HR Strange But True!
October 27, 2011

Does your organization celebrate Halloween? Last year, approximately 40% of employers opted out of celebrating the holiday, while 1 in 3 employers allowed employees to wear costumes. 2011 seems to be shaping up the same way.

For employers that partake in the autumnal holiday, dressing up can show employees’ creativity and interests, but it can also show poor judgment.

Here are a few real life examples of costumes in the workplace:

The Silent Server—A woman on askville shared two of her unique workplace costumes. For her waitressing job, she dressed as a mime. She had signs for everything, from “More coffee?” to “Are you ready for the check?” Apparently, her performance was a hit and tips were excellent.

She donned her second disguise working at the sign-up table for a school blood drive. She dressed up as a vampire nurse “complete with blood drenched shoes, dress front, and IV bottle with fake blood.” May have scared away some would-be donors!

A Family Affair—This one comes from the forum archive. One employer invited employees’ children to a “Trick or Treat” day in the office. Both children and employees were allowed to wear costumes to work, and the children made their rounds trick-or-treating at candy-filled cubicles.

Costume Contest for Charity—The winners of costume contests generally take away bragging rights or a small prize. However, the competition organized by the Haslet Fire Department Support Group has a charitable motive. The annual contest “helps buy groceries and other supplies for the firefighters, provides cares for the firefighters at the scene of an emergency and more,” according to the Star-Telegram. The contenders this year ranged from a pumpkin, to a chicken, to a hot dog. What makes this event even more unique is that the participants aren’t firefighters or community members, they’re dogs!

Wearing costumes in the workplace can be a morale booster, but it can also stir up some problems. Here are a few office “don’ts” from Job Mouse.

Don’t wear inappropriate costumes: “Halloween is not an excuse to bare it all,” especially in a workplace setting. Inappropriate costumes can lead to a host of employment issues including sexual harassment claims.

Don’t be someone who died: These could be interpreted as insensitive.

Don’t supersize it: “Let’s just say sweating for 8+ hours at a desk in an oversized outfit is not worth the 5-minute period of laughter when you arrive.”

Has an employee (or you) shown up to work in a costume that was shockingly creative or frighteningly inappropriate? Tell us your story!

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