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A workplace Halloween celebration can be a fun team bonding experience, but it can be a scary time for HR! If you’re thinking about getting festive with Halloween-related events, keep these potential tricks and treats in mind:
- Some of your employees may not celebrate Halloween, and may even find it offensive
- Wearing costumes at the office can be fun, but not when they’re political, religious, racial, or violate the office dress code
- Candles, pumpkin carving, and some costumes may be a safety nightmare
- Serving alcohol at company parties can lead to harassment, drunk driving, and inappropriate photos on social media
- Employees’ Halloween pranks and scare tactics can lead to lawsuits and complaints
- Halloween activities can be a nice break from the workday
- It can be a great employer branding photo opportunity
- Costume contests can be a fun team building activity
- It’s a holiday that most people in a diverse workplace can celebrate together
- Halloween events can be a way for your team to connect on something besides work
Make Your Celebration a Treat!
The tricks listed above may be frightening, but there are ways to minimize them! Try these ideas to make sure your event is a treat.
Have an Alternative Celebration
If you want to avoid the possibility of offensive and unsafe costumes altogether, try celebrating in other ways, like family trick or treating, workspace decorations, or a college/pro team day.
Be very clear with employees upfront. Let them know that:
- You know that not everyone celebrates Halloween, and no one is required to participate.
- Costumes should be consistent with your company’s dress code and diversity policy – if the costume might be offensive, it’s best to avoid it.
- Any office/cubicle/desk decorations they put up should not violate safety or fire codes.
- There should be no pranks or attempts to scare other employees.
Avoid Safety Risks
Don’t plan any decorations or celebrations that might go against safety regulations. Pumpkin carving can cause cuts (and workers’ comp claims), so try pumpkin painting instead. And don’t decorate with candles – it’s a fire safety issue!
Think Through Whether to Provide Alcohol
There are pros and cons to having alcohol at your Halloween party. Make sure you’re making an informed decision, and if you decide to serve it, think about ways to minimize risk, like a cash bar, plenty of food, and covering the cost of taxis.
Halloween can be terrifying if you’re in HR. But it doesn’t have to be! Just make sure you’ve thought through the potential tricks, and your celebration can be a treat.
Looking for advice on keeping your celebrations compliant? Reach out to Purple Ink – we’d be happy to help!