In less than two weeks, Halloween will be in full-effect for companies everywhere. Halloween can be a controversial and challenging holiday at the office. There is so much to consider when celebrating Halloween or having a Halloween party at work. Here are some suggestions so that you can celebrate Halloween at work without the hassle.
Clearly Define And Share Your Halloween Policies
First and foremost, you must walk through and define all of your Halloween policies. While Halloween is a holiday, not everyone celebrates it, and it can lead to some challenges at work.
Leading up to Halloween, you should review your policies around the holiday and make sure everyone is caught up with what is and is not acceptable workplace behavior. Halloween is a controversial holiday, so you want to make sure everyone knows what is okay at work.
Make sure you email your team about your Halloween policies as well as discuss them in public. You don’t want anyone claiming they weren’t aware of your company’s Halloween policies.
Example Policies You May Want To Have In The Office
Now that you know you need to define your Halloween policies clearly, what should those policies be? Here are some questions to get you started:
Can Parents Leave Early For Trick Or Treating?
Halloween almost always falls on a weekday. Since Halloween isn’t celebrated like Thanksgiving or Christmas, parents are usually working on Halloween. Is it acceptable for parents to take off 30 minutes to an hour early so they can get their kids ready for Halloween, or should parents work the entire day? Each side of this policy is acceptable, but it’s essential to define how this works at your company.
What Kind Of Decorations Are Appropriate At Work?
Decorating for the holidays is a fantastic morale booster, but Halloween decorations can be a bit dark at times. What kind of Halloween decorations are appropriate at your company? What about realism? For example, some fake tombstones look cartoonish and fun, while others are incredibly realistic and dark.
How far can your employees take decorations before it becomes a nuisance or unacceptable at work? It’s important to define the line because some people take decorating for Halloween very seriously. You want to make sure you are creating a safe and comfortable work environment for every employee.
Can Employees Dress Up? If So, What Are The Limitations?
Dressing up for Halloween as an adult is fun, but there comes a time when your costume might not be very appropriate for the workplace.
Here are some things to consider as you are deciding what costumes are appropriate;
- Does this outfit offend any culture or group of people? For example, some people dress up in Native American garb and consider it a Halloween outfit even though this is not an appropriate outfit choice. Wearing outfits traditionally worn by various cultures can offend people of color in your office or the general public. Be clear that someone’s culture is not a costume.
- Is this outfit too short, or does it show too much skin? Many Halloween costumes show a lot of skin, but that might not be appropriate for the workplace. The important part about this rule is that it needs to be enforced equally in the office. Both men’s and women’s costumes can be too short or show too much skin. If HR or managers unfairly target women for this, it can lead to distrust among the women who work at your company.
- Is this outfit appropriate for the job of the person wearing it? A Halloween costume might include open-toed shoes, but the employee might be required to wear closed-toed shoes at work. Work safety policies must be at the center of any Halloween costume policies you have at your office.
Will There Be Any Alternative Celebrations For People Who Don’t Celebrate Halloween?
Halloween is a controversial holiday, and therefore not everyone celebrates it at home or work. If you have a Halloween holiday party, you might want to offer a separate or alternative celebration geared around fall like a cakewalk or pumpkin carving. Make sure the other celebration is in another part of the company, so it seems like a different event.
Before you make an entirely new event, consider what people in your office think. Would they want a separate event? If they don’t celebrate Halloween, would they rather just not celebrate, or do they want a separate fall-themed event? Every person will be different, but you should only offer an alternative activity if enough people are interested in it.
Does Candy Need To Be Inclusive For People With Various Allergies Or Diets?
Not everyone can eat sugary candy or candy that contains nuts due to health problems. If you have candy provided by employees at work, does it need to be inclusive of everyone? While it’s possible to avoid sugary candy, some people have severe allergies, which means they need to stay away from different smells or contact with specific candy on their skin. On top of that, candy isn’t always labeled as well as it could be for potential allergens.
What is your policy for bringing candy into the office for Halloween (and in general)? Do your employees need to make sure candy that may cause issues is clearly labeled? Are there people in the office who are so allergic they can’t be near certain types of candy? Make sure you know everyone’s allergies so that candy won’t cause issues at work.
What Are Your Policies Around Workplace Tricks?
While most people don’t take the trick part of trick or treating very seriously, this may be an issue at work. What kind of tricks are appropriate (if any)? Should your employees stick to the treat part of this phrase? If they happen to try to trick their co-workers, what are the procedures for dealing with that employee?
How To Handle Halloween Workplace Rule Violators
Last, but not least, let’s talk about how to handle Halloween workplace rule violators. Now that you have your rules clearly defined, what do you do when people break those rules? Well, it all depends on the severity of the rule. Each rule should carry a clearly defined penalty for breaking it. This might be a write-up or more severe disciplinary action depending on the severity of the violation.
For example, having some candy that shouldn’t be at the office isn’t an extreme violation, depending on how severe things turn out. If having this candy leads to an allergy issue with one of your employees, you may want to make a bigger deal of the offense. If you can remove the candy before anything bad happens, a verbal warning would probably suffice.
Halloween can be a fun holiday to celebrate in the office if your employees understand where the lines are. By creating specific policies around this holiday, you can make this time of year enjoyable for everyone, including your HR team.