Halloween Costume Etiquette for the Workplace

Posted: October, 2, 2021 | Categories: Workplace Tips & Professionalism


Halloween is almost here, which means it’s time to ask the question, “What will I wear?!” Before you get to thinking about which costume you’ll wear, it’s important to keep in mind that every organization celebrates Halloween differently. Depending on your workplace, Halloween can either be high-key & festive, low-key & casual, or prohibited. So, if you’re planning on celebrating this year, keep in mind the following Halloween costume etiquette for the workplace.




What’s the Policy? 

Halloween allows some employees to take a break from normal business attire – within reason. Every company has a different way of celebrating and some don’t celebrate at all. If your company already has a dress code in place, it is safe to assume that Halloween is no exception unless stated otherwise by an official in your organization. However, some companies allow a little more leniency on Halloween costumes. If you are unsure of your company’s policy on costumes, ask. It is always better to be respectful of your organization’s policies.

The typical workplace Halloween dress policy is “acceptable, but within reason” So what does “within reason” mean? Dress code policies are put into place to protect employees, clients, and customers. So, when asking yourself what a costume “within reason” would look like, think about why your organization has that dress code policy. For example, if you are in a client-facing job, showing up to work as a bloody mummy might scare your customers away. In that case, your company would most likely want you to look polished and professional, but they might allow something simpler.




Keep it Simple

If you are enthusiastic about Halloween, it can be tempting to go all out and wear the craziest thing you can think up. However, even if it follows your organization’s dress code policies, an over the top costume might not be the best idea. Keep in mind that you’ll be wearing this costume to work, which might entail at least 8 hours of wearing it in your typical working conditions. You don’t want your costume to make you feel uncomfortable or impede your ability to complete your work. The key to wearing the perfect costume for your Halloween work day is to remember to keep it simple. The following are some general tips to help keep you on track for selecting a simple and comfortable costume:

  • Avoid heavy makeup & fake blood – Both can be very messy and uncomfortable (esp. if you are going to be wearing it for the full work day)
  • Try a casual version of your costume – Maybe your company doesn’t allow Halloween costumes or you feel a little uncomfortable fully dressing up. Whatever the reason, a casual costume can be simple, comfortable, and affordable. For tips on your casual costume, check out this BuzzFeed Article.
  • Stay away from large accessories – Large accessories like wings, armor, weapons, etc. can be both distracting and dangerous for you and your colleagues so it’s best to avoid these altogether.




Be Respectful

This should go without saying, no matter what your Halloween costume is, it must be respectful to your colleagues, clients, customers and everyone around you. This means absolutely no culturally offensive costumes. You should also avoid divisive or controversial costumes related to popular news topics. For example, dressing up as a president or government official in order to dismiss or humiliate them. While it might be funny to you, others around you might not feel the same way. This brings us to the ever-so-popular Halloween costume, the funny costume. Put simply, everyone’s sense of humor is different and a funny costume is always a hit, but you should never make a funny costume at someone else’s expense. “Offensive” also isn’t limited to cultural appropriation or sacrilegious groups. For example, making a mimicry of pregnancy can be offensive to anyone currently or previously expecting. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind, if you have to ask yourself if your costume is offensive, you should probably not wear it.




Participate but Don’t Impose

If your company or organization is dressing up and enjoying everything Halloween has to offer, join in! You might feel silly as an adult in a costume, but it’s better to show you are part of the team. Even if it’s just a playful hat or some animal ears, joining in on the office fun will make your holiday experience more enjoyable for you and your colleagues.

On the other hand, if you are participating in the Halloween festivities, make sure you are offering but not insisting that others participate. It is important to respect everyone’s space, customs, and personal & religious views.




Decorations and Treats

Decorating for the holidays is always fun! But before you turn your office into a haunted maze, remember to take into account your company policies and be respectful to those around you. Ask yourself how others would feel about your decorations and make sure that you are not offending or impeding on anyone or their ability to complete their work. It’s probably best to avoid anything scary, animatronic, or with flashing lights.

Treats are also fun to have on Halloween. They’re a great way to celebrate! Keep in mind, candies and pastries could potentially be scary for anyone with a food allergy. If you are planning on bringing treats to work, consider these top 8 most common food allergies before giving them away!  



Most of all, we hope you have a fun, safe, and spooktacular Halloween celebration!!




By JWilliams Staffing

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