Tips for organizing the corporate Halloween party

Falling leaves, shorter days and chillier mornings signal the onset of autumn and the approach of the season’s sweetest holiday: Halloween. It’s an occasion for assembling a creative costume and indulging in candy—and why should children have all the fun?

If you’re in charge of organizing your company’s office parties, you’re probably in the midst of planning some sort of Halloween celebration. And while these festivities can provide a morale-boosting diversion from the typical workday, it’s important, when throwing company-wide events, to ensure that the fun is good-natured and inclusive. Here are a few tips for throwing a Halloween party that’s both lively and workplace-appropriate.

Specify costume guidelines

Creative getups are an essential part of Halloween, and, therefore, most Halloween parties. Just make sure all employees are on the same page about what sort of costumes, if any, are expected at your company Halloween party. No employee wants to be the killjoy who doesn’t dress up. But it’s equally horrifying to enter the office decked out in full costume while everyone else is in business attire.

Avoid confusion by sending out a company memo outlining the nature of this Halloween celebration. Tell employees there will be prizes for the most creative costume, the most colorful costume, or the best homemade costume, to provide parameters for their costume selection. Schedule a start and end time for the party so everyone knows not to schedule client meetings during this time.

Use your best judgment to help employees avoid offending their coworkers with their costume choice. Every company culture is different, but it’s better to be overly cautious and specify ground rules discouraging costumes of a political or religious nature.

Encourage open communication

In your memo, tell employees they can approach you with any concerns they might have about the party. While Halloween has evolved into a light-hearted evening of trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns and donning costumes, the holiday is derived from ancient celebrations of mystery, magic and death—themes that make some people uncomfortable.

Consider alternate activities

Avoid uncomfortable situations altogether by organizing an autumnal activity in which everyone can get involved. Go apple picking, visit a corn maze or simply spruce up the break room with a few Halloween decorations and a bucket of assorted candy. You can provide your employees a tasteful amount of Halloween-themed fun without alienating anyone or creating too much of a disturbance.

Every company has a different culture, so use your best judgment—and these tips—to organize an appropriate Halloween celebration. Remember, you can always play it safe and simply treat your team to something tasty. We’ve yet to find anyone who’s offended by a free pumpkin latte!