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Tips for Wearing a Halloween Costume at Work

Wearing a costume to work is a fun way to celebrate Halloween at the office. But make sure that you follow a few simple costume guidelines so that everyone at work feels safe and respected.

Halloween costumes that are easy to take on and off, such as a witch's hat, are best. If you need to remove your costume to attend a serious meeting, you can do so without much trouble.
Halloween costumes that are easy to take on and off, such as a witch's hat, are best. If you need to remove your costume to attend a serious meeting, you can do so without much trouble.

If you work in an office, dressing up for Halloween can be a ton of fun! But make sure that you have put some thought into what you are going to wear to work on Halloween if you decide to don a costume. Here are some tips and tricks for creating a costume that will look good at work.

Use Those Bright Colors in Your Palette

Your make-up palette may already have all the colors you need to create a fun Halloween costume at work.
Your make-up palette may already have all the colors you need to create a fun Halloween costume at work.

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Quick reminder: Even though your boss may have approved of you and your co-workers wearing Halloween costumes to work, don't forget that a dress code may still be in effect. That is, if the workplace policy is that clothes worn must be clean, tidy, and professional looking, make sure that your costume is clean and tidy. If the policy requires you to dress conservatively and in a modest fashion, don't pick a Halloween outfit that is too revealing.

Tips for Costume Success

1. Make sure that you have permission to dress up for Halloween at work. It would be a good idea to talk to your boss and ask them if it's ok to wear a costume to work on October 31st.

2. Do not bring replica weapons to work. And of course, it goes without saying, don't bring real weapons to work. The last thing your company needs is a SWAT team descending on the office because someone saw you toting what they thought was a real shotgun. Use common sense when designing your Halloween costume to wear at work.

3. Be respectful of other cultures. Dressing up as someone from another culture or ethnic background should be avoided. Appropriating motifs and cultural artifacts can be insensitive and disrespectful. For example, wearing Aboriginal regalia such as feather headdresses as part of a Halloween costume or fashion accessory is disrespectful. For more information on how dressing up in costumes from other cultures can be offensive, read Costume Cultural Appropriation.

4. Avoid costumes that are too revealing. Any costume that is labelled as a sexy version of any person or thing (i.e.; sexy nurse, sexy tiger, sexy zombie, etc) should be avoided.

5. Don't scare away the kids! Avoid wearing a gory or scary costume if you think you might encounter small children at work.

6. Be safe! Don't wear anything that will interfere with your ability to do your job in a safe and effective manner. Do you work with heavy shredding equipment? Then don't be a dummy mummy by wearing an outfit that could get tangled up in a motor or whirling blades.

7. Wear a costume that you can quickly change out of, if need be. Bring a change of clothes to work so that you aren't the only one in the office wearing a silly costume if the need to be more serious arises.

8. Don't wear a costume that will leave you feeling hot and sweaty. A one piece, furry puppy dog outfit might seem like a cute Halloween costume idea for the office. But how comfortable will you be wearing that synthetic costume for 6 - 8 hours?

9. Complex social issues are not good ideas for Halloween costumes to wear to work. Dressing up in a costume that makes light of or glamorize other people's struggles is not a good idea. Costumes that make fun of poverty (i.e.; homeless person), violence (i.e.; 'pimp and ho'), racism (i.e.; wearing blackface), or disabilities (i.e.; blind person) are not cool.

10. Put some thought and effort into your Halloween costume. There are a few quick and easy Halloween costume ideas at the bottom of this article, but make sure that whatever you choose to wear looks smart, polished, and well constructed. If you don't have time to put together a costume that will look good and feel comfortable all day, maybe dressing up for Halloween at work isn't a good idea. Remember, your priority is to do your job, and do it well. Wearing a special outfit to work on All Saint's Day should only be done if it enhances your profile at work, endears you to customers, and makes your office look like an enjoyable and professional place to work.

Possible Costume Ideas

Here are some easy-to-assemble Halloween costumes that are great for wearing to work:

  • Kitty Cat - A few whiskers drawn with an eye pencil, cat ears on a hairband, and a swishy tail tied to your waist is all you need for a cute Halloween costume to wear to work.
  • Puppy Dog - Paint a few spots on your face, some whiskers, and don floppy ears for this easy office Halloween costume.
  • 1930s Flapper girl - Feather headband and sparkly tank dress.
  • Vintage aviator - Leather jacket, snug fitting cap, and goggles or shiny sunglasses and you're ready for take off.
  • Mythical Goddess - Flower or ivy headband, braided up-do, shiny gold belt, strappy sandals, and a plain white sundress.
  • Retro TV Characters (such as Gilligan from Gilligan's Island) - Jeans or bell-bottoms, long-sleeved red shirt with white collar, and sailor's bucket hat? You're ready to set sail.

What makes many of the Halloween costume ideas for work so great is that they can be rapidly disassembled if you need to quickly change out of costume to attend a meeting. Put a smart blazer over your tank dress or sundress and no one at the unexpected client meeting will know that 20 minutes ago you were wearing a Halloween costume at work.

Don't forget to pack some make-up remover face cloths so that you can quickly remove any costume make-up if need be.

Makeup Counts as a Costume

Non-costume Ideas

If you can't wear a Halloween costume to work but still want to bring a bit of All Hallow's Eve fun to your office, here are some things you can do:

  • Bake some spooky Halloween cupcakes to share at work.
  • Put out a bowl of peanut-free candies for your customers and co-workers.
  • Add a few cute Halloween accessories to your desk.
  • Wear a stylish and spooky brooch or pendant.
  • Paint your nails with little ghosts and goblins.
  • Download some fun Halloween music and put the ghosts and goblins at work in a groovy mood. Some good Halloween music to play at work includes: Michael Jackson's Thriller, Monster Mash, or The Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Cupcakes for Those Forgoing Costumes

One Last Thing...

If you work with someone who has a deathly fear of spiders, clowns, or snakes, don't be a jerk and show up to work in a Halloween costume that will cause a panic attack. Some people do have very real phobias that they can't contain. Be considerate of other people's feelings and don't play on their fears at Halloween. Celebrating the spooky season at work should be fun and light-hearted, not the cause of a heart attack!

Paint a pumpkin instead of carving it into a jack-o-lantern!
Paint a pumpkin instead of carving it into a jack-o-lantern!

© 2014 Switching Gears and Changing Careers

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Comments 2 comments

Blackspaniel1 profile image

Blackspaniel1 2 years ago

I suppose the complex social issues includes politicians.


WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 2 years ago

These are such great tips, thanks for sharing. It's not something people often think about.

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    Switching Gears and Changing Careers (SMD2012)292 Followers
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    I provide tips on how to get the most out of your chosen career, whether you're a freelancer or work full-time in an office setting.



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