How to Celebrate Halloween at Work During COVID

October 6, 2021by Alex Strautman

It’s almost time for Halloween and it’s a good idea to start planning your workplace festivities from now.

2021 looks a little different than last year, but many offices are still not back in the office full time. That doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate. Here’s a list of ways to do so safely with employees in the office or working remotely.

Spooky Decorations: Get in the Halloween spirit with spider webs, caution tape, and other ghostly decorations. If your employees have returned to work, even part-time, you can have a decorating contest. Encourage participation by awarding a winner.

Make sure you remind employees that lighted decorations need to be turned off at the end of the day. Decorations cannot violate fire or safety codes.

Party Bags: While a party may not be the best idea during a pandemic, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on treats. Put together a trick-or-treat bag for each employee in advance and hand them out to get everyone in the Halloween spirit.

Costume Contest: Nothing screams Halloween like a costume contest. You can create categories like “most creative,” scariest, and funniest.

Something to keep in mind – the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggests these do’s and don’ts when it comes to costumes in the workplace:

  • Images of ghosts, skeletons, devils, etc. do not go over well, especially in health care settings. They can be offensive to those with a strong religious orientation.
  • Costumes of religious leaders can also be perceived as offensive.
  • Political costumes can be problematic, especially in today’s polarized environment.
  • If in doubt, don’t!

Halloween 2021 is on a Sunday, so you may want to plan your costume contest for the Friday before or another day if you’re not in the office daily. You could also host your contest virtually.

Pumpkin Carving: This can work for employees in the office and for those working at home. For on-site staff, you can ask participants to carve their pumpkins at home and bring them to work for judging.

If you’re not concerned about a potential mess, and can still keep employees socially distant, have them carve their pumpkins at the office. Provide the tools they’ll need and choose a spot to de-seed equipped with carving tools. Aprons also help.

If you’re concerned about a mess, pumpkins decorated with a Sharpie works, too!

More ways to celebrate:

  • Create a Halloween playlist
  • Have a Halloween potluck
  • Vote on a favorite horror movie – and play it during lunch
  • Host a haunted happy hour after work – in person or online
  • Create Halloween bingo cards, or play Halloween trivia, in-person or online
  • Dismiss your team early on the Friday before Halloween


Don’t wait to announce your activities. Get started today! That way, your employees have plenty of time to plan.

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