Halloween is one of the most beloved of all seasonal holidays, second only to Christmas in terms of consumer spending. Celebrating Halloween at work can create a joyful atmosphere and bring employees together to have fun and show their creative side. Since Halloween isn’t associated with any one religion, it is an inclusive celebration for any office.
Any party at work deserves a dedicated party planning committee. Ask for volunteers from different departments to help plan and execute the festivities. Getting a good cross-section of employees with different talents and interests will ensure a smooth planning process with a fun, creative party as a result. Party planning committees are also fun ways for team-building exercises and leadership opportunities.
Answering the five W’s (and one H) can help lead the planning in the right direction.
- Who: This is the easiest question to answer, since all are invited. The party should be inclusive of all office employees. Another important question is who is catering, or who is bringing food? Who is in charge of the music? Who will judge costumes?
- What: What is the party about? Will there be a theme (movie characters, zombies, etc.)? What food will be served?
- When: When will the party take place? Choose the day and time that will be best for the company and the employees. Most offices choose to have Halloween parties before instead of after the actual holiday. Also, choose the best time that benefits staff, and get suggestions from employees as to when they want the party to take place.
- Where: Where will the party take place? Will it be in the office, and if so, what department or room will the party be held? Choose a location that is easily accessible to everyone.
- Why: This question is obviously simple to answer, as the point of any party is to have fun and allow employees to mingle and socialize. Parties can also allow for team-building activities.
- How: How will the party be planned? How will the planning committee be chosen? How will the party be advertised (emails, flyers, etc.)? How will parameters for costumes be chosen? How long will the party last?
Having a list of questions to ask will allow the planning to go more smoothly and will ensure no important aspects get left out.
You need more than just people and food for a great office party. Great costumes are the center of any great Halloween celebration.
- Costumes are a must! Encourage employees to wear their best costumes at the party. If employees don’t want to wear their costume all day, you can suggest bringing their costumes and changing before the party. Of course, don’t force anyone to wear a costume or participate if they don’t want to.
- If you don’t want the same old Halloween party, create a theme. Not only are themed parties fun, but it can help narrow down costume and decorating ideas. Some popular themes are Woodstock or the sixties, disco, favorite movie or book characters, villains, or witches and warlocks. The ideas for themes are endless! Be sure to pick one that is easily accessible to everyone in terms of costumes.
- Have a costume parade. Costumes parades are always fun and allow everyone to see the creative costumes their colleagues have created. You can do the parade for fun or give out prizes for the best costume.
- If you are giving awards for costumes, be sure to have many categories so it doesn’t turn into a popularity contest. Categories might include scariest, most creative, funniest, best face painting/makeup, etc. You can even print off free certificates for the winners or purchase inexpensive Halloween trophies or medals to give winners. Or partner with local businesses for gift certificates for free services, like a free dinner or massage. Prizes like those can really up the ante for some great costumes and more participation. Be sure to promote these ahead of time!
- Set rules and parameters for costumes, as they should be appropriate for work.
Now that the costumes are in place, let’s look at ideas for a great office Halloween fiesta!
- Halloween breakfast: Instead of snacks at an afternoon party, have the party at breakfast instead and plan fun foods like apple cider and pumpkin and apple-flavored pastries.
- Halloween decorations: Decorations aren’t only for the party! Give prizes to employees who have the best decorations at their desk, in their cubicle, or in their office. Or have departments compete for best decorations, and have assigned areas for each department to decorate. This is also a great team-building exercise!
- Pumpkin carving contest: To involve families, have your party on or after 4 p.m. so employees can bring their children in for a pumpkin carving contest.
- Trick or treating: It’s not just for kids! Have employees go trick-or-treating from desk-to-desk, or office to office for some grown-up Halloween fun. If employees' families are invited, have each employee have candy on hand to allow children to trick-or-treat in the office!
- Games: Traditional Halloween games appeal to the kid in all of us, and can allow for even more team building.
- Philanthropy: Have staff dress up and go pass out candy in senior centers, schools, or daycares, or set up a Unicef donation center to help those in need.
Office celebrations are great ways to allow employees to relax and have fun at work. Halloween parties are especially festive and allow for team-building exercises. It also is a great way to include families of employees.