It’s October. So, you know what that means, right? This month you have a day entirely dedicated for you to assume another identity (or maybe two or three) if you factor in the weekend prior. Beyond the myriad of social events and contests around town, chances are relatively high that your office or shared work space, is hosting a Halloween Party too.
Before you say “I don’t dress up for those,” I must ask “Why the hell not”? I never quite understand why people don’t. I mean rarely, if ever, does one have an opportunity to assume another identity, make people laugh, socialize, eat treats, and engage in work sanctioned shenanigans. It seems like a no-brainer to me.
Arguably the best part of the season is the costumes, and arguably the hardest part is figuring out what yours is going to be! Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be that difficult when you peruse a wide selection of unique costumes for all your ghoulish gatherings. If inspiration and costume ideas are in short supply, step back and think about your personality and over-all style. You don't want to step on any toes, hurt anyone's feelings, piss anyone off or have a serious conversation with HR that ruins your day.
But, before you select your costume, it’s essential to understand this whole work party etiquette thing. Repeat after me - this is a work event. You don't want to step on any toes, hurt anyone's feelings, piss anyone off or have a serious conversation with HR that ruins your day. After witnessing this sh*t go down for a couple of decades, and understanding the importance of greater cultural considerations, here are Your Office Mom's suggestions to make sure your Halloween antics are work approved. And, if a party isn't on the work schedule, it's not too late to get busy planning one with these creative office Halloween party ideas.
1. Show restraint, sensitivity, and common sense
Restraint: Don’t wear anything too sheer, revealing or sexy. And, no I am not a prude, and there’s no shaming implied here, but THIS IS WORK, so beware of any overt or NSFW costumes and cover up the girls with a cami and wear some tights. Everyone in the company whispering about the inappropriateness of your costume choice isn’t worth that Amazon gift card. Guys, this applies to you too. Be mindful of skintight pants that leave little to the imagination and that chest baring open shirt. Same goes for too much blood and gore. We don't want your re-enactment of our worst nightmare, compelling us to check under the bed when we get home. After work you can add an accessory here, remove one there. You get the idea..
Cultural sensitivity: For god's sake, please steer clear of any ethnic or racial themes. Unless you’re part of the race or ethnic group, you're enacting, this is not the time to dress up as if you are. Trust me on this one. Regardless of your workplace demographics or how much fun it sounded when you were drunk off your ass last weekend, it shows a total lack of sensitivity. I'm amazed white people still think blackface is funny or appropriate. You may not intend to offend but know what costumes are offensive. To be safe, do your own Google search.
Avoid social and political themes: In case you haven’t noticed, we have a somewhat heated political climate, rife with social discord. Even under normal circumstances, politics and work don’t mix, so be careful about letting any social or political statements come to life in your costume. They may be in the news, and on late night, but this is your place of business. You don't want to alienate your boss, peers or clients. If you think it might be offensive or over the top, it probably is. Save that for the after-work party, and even then proceed with caution.
2. Be respectful
Some people don’t participate in Halloween festivities. It’s not their thing. You don’t need to know what their thing is, you just need to respect it. They're either no fun whatsoever; they think it’s lame, or most importantly, it's counter to their spiritual or religious views. Regardless, it’s not your place to interrogate them. Just respect the fact they have a choice to participate or not, as do you. If you're decorating your cubicle or work area be mindful that other's aren't. Make sure your creepy decorations and any movement activated items (no matter how fricking funny you think they are) don't infringe on their space. Why don’t people celebrate?
3. Mind your manners
Be sure to show appreciation to your party planners. Work parties require a substantial amount of time and effort especially those on a tight budget and with few volunteers. If there's a sign-up sheet, sign up! It’s easy to bring food or beverage items; it doesn't need to be elaborate or expensive. Another option is to offer to help set-up or clean-up. You can surely stop working for 15 or 20 minutes and pitch in, right? Sure, you can!
Finally, before you think about complaining about anything, don't. Your co-workers had a hand in planning this little soiree. So, if you don’t have anything nice to say, remember what Mom always said, “Don't say anything at all” except "please" and "thank you." Moreover, if you don't like how this little Spooky Little Shindig went down, maybe you can be part of the party planning process for the upcoming holiday season. The more, the merrier as they say.
4. Have a Plan B
Some costumes are hot, bulky and uncomfortable. It may look fabulous, but make sure you can work in your costume and makeup all day. If you decide to start taking it apart during the day you need to be sure whatever is underneath is more than lacy hipsters and a thin tank top or a pair of boxer briefs. So bring a change of clothes and make-up remover. It’s important to have a Plan B.
You will be glad you did, if you are summoned to an unexpected client meeting or if the HR Manager wants to have a little chat, about your choice of attire. Either way, it's a lot easier than being sent home. Hey, it happens. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Happy Halloween! Have fun and be safe kids! Also, if you have any leftover candy, I want it!