be responsible for all of the Halloween festivities from decorations to costume contests, and should also be responsible for communicating the details of the various activities to the entire office (after approval from their employer of course). Make sure that this committee is comprised of Halloween enthusiasts who will be dedicated to making the holiday fun for everyone in the office, rather than someone who is just going to throw a few pumpkin cookies in the break room and call it a day. In addition to enthusiastic committee members, double check that these volunteers don’t have any projects due around Halloween that might compete with party planning. Being a part of the committee should be fun; however, it should never hinder their ability to finish work related tasks on time.
Decorate the office: During the last week of October, decorating the office is a way to bring some Halloween spirit into the workplace and get everyone involved in the festivities. You can use decorating the office as a team building activity by dividing into teams, with each team being responsible for decorating a different area. Encourage everyone to participate by offering prizes for categories like “Most Creative” and “Scariest Desk” that will be awarded at the Halloween party. Remind your employees to keep their coworkers ability to work in mind and avoid distracting decorations that have a scent, sound, flashing lights, or anything that involves a fog machine.
Dress to impress: One Halloween tradition that is fun, but can go horribly wrong, is donning costumes instead of professional attire to work. A simple memo to everyone in the office stating that if they would like to wear a costume to work on Halloween, they need to avoid costumes that are politically themed (especially with tensions running high so close to the election), costumes that are considered racially insensitive, costumes that are more appropriate for a night club than an office, and anything that will make their coworkers uncomfortable is extremely important. For example, clown costumes make many people uncomfortable and should be left at home. When in doubt, employees should be encouraged to talk to their friendly HR manager about their costume choice. I have found that the best costumes are group costumes; for example, I have seen an entire HR group wear referee costumes (fun and fitting).
Throw a party: Halloween and party are synonymous to many people; however, they may need to adjust their idea of what a Halloween party is to make it appropriate for the workplace. Instead of throwing a party where alcoholic beverages are present (and employees risk seeing each other at their worst), plan games, contests and activities that will keep everyone engaged. The Halloween party is the perfect place to hand out awards for decorations and costumes. Make the awards fun and make sure that everyone who participated in the Halloween themed activities receives some type of award to encourage participation in the future. Bobbing for apples is a classic Halloween activity (who doesn’t want to watch their boss bob for apples), and Halloween themed food is always a hit.
Trick-or- treating: It is becoming increasingly difficult for parents to make the time to trick-or-treat with their children, and even if they do find the time it is difficult to find a safe place for their children to have their bags loaded with candy. By eliminating alcohol from the office party, it is possible to make the party family friendly and invite children to trick-or-treat around the office. Not only will everyone love seeing the kids in their costumes, but the parents will appreciate the effort and thought that went into including their families. This will ultimately lead to employees feeling more connected with their coworkers and the company.
Start a philanthropic tradition: With Thanksgiving and the winter holidays fast approaching, it is easy to overlook Halloween as a time for us to give back to the community. Although Halloween isn’t normally a holiday that we associate with philanthropy, there are many ways to serve our communities this time of year. An example of how your company can reach out to the community is by assembling and handing out Halloween themed comfort baskets to children in the hospital who are not able to go trick-or-treating. Your office can also visit a retirement home, dressed in costume of course, to hand out candy and visit with the residents.
With all of these fun activities, there are plenty of opportunities to form traditions in the workplace that encourage team building, boost morale, and get millennials involved in office activities.