It’s no “trick”: Halloween observances are becoming more and more of a “thing” in the U.S., even for adults. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), about 180 million Americans plan to celebrate the holiday this year, up from 179 million in 2017, 171 million in 2016, and 157 million in 2015. Halloween spending is expected to surpass the $9.1 billion mark it hit last year, with adults plunking down $86.79 per person on costumes, candy, decorations, or a combination of all three.
With Halloween now considered a holiday for everyone rather than just for kids, it makes sense to “treat” it that way with an office celebration. Marking the day together will energize employees, build camaraderie, encourage teamwork, and boost everyone’s morale, leading to heightened productivity. For some businesses, a Halloween celebration can incentivize staff to do what must be done to power through the fourth quarter of the year. While putting out a few bowls of candy here and there is a start, there is a lot more companies can do to maximize the momentum and the benefits of getting into the Halloween “spirit: in the workplace. Here are some tips to get you started.
- Seek out the “Great Pumpkin.” No, we here at E-Complish aren’t suggesting that you emulate Charlie Brown, of “Peanuts” comic strip fame, by aimlessly seeking someone who doesn’t exist. We’re recommending that a volunteer Halloween activities coordinator be appointed for the sake of keeping things organized, and so everyone can enjoy the festivities headache-free.
- Be a blabbermouth. Halloween is supposed to be fun—a day when adults have an excuse to act like kids. But they won’t be able to do so if they don’t have time to prepare properly—for example, shopping for a costume or the ingredients for a dish for the Halloween “
pot luck” (more about that later in this blog).
What’s more, the benefits of celebrating Halloween in the office—such as increased morale—will be compromised or lost on them. To prevent this from happening, publicize your upcoming Halloween festivities as widely as possible, using the company intranet, bulletin boards, e-mails—whatever it takes to get the word out.
- Deck the halls—and maybe the cubicles. Depending on the type of business you operate, you can go all out with a theme (transforming the whole office into a haunted house) or just put up a few decorations in common areas like the hallway and break room—think props and figures sold in Halloween stores, cardboard cutouts, and lights. Consider allowing—or better, encouraging—employees to decorate their cubicle or office, too. If your company has multiple departments or occupies more than one floor of a building, award a prize to the team with the best Halloween décor.
- Dig those disguises. Invite employees to wear costumes to the office (of course, appropriate ones that aren’t overly sexy, political, or otherwise construable as offensive). However, don’t stop there. Hold a costume contest, or even two separate contests—one for teams and one for individuals. Award prizes in different categories, like best costume overall, most original, scariest, cutest, funniest, most difficult to put together, lamest, etc. One year, a company we know challenged its employees to dress as the co-worker or manager of their choice and awarded a prize to the individual who best met the challenge.
- Get into game(s) and activities. These can be really simple—for example, placing a large jar or container filled with candy corn in a prominent spot and asking employees to guess how many pieces are inside, or a bit more involved—like setting up a pumpkin painting or carving station or wrapping a designated executive in toilet paper. If many of your employees have children and it’s feasible for their parents to bring them to the workplace late in the afternoon, schedule pumpkin painting or pumpkin carving at the end of the workday so the kids can join in before going trick-or-treating.
- Walk in kids’ shoes. We hear that some companies have organized desk-to-desk trick-or-treating for their employees, complete with tote bags for hauling around their “loot.” Alternatively, you can order and, on Halloween, distribute “treats” for employees in the form of Halloween-themed premium items, such as water bottles with your company’s name on them.
- Eat it up. Recruit some volunteers to prepare holiday-themed food for a Halloween “pot luck”—anything from pumpkin bread and donuts to items that replicate or are decorated in Halloween motifs (ghosts, eyeballs, etc.). Or just order breakfast or lunch fare and serve it in a decorated conference room, break room, or company cafeteria. Don’t forget the music—think “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, “Strange Brew” by Cream, and “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo, to name a few.
Think all these suggestions sound too time-intensive and aren’t worth the investment (financial and otherwise)? Think again. According to the Daily Infographic, companies with engaged employees generate revenues that are more than double the revenues generated by companies whose employees aren’t engaged. Employee engagement is also a “must-have” for optimal productivity. So don’t say “boo” to celebrating Halloween in the office in some way or another. Things will be sweeter—year-round—when you do.