It’s 6am. Your hair is a mess. Your costume is still in pieces on the floor. You’re tempted to have candy for breakfast. It’s still dark outside, and you swear a ghost was haunting you all night. Never fear, dear office worker. We’ve got just the witch’s brew you need – a thirteen ingredient potion of tips and ideas for your perfect Halloween from 9 to 5! Read on to uncover the true meaning of All Hallow’s Eve and some tasty tricks to survive the autumnal holiday season…
Tip 1: Pack business attire just in case
You never know when corporate is going to make a surprise visit. Better safe than sorry— well the same goes for Halloween prep. Pack a nice skirt or dress, or shirt and tie, to look presentable when the head honchos come by. Or better yet, bring a subtle costume piece, like a funny hat or a masquerade mask. Your boss will appreciate the professional look, and corporate will appreciate your outgoing, infectious personality.
If you’re going to go up a few belt sizes this holiday season, why not take a few coworkers with you? Don’t munch on that single Snickers bar alone at your unlit desk in the corner like a hermit— instead, bring in a bag of fun sized Snickers and let candy rain down on your work friends. That’s doing Halloween right. Just ask Frankenstein!
Tip 3: For Maximum scare time, make sure you can work in your costume
Nobody wants to do work when they could be trick-or-treating— I mean, taking their kids trick-or-treating, of course… But the truth is that you can be terrifying and productive if you do it right. You can wear your costume throughout the entire work day, provided it doesn’t impair your ability to crunch numbers and send emails. Wear a costume that is distracting to others but not you. If you’re the cat in the hat, make sure that tail and top hat are low maintenance. If you’re wearing a wig, keep it out of your eyes. Color contacts are okay so long as you can still see through them. Masks are an excellent, easy costume, but your Freddie Krueger or IT face needs to have sizeable eye holes and an open line of communication. Bonus: the scarier your costume, the less your coworkers will bother you when you’ve got a deadline!
Tip 4: Work appropriate means everyone can enjoy Halloween
Avoid showing more skin than you would on a normal work day. If you’re allowed to wear shorts or sleeveless blouses to work, then your costume can fit those guidelines too. Some workplaces don’t allow hats but make exceptions for the ghoulish holiday, so ask your HR rep. Remember, October can be a cold, rainy month in some places. An appropriate costume not only treats your coworkers with respect, it also keeps you warm and dry. It’s also smart to avoid offensive costumes with writing on them, political themes, or costumes that feed into stereotypes. Remember that Halloween isn’t the Purge: anything doesn’t go. And there’s nothing wrong with dressing as an old movie character, a popular TV villain, or an old standby, such as a witch or a vampire.
Tip 5: Classic horror movies make great lunch time entertainment
Some of the old favorites like 1958’s Dracula, 1957’s the Curse of Frankenstein, or 1959’s House on Haunted Hill are excellent popcorn fodder to fit into a few lunch breaks. These black and white standards feature great actors, campy stories, minimal blood, and— the best part— a few actual scares. Get ready to spill coffee down your front and really need that backup outfit from Tip #1! You could even make a marathon out of it and ask for input. If everyone in the office votes on their favorite classic scary movies, the winners could be featured every day until Halloween creeps up on us.
Tip 6: Invite parents to bring their kids in for workplace trick-or-treating
Some folks these days don’t always have a chance to take their kids out for Halloween in their own neighborhood. Whether the area gets too spooky at night or schedules don’t line up, it’s getting harder to make Halloween work for the whole family. But little Marco and Ananya just want to show off their cool costumes! Why not have some trick-or-treating at the office? Every employee can bring in a bag of candy or pool money to get some in bulk, and the kids can visit each room in delight. This way, the kids get their fill of candy, the parents get a little costume fashion parade, and families can spend the night in, watching Hocus Pocus and eating smarties by the handful.
For those of us with fur babies instead of real babies, showing off pet costumes is just as important. Luckily, it’s just as cute too! Some offices these days allow cats and dogs to walk the halls daily. If you’re in one of those unlucky businesses that has a strict no-pets policy, this is the perfect time of year to sneak Fido in under a white sheet. Nobody will know that Princess Cleo isn’t actually a tiny witch or that Herman the gecko isn’t really a salesman, right? In all seriousness, your company might lift their no-pets rule for Halloween in exchange for some cute dog pictures and a heaping bag of Babe Ruths. Worth a shot.
Tip 8: Decorate for the season, not just for the month
Halloween is a black-and-orange holiday of ghosts, skeletons, cobwebs, and frights. But autumn is a beautiful time of year full of hot treats, warm colors, and understated decorations. A few faux velvet leaves, a family of gourds, and an orange, lightly scented candle can carry you all the way through December. Remember that everything you put up you have to tear down. I don’t think you’ll want to take down three rolls of streamers and bagfulls of pumpkin confetti come mid-November, will you?
Tip 9: Halloween office parties are all well and good until someone accidentally swallows an apple whole
You may think an office party to celebrate the annual day for ghosts and ghouls is a good idea… And you’re right! Remember to keep it classy and be respectful at every company party. A dry party is ideal, especially with so many big hats wobbling around and odd shoes that are easy to trip in. But, if you do imbibe, limit drinks for employees and ensure that some attendants can be designated drivers in the event someone gives you all a real scare. While a costume contest is doable during work, a party offers the best opportunity for all employees to see all the costumes. Some easy, affordable games that fit the season include bobbing for apples, candy bingo, and any of the hundreds of spooky board games available at your friendly local games shop. Clue during a haunting October evening makes for some chillingly cheesy fun.
Tip 10: Celebrate Halloween with the World
Halloween is a tradition celebrated in a number of countries. Even if the history of the holiday is absent, the contemporary meaning and fun are still vital. If you have clients on the other side of the world, see if their country celebrates Halloween. Send them an e-card or a brief, kooky email message. Every customer wants to know they’re being thought of, even when business isn’t currently on the table. You could even send them this list or a website with Halloween jokes and costume ideas to get them interested.
Tip 11: Halloween music can help you work better and faster
You didn’t hear it from us, but cranking the tunes at work can actually help your productivity. Movie soundtracks from some of your favorite horror flicks can really get your blood pumping. You’ll be sending out emails faster than Jason can teleport around Camp Crystal Lake. If your job doesn’t involve too much reading and writing, there are plenty of scary bands and musicians worth checking out, such as Salem and Crystal Castles. Programmers report that the best music for a lengthy coding session is heavy metal, so it’s time to break out the Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper.
Tip 12: Ghastly radio can shrink those long, fall commutes
Trip to work plagued by traffic, highway accidents, and waves of boredom? October doesn’t have to yield the same results! This is the time of year for goblins and werewolves! Several audiobooks are perfect for this time of year, such as the Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson or Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. Better yet, give Stephen King a try. If you don’t have time for a whole book, creepy podcasts run from 30 minutes to an hour. Some even include a single story every episode, like the Magnus Archives or Last Podcast on the Left. Some are long form, like Tanis and Welcome to Nightvale. What better way to wake up than with a nail biter on your commute!
Halloween isn’t just about jump scares and string music. It’s also about having a great time, dressing up with your friends and coworkers, making new friends, exploring new movies and books, and spreading a different kind of holiday cheer. Halloween is a holiday to remind us that, in the gathering dark and of October, we still have each other, whether that means friends, family, or Deborah from Accounting.