Who wouldn't want to wear spooky costumes, play mystery games, collect candy, and watch spine-chilling horror movies on Halloween? As an HR professional managing employee events, Halloween is a great chance for teams to connect and have fun. Even hosting some virtual games that employees can play or decorating the break room and offering treats will go a long way towards building better workplace relationships.
However, when it comes to organizing Halloween parties at work, there's a little catch. Some costumes or events may not be appropriate, or they may offend the sentiments of other employees. This can lead to arguments, which spoil the festive mood and drive your workforce further apart rather than clsoer together. That's why it's essential to outline clear policies for what's appropriate and what's not. Considering the money, time, and effort that goes into organizing office events, this upfront thought will save you several headaches in the future.
To help you get started, here are some common dos and don'ts of organizing Halloween celebrations at the workplace:
Do: Plan the party in advance
While all parties require effort, a Halloween party tends to be more involved. Planning costumes, buying the decor items, preparing for Halloween activities, and arranging for food are just some of the many tasks you might have to complete. To avoid any form of mishap, it's better to have teams that are in charge of different aspects of the Halloween celebrations like food, costumes, fun activities, or theme. Assign a DRI for each team, and start having planning meetings early on so you can be prepared for any potential obstacles along the way.
Be sure to give a good amount of notice to employees and managers, as well. This gives them time to make sure their tasks are completed in advance and reschedule customer meetings, if they have any. It's much less fun for employees if certain teams are left out of the fun because they are bogged down with high-priority work.
Don't: Force employees to participate
Some of your employees may genuinely be scared of all the spookiness that comes as part of Halloween. Some of them may not feel comfortable wearing Halloween costumes because of their commute. Others may not celebrate Halloween in general. With so many possible conflicts, it's important not to force employees to participate. Furthermore, remind fellow employees not to make fun of or be hostile towards anyone who doesn't participate.
Pro Tip: If you have employees who regularly skip Halloween, ask them if they celebrate any other holidays during this time that aren't commonly recognized in the office and see if there are ways you can incorporate sentiments that will help them feel more included.
Do: Define your costume policy
This is a very important aspect that has to be followed prudently to avoid real-time Halloween horror at your workplace. State your organization's costume policy clearly, and be sure that policy is distributed well in advance. For example, it's usually best to keep politics and religion out of the Halloween costumes. Anything gruesome, provocative, or offensive should also be avoided. Advise your employees against wearing any costume that mocks or imitates their coworkers or boss. You don't want your employees hurting each other.
Don't: Compromise employee safety
Employee safety should be a top priority, even during times of celebration. With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, it's important to ensure that social distancing measures are in place. Encourage your employees to wear their masks even with their Halloween costumes on.
Aside from those measures, make sure that your Halloween decorations aren't designed to jump-scare or frighten your employees all of sudden. Be sure not to dim your building lights in a way that makes movement difficult. Inform employees to wear comfortable costumes that don't make it easy to trip or fall, and remind them to be extra careful during their commute.
Do: Organize fun Halloween activities
Even though you'll be working hard to ensure the event is successful, it's also important to have fun with your employees as well. Organizing an elaborate Halloween-themed lunch is a great idea that'll set the tone for activities to come. Pumpkin carving and costume contests are classics that never get old. Consider providing a small goody bag to your employees with Halloween candies and some simple, spooky gifts. If some of your employees have a penchant for storytelling and employees are interested, organize a quick spin-a-yarn activity where people can share imaginary spooky stories.
These are just examples of some simple activities that will go a long way toward making the event more fun for everyone, including yourself!
Don't: Encourage pranks or unplanned activities
Some of your employees may get too into the Halloween spirit and force activities or pranks on their peers without getting the go-ahead from HR. For instance, they may pull a spooky or funny prank on their colleagues during an in-office Trick or Treat event. This sort of thing isn't wrong if everyone has consented, but if they haven't, these types of activities risk hurting feelings or breeding resentment. Inform your employees that all activities should follow the event guidelines, and that if they want to add something, they should run it by your team first.
With Halloween just around the corner, you can get creative with the party and make it a memorable experience for your workforce. Being on the same page with your employees about what to do and what not to do can ensure a more fun, engaging, and interesting event. Let us know how your Halloween celebrations turn out in the comments section below!