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Instead of splurging on elaborate decorations that will just have to be ditched the next day or ordering in fancy catering when everyone is already saving extra room for candy and caramel apples, here are five ways to give employees a hair-raising Halloween holiday at the office:
1. Throw a costume contest. Let employees know costumes are strongly encouraged for Thursday, October 31st. No pleated skirts or ties allowed! (Unless they’re part of a costume, of course.) Then, create a few categories, such as Most Original Costume, Scariest Costume, and Best Group Costume and hand out small prizes, like a $10 Starbucks gift card, to the winners. Don’t forget to set guidelines that align with your company’s regular dress code, so HR isn’t sending out bone-chilling emails in the middle of all the fun.
2. Do something philanthropic. Have employees bring a couple of canned food items or toiletry items in exchange for their participation in the company costume contest, then choose a local organization to donate the box of supplies to. Now is the perfect time to donate, since holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas are right around the corner. If you already have a date set to collect special foods and personal care items, you could have your staff sign up to serve in a soup kitchen or gather discarded trash off the highways. Bonus points for wearing costumes while participating in these activities!
3. Play a game for a ghastly good time. Grab a few rolls of toilet paper from the employee restroom - with permission from purchasing, of course - and divide staff into teams. Set a timer and have each team dress one employee as a mummy, then select the team with the best mummy design. To save money on prizes, offer incentives like an extra-long lunch hour the following week or give out new company swag. Other games your employees could play include scary movie trivia or guessing how many pieces of candy corn are in a jar.
4. Host a round of trick-or-treating. Invite employees to bring a tray of homemade cookies or a bag of candy to set out at their desks. Then, designate a time for everyone to mingle around the office, stopping at each desk for a quick chat and a little treat.
5. Send all the ghouls and goblins home early. Most employees probably have Halloween plans after work, whether it’s taking the kiddos trick-and-treating or meeting friends for spirits at the new cocktail bar across town. Surprise your staff by letting them duck out of the office an hour early, a wonderful way to delight them on the especially frightful night.
Several of these activities encourage teamwork or create opportunities for interaction that certain employees may not receive otherwise. After all, it can be tricky to get the staff from IT and the folks in marketing together for more than their once-monthly meeting, especially when they work on different floors. However, you and your team spend the day, we hope you have a wickedly affordable and hauntingly fun time!