You may not realize it, but you can use Halloween as a way to build morale and nurture teamwork at your office. It’s a wonderful creative outlet (especially for employees whose jobs may be more serious – like accounting, engineering, or IT folks). It can also give employees who don’t have a lot of opportunity to work together the chance to get to know one another as they work toward a common goal.
OPTIONS TO CONSIDER
There are many ways you can celebrate Halloween. Pick the one that best fits your company, culture, and work environment.
DEPARTMENT OR OFFICE/CUBICLE DECORATING
You can allow employees several days to decorate or have them start on the day of your celebration. (Halloween is on a weekday this year, so it’s likely you’ll have a full staff, unless some of your employees are taking a portion or all of the day off for a child’s costume competition at school.) If you’re having a department competition, any number of themes could come into play: a graveyard, haunted house, or something based on a recent movie. You could even award a prize for the best decorating (by department or across your entire organization).
You can do this during lunch time – in a cafeteria, lunch room, or large conference space (if there’s one available). Decorations can be put up by volunteers or your facilities group, if you have one. The event can be as expensive as your budget permits. The choice is yours.
If you hold a costume contest, it’s a good idea to establish and publicize rules for your competition, including costume categories (see ideas below). You certainly want to avoid costumes that would embarrass anyone or be too provocative. The idea is to be engaging and encourage creativity, without exceeding standards for good taste at the workplace.
You can have different competitions for individuals and groups, awarding prizes for most original/creative, scariest, worst, and best. You may be surprised some of your employees who seem shy may want to show off hidden talents when behind a mask or costume.
PUMPKIN CARVING CONTEST
You can ask competitors to carve their pumpkins off-site and bring them to work ready for judging, or you can have employees compete on site and raise the stakes by limiting the window in which they have to do the carving.
If your competition carving takes place on site, be sure you supply all of the tools needed – and a de-seeding station. If everyone guts their pumpkins in the same place before taking them to a “carving table,” then you can limit the mess. Aprons can be useful, too.
A decorating table – with paint, glitter, feathers, and related accoutrements – gives everyone an equal chance to win. Or, save all of the mess, by limiting your pumpkin contest to jack o’ lanterns decorated with a Sharpie.
SNACKS AND DRINKS
It’s not a party without food and beverage. Keep your employees happy – and fueled up for their competition – with theme-appropriate cupcakes, caramel or candied apples, cobweb cookies, and the like accompanied by hot chocolate, witch’s brew or sparkling apple punch, and spiced (not spiked) cider.
START PLANNING NOW!
Don’t wait. If you want your employees to be enthusiastic about an inter-departmental or inter-office competition, it’s important you give them time to prepare, plan their costumes, and work on their pumpkin carving. Some organizations with a serious commitment to All Hallows’ Eve started planning in August. Whatever you do, have fun!