Halloween is right around the corner. This spooky holiday is a great opportunity for employees in different departments within the organization to connect and celebrate the spookiest time of the year.

To ensure your Halloween celebrations remain fun and not frightful, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Whether you allow employees to decorate their workspaces, show up in costume, or put together a Halloween-themed pot luck, you want to make sure everyone is aware of the policies and procedures that are in place to keep the celebration from crossing the line.


Halloween is the one time of year where showing up as a clown at your office isn’t going to get strange looks. However, not all companies do or can allow employees to show up in costume, even on Halloween. If your company will not allow employees to wear costumes on Halloween — whether for safety concerns or dress code policy, make that clear before October 31st. No employee should be surprised to learn that they cannot dress up when they arrive at work on Halloween.

If your company decides to allow employees to wear costumes on Halloween, you will want to set clear expectations regarding employee attire. Remind employees that even with a more relaxed Halloween dress code that overly revealing, potentially offensive, or exceedingly gruesome costume choices should be left from after work celebrations. Make sure employees know that all safety requirements remain in place and that they should choose a costume with that in mind.

While most employees know to use good judgment in selecting a costume to wear into work, it is helpful to remind them that your discrimination and harassment policy remains in effect, even on Halloween. So emphasize that any costume that mocks, makes light of, or serves to intimidate someone based on their sex, race, religion, culture, or national origin will not be tolerated and is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.


Creating a spooky atmosphere is also part of celebrating Halloween. Make sure your employees know what parameters are in place for Halloween decor. Are cobwebs and tombstones permissible, but a fog machine and strobe lights not? Make that clear. Again, if you are trying to keep celebrations workplace friendly, you may want to discourage any Halloween decor that is particularly gruesome or frightening. The idea is for the atmosphere to be fun and not distracting.

Holiday Celebrations

Whether you choose to host a Halloween-themed pot luck, pumpkin decorating contest, or interoffice trick or treating, some advanced planning and communication will ensure that everything runs smoothly. Ensure management is involved in the planning as well as during any planned celebrations. Assign several members of management to monitor the festivities to ensure that any inappropriate behavior or anything that might be a safety concern is addressed promptly.

Finally, remember that not everyone wants to celebrate Halloween. Whether it’s for religious or other reasons, those reasons should be respected. Ensure that all employees know that participation in any Halloween-related activity is voluntary and certainly don’t pressure those who aren’t interested in participating.

With these things in mind, you can avoid any potential pitfalls and provide employees with a holiday celebration is fun and not frightening.