The office Halloween party is the perfect opportunity to relax and let your wig down. Feel free to howl at the moon with your colleagues while you follow some simple etiquette rules so no one gets spooked.
Pick a Theme
Select a theme such as dressing like your favorite childhood cartoon or a beloved sitcom character. Have your peers take a guess at who you are impersonating. Fill the afternoon with activities, food and a few “boo” gifts for those who are good sports.
Avoid Controversial Costumes
Avoid costumes which could spark a heated debate, including dressing up as world leaders or controversial public figures. While it may have seemed like a good idea in the costume store, you will regret your decision when your client or boss shoots you a disapproving look. Be particularly aware and culturally considerate when selecting your costume and avoid anything too revealing or risqué.
Don’t Forget it’s a Workday
Whatever costume you select, imagine yourself doing your day-to-day duties in it. Will it be awkward to attend a meeting dressed as a cat? Will you make your co-workers lose their lunchtime appetite with your zombie makeup? Will you be embarrassed if a client stops by and you’re dressed as an Ewok? Adhere to common sense and bring a change of clothes for the ride home on the subway.
Not everyone in your workplace may enjoy Halloween. When planning the festivities, avoid forcing people to dress up. Provide a few inexpensive Halloween favors, such as light-up necklaces, crazy socks and googly-eyed headbands and let people know they are free to wear and share. If someone chooses to stay in their office and work, respect their choice.
Keep the atmosphere upbeat and cheery. Halloween can be fun without the plastic swords, weapons and gore.
Go Easy on the Alcohol
While there may be a bottomless punch bowl, do your part to imbibe responsibly. You don’t want to be the topic of conversation the following work day.
With thoughtful planning, your Halloween party can be filled with good food, great music, tons of Jack-o-Lanterns and flickering fun.
For more of Diane’s etiquette tips, you may enjoy reading Business Etiquette: Birthdays and Other Office Celebrations. You can also visit Diane’s blog, connect with her here on HuffPost, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Buy her new book, Modern Etiquette for a Better Life.
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