Halloween in the workplace

Planning to celebrate Halloween in the workplace? For many HR managers, Halloween can be summed up in 4 scary words: lawsuit in the making. At the Richmond Times Dispatch Labor Law column, Karen Michael talks about just how scary Halloween can get in the workplace – she offers a nightmare list of some of the most offensive costumes available at retailers — and she didn’t even include some of the scary costumes that this contentious election might spawn. She also offers a helpful list of things that should be prohibited.

If you do plan to have any Halloween celebrations in your workplace, Susan M. Heathfield offers tips for making Halloween at work safe and fun. She suggests that employers can prevent problems with advance preparation and communication.

We enjoyed this post that employment law attorney Robin Shea wrote a few years ago in response to a request for guidance: Halloween in the workplace? Bah! Humbug! She’s not a fan of costumes at work because besides frequently being provocative or insensitive, they can also pose safety hazards.

We aren’t fans of celebrating Halloween at work, but we know that there are some work cultures where it is still popular. Over the years, we’ve offered suggestions for keeping things safe and alternative ways to celebrate.

  • Have a family event geared to kids. Let kids and pets come in costumes
  • Organize a “trick or treat” event for a local nursing home or have an event to raise money for a charity. A zombie walk might be fun!
  • Sponsor a pumpkin carving contest
  • Have a Halloween pot-luck lunch with themed food
  • Sponsor a blood drive on Halloween and offer treats for participants. A zombie or vampire theme might be fun.

Here’s more of our Halloween workplace wisdom from years gone by:

How to keep Halloween from getting creepy at your workplace

Don’t let Halloween become a nightmare in your workplace

Does Halloween get scary at your workplace?

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