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Halloween Costumes Safe for the Workplace & HR Policies


Whether you are the person in charge of making and enforcing HR policies at your workplace or an employee wanting to make sure you do not inadvertently ruffle any HR feathers, Halloween can prove a precarious time. On the one hand, it is a fantastic opportunity to have a little light-hearted fun at work, on the other … some HR policies are so overly strict, the prospect of picking a costume can be more terrifying that the latest Stephen King thriller. To make matters worse, Halloween falls on a weekday again this year. Assuming that you have the option of wearing a Halloween costume for work (for the love of biscuits, we’re assuming that your employer isn’t requiring you to wear one without providing one they’ve pre-approved, either), let’s take a look at how workers can safely — and voluntarily — have fun with these Halloween costume tips that shouldn’t run afoul HR policies.

Halloween Costumes that Work with Most HR Policies

Do This: Opt for a Classic Halloween Costume

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It seems you can’t open a magazine or Twitter this time of the year without seeing yet another celebrity who has caused outrage with their Halloween costume choice. While you may not be subject to paparazzi and public opinion, celebrities and workers falling under company HR policies alike would do well to remember that it is hard to go wrong with classic Halloween costumes. Think ghosts, cats, vampires, etc.

Not This: Blood and Gore

Sure, something classic like a vampire makes for a great costume that can easily be done without violating any HR policies. However, anyone donning this costume at work should stick to a cape, widow’s peak and the like … leave the fake blood at home and save it for after hours. This could understandably upset your fellow coworkers. Besides, no one will take you seriously during your 3 p.m. meeting with a bloodied face, anyway.

Do This: Accessorize for a Subtle Touch of Halloween

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to celebrate Halloween at work without being read the Riot Act (or your company’s HR policies) it to pick accessories rather than a full-on costume. Think things like a cape, a hat, a headband, Halloween-themed jewelry, etc. As an added bonus, these accessories make it easier if you need to transition Superman/Clark Kent style to go to an important meeting with a head honcho at your company or a client who may not appreciate your festiveness. Side note: If you’re meeting with us, keep your costume on. There’s a decent chance we’ll be sporting one too!

Not This: Sexy Costumes and Exposed Midriffs

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Sexy Halloween costumes are a common trope and definitely something out in full force year after year. And if you are a fan, that’s fine. But apply some common sense and save it for anywhere other than work. As a rule of thumb, if your costume violates your workplace’s normal dress code, it will probably not work for Halloween either … there is no holiday for fair, solid HR policies. Besides, no matter how great or elaborate the costume is, nobody wants to see Larry from accounting in a crop top or Daisy Dukes. (Sorry, Larry!)

Do This: Find Other Ways to Celebrate

Depending on your line of work, a Halloween costume may not be feasible, even if your company has decidedly lax HR policies. That does not mean you have to go the whole month without acknowledging Halloween at all. From candy bowls or treats in the break room to a small party at the end of the day, there are definitely other ways you can celebrate.

Not This: Make People Feel Weird for Not Participating

In addition to violating most HR policies and leaving you or your company vulnerable to legal action, giving someone a hard time because they do not want to participate in your Halloween shenanigans is sort of a lame thing to do in general. There are a variety of reasons that people may want to skip the tricks and treats, including personal beliefs and religious reasons. By following the tips outlined above and remaining mindful of the fact that there is a definite possibility that not everyone is as excited for Halloween as you (and that that’s okay), you can safely navigate this holiday with your job and your dignity intact.

Feeling anxious about how Halloween will play out at your workplace? Call us today. You can have a quick talk with an experienced human resources professional about easy, effective HR policies you can implement quickly now to avoid any headaches on November 1. We can talk over what policies you already have in place (if any) and work to enhance what is already there and fill any gaps that may be present.