Office Halloween Parties: A Guide

Is your office having a Halloween costume party and/or contest? Not sure how to handle it? Today we talk Halloween and navigating the social minefield of costumes at work.

Office Halloween parties can be a fun way to cut loose with coworkers – dress up, maybe vote for your favorite costume, win a gift card – what’s not to like? PLUS, we finally learn that Jenny from Accounting does, in fact, have a sense of humor and does watch Game of Thrones like the rest of the human race (guess you won’t have to worry about running into her after dark in the parking lot after all – she’s normal).

What you also might not realize is that it can be a social minefield if you aren’t careful. Oh, I’m sorry, did we just see Bill from Sales dressed up like a zombie, complete with pumping fake heart and blood capsules in his mouth to scare anyone unfortunate enough to walk past his cubicle? Oh YES we didand oh NO he didn’t! Bill may think he’s clever today, but I can promise you his coworkers won’t so quickly forget his shocking choice of work costume. We just learned that Bill is one twisted dude and not just on Halloween.

As I see it, below are the four main categories that the costume you’re considering might fall into.

  1. The Clever / Funny Costume – Dressing up like a nightstand so you can be a ‘One Nightstand’ or covered in grey paint chips so you can be ’50 Shades of Grey’? Unless you’re someone who doesn’t take yourself too seriously on a regular basis or someone known for your witty banter around the office, play your cards carefully with these ones. If you show up to work wearing paint chips, someone might think you finally got knocked off your rocker, not that you’re clever.
  2. The Serious Effort Costume – If you have the time or desire to make something in this category, good for you. Please wear it on Halloween too, because between you and me, you don’t want to spend that much time for just your coworkers. You don’t. We aren’t worth that much of your time (unless you’re Heidi Klum and own the category of involved costumes, in which case, carry on).
  3. The ‘I Bought This at the Store’ Costume – You obviously just need to check the box for this contest to be seriously considered and you need something that you can also wear to your friend’s Halloween party so they don’t ask you why you didn’t dress up again this year. Smart move. Safe choice. Way to be you and hit the mark of “sufficient.” This probably takes the most confidence of all the categories, since it’s obvious you were bold enough to straight up buy one with minimal involvement on your end (PS: This is the category I usually fall into. So… keep your expectations healthily low, friends).
  4. The Slutty Costume – You’re at work. Put your business away. This is a business and a place of business, but not a place for you to share YOUR business. Unless you want to search for a new place of employment after the contest, don’t share what you may or may not have “going on.” Please and thank you!

All jokes aside, Office Halloween parties can be a fun time for comradery and to let your hair down a little in fourth quarter. If you feel comfortable dressing up, go for it. Have some fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

And for the benefit of the rest of the world, use your judgment. It isn’t fair to give us PTSD because you can’t figure out what’s a work-appropriate costume (since we still have to show up for work cause we got bills to pay)!

Happy Halloween everyone!

The Office - Three Hole Punch Jim.gif

Photo: NBC

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