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Doesn’t everyone like the fun of Halloween? Whether it’s dressing up, carving pumpkins or eating candy, it seems that there’s something for every member of the office when celebrating this holiday. Depending upon when the party is held, there are dos, don’ts and great ideas to take advantage of.
– Do encourage dressing up and allow costumes to be worn all day
– Do provide candy as well as other non-sugary treats and offer a potluck if office-mates are interested
– Do cover the receptionist for at least part of the party
– Do set specific times for the start and the end of the party
– Do play music that includes Monster Mash
– Don’t allow alcohol at the party
– Don’t let the party take away from work that has to be done
– Don’t go for ghoulish or gruesome decorations or activities – keep it fun and light
– Don’t plan activities that put anyone in uncomfortable situations
– Don’t let decorations linger past November 1
– Do make use of the workhours dos and don’ts where appropriate
– Do provide alternatives to alcohol if alcohol is being served
– Do provide food appropriate to the time of day (heavier/filling options if over dinner)
– Do invite everyone
– Do encourage appropriate dress-up – it’s still a work function
– Don’t shame people into dressing up or attending
– Don’t let social time colour judgement – it’s still a work function
– Don’t plan contests that require excessive eating, drinking or touching
– Don’t play favourites when it comes to planning – let everyone participate that wants to
– Don’t forget allergy-free, vegan, etc. when planning food and drink
Now that you have the ground rules in place. Let’s talk about creating a memorable (for the right reasons) party. Consider setting a theme for the event like space, magic or music. This will give decorations their own life and will help people work on costumes rather than facing the blank slate. Just don’t go too narrow. When the office is full of millennials, going with the theme of Woodstock is more likely to become a research project than a fun event. Choosing a theme also helps to eliminate cultural and religious concerns so make sure whatever you choose keeps devils, witches and other potential issue-filled characters out of the décor and the costumer line up.
Part of your event could include a pumpkin carving contest. It may be something that employees with kids want to invite the family to if that’s an option. The budget should include the cost of the pumpkins and some basic carving tools, but be sure to give participants enough notice so that they can search for ideas, bring their own tools and plan for the right clothing to be dribbled with pumpkin guts. You might also want to include a kids contest (if kids will be at the function) and a team contest (where teammates work together on one or more pumpkins). Allow carvers to take their creation home if they want to, if not, be sure all entries are displayed proudly.
There are lots of great ways to get everyone involved in the event without making it all about the costumes or the food. With a little bit of planning and organization, party-goers will have a ghastly good time. One option is a “feel box” where participants put their hand into a closed box and try to identify the items you’ve placed inside. Cooked pasta, peeled grapes and halved chocolate bars (so people can feel the insides) are all fun options that are hard to guess, feel weird and aren’t offensive.
Halloween movie trivia is always fun for an office with pop-culture junkies. Find questions specific to Halloween movies and grab screenshots to see who can correctly identify the right films.
Dress up stations are all the rage at weddings and other parties, so why not incorporate this into your Halloween event? Bring lots of different Halloween themed hats, glasses, noses, shirts, signs and more. Don’t forget some makeup as well! Create a photo frame with Happy Halloween on the top (or another saying that works for your office) and invite people to try on a costume and take photos.
Create your own Halloween story by having each participant add a sentence to a fun or spooky Halloween tale. You might give the starting line (It was a dark and stormy night or I’ll never walk down that road again, or create your own) and let office-mates take turns adding their own thoughts to weave a spooky or funny story. It’s always best to record this so that everyone can appreciate the story’s evolution after it’s done. Set a time limit and make sure participants know when they need to wrap the story up about two sentences before the end.
An inner-office scavenger hunt is always fun. Have participants take photos of items you’ve provided on a list. Make sure to define “off limits” areas (people’s office drawers, lockers, etc.) but include unexpected locations like a toy hidden in the office fridge.
Nothing brings employees together like food. It’s a bit of a cliché, but if you’ve ever been the person that brought a box of donuts but didn’t get one, you’ll understand. Bearing this in mind, you might want to plan the timing of your Halloween get together around food.
For example, what’s the one time of day everyone is rushing and wishing they had more time? Morning! If you create a Halloween party that includes breakfast, it’s a win for everyone. Make sure you’ve got plenty of options that take into account potential allergies (gluten, eggs, etc.) and will keep your co-workers happy and functional throughout the day.
If you have your heart set on an evening party but the budget is tight, consider serving desserts and spooky coffees at a later hour – lightening the expense of a dinner. You can offer those classic creepy witches’ finger cookies, pumpkin cupcakes, cakes with spiderwebbed icing, almond bark with candy corn, dipped bananas wrapped like mummies and the classic candy-apples. There’s plenty of easy options that a caterer or potluck can deliver.
Halloween is a great time to get the team together in the office for some social fun. Keep in mind it’s still a work function and take into account special food requirements and you’re already on your way to a howling great time that everyone will remember for the right reasons. Happy Halloween!