Halloween Do’s and Don’ts at Work

Halloween Do's and Don'ts at Work
Halloween is around the corner, and there’s a strong chance your employer will be making the most of this easy opportunity to inject a little fun into the workplace. So, if you see gauzy spider webs going up around the place and cackling witches strategically positioned at the front desk, you’ll know that Office Halloween is officially on.So how can you join in the fun without doing anything that might hurt your professional prospects? Keep these simple tips in mind.

Read the room.

If you have to ask yourself, “Should I come to work in an outrageous costume?” then you probably shouldn’t. If costumes are welcome and appreciated, you’ll know. Announcements will be made, memos will be distributed, coworkers will be talking about what they plan to wear, and all doubt will be erased. If none of these things are happening—and you actually don’t see a single gauzy spider web or overflowing candy dish anywhere—err on the side of leaving your costume at home. Bring a funny hat if you must, but make sure it’s something you can remove easily before your big client meeting.

Master the art of understatement.

It should go without saying, but never wear a sexy or sexually themed costume to work or work events. This rule applies to men and women both, and breaking it won’t bring anything good into your life. If you plan to dress as a slinky black cat for your weekend party, make sure the work version of your outfit is thoroughly de-slinked. Skip the body suit and opt for professional slacks and a black-buttoned shirt. Throw on some cat ears, and voila. You’re the cat that stays employed.

If you’re a manager, lead the way.

You’ll have to work a little harder to push the fun vibe if you occupy a higher position in the office hierarchy. In other words, if you manage a group of direct reports, make it clear that they can (or can’t) wear costumes—don’t make them guess. If you want a fun party, set the pace; your group will follow your lead. If you really don’t, the same rule applies. They’ll look to you as an example.

Don’t jam the gears.

If everyone around you is dead set on relaxing, dressing up, and having a good time, you don’t have to participate but don’t stand in the way. Don’t criticize, judge, condemn, or snark at other people’s decisions, especially if you’re opting out altogether. If you don’t believe in Halloween, keep it to yourself. Just smile, share some candy, and move on.—For more on how to glide through the Halloween season and on toward your next promotion like a cool, collected ghost, access the career development and job search resources at MyPerfectResume.