Trick-or-treat: Celebrating Halloween in the office

Halloween isn't an actual holiday in this part of the world, but organisations can still make use of it to lighten the mood around the office.
By: | October 31, 2018


The last day of October marks All Hallow’s Eve, also known as Halloween. It’s an occasion that has its roots in the ancient harvest festivals of the Celts, with some Christian traditions picked up along the way.

But for the most part, modern society treats Halloween as a secular and commercial holiday, much like Valentine’s Day. Although this one is all about spooky things and pumpkins, rather than hearts and roses.

When costumes, candy, and scares are involved, it’s all fun and games — and that makes Halloween a popular excuse among the office crowd for letting their hair down and going crazy (perhaps even literally).

Marking Halloween doesn’t have to be an elaborate affair, by any means. Here are a few ways that HR can help organisations celebrate the occasion, and thereby improve employee morale and engagement.

At the bare minimum, there’s no reason your back-end employees can’t indulge in some Halloween costuming – even if it’s as simple as tossing on a wig!  This could even apply to front-facing staff, in certain instances. We’ve all probably grinned at the receptionist wearing fairy wings, or the doorman dressed up as a werewolf.

Of course, you will probably want to lay down some ground rules, especially for employees who meet with clients or who are frequently on the go. Zombies – especially the ones prone to biting – might be well-received in some places, and less so in others!


Decorate the office! It can be as simple a sticking a few paper bats on the wall, or getting creative with an old sheet. If nothing else, at least your employees will get a laugh out of it. After all, “why so serious?” 

Halloween brings out everyone’s inner child, but one can still take a classy approach to it. If you’ve got a bit more of a budget, orange candles and lighted bunting can do wonders for brightening an office mood (or should that be darkening, for Halloween). 

Encouraging employees to decorate their own spaces will also give them a greater ownership of that space, and the work they do there. You could buy some simple supplies like dust webbing (cotton), orange-and-black streamers, skeleton stickers, and make it a communal activity during the run up to Halloween.

Pumpkins have come inextricably linked with Halloween, and they’re a great way to “kill two birds”. Many offices hold pumpkin carving contests, allowing employees to take a bit of office time to engage in something creative. 
Everybody loves a bit of light-hearted office competition that’s unrelated to work, and you’ll also end up with a plethora of pumpkins decorating your office space. Just be sure that employees take them home with them in the evening. You don’t want to be stuck with rotting produce.

If your employees are more interesting in eating pumpkins than carving them, there are lots of great, simple snacks that can be easily “Halloween-ized”, as it were. This is another task that you can gamify – challenge your staff to see who can bring in the most creative (but edible) treats, from ghost-shaped cookies, to old witch’s fingers, to “blood” jelly – all pictured above.

If you’re really ambitious (or enthusiastic), you can bring everything else together in one big blow-out party. Or perhaps just a calm office chill-out. Either way, happy haunting!