Halloween Fun in the Workplace

I went trick or treating last night. It was a cool and drizzly evening, which made it just perfect for Halloween, according to my eight year old boy, who went as Superman. His big brother and a friend went as the Blues Brothers (very cool thing for 7th graders to be!).

I will sure miss trick or treating in a few years when they get too old to let me come along. I love walking the adjoining blocks and seeing who’s living in all the houses. We’re real old timers now, having lived there since 1991; many young families and some singles have moved in; and some houses have turned over many times, due to the rapidly rising housing market.

Last night I even donned a Halloween costume. I wore the uniform of a well known national company, but can say no more, to avoid getting the fellow who lent it to me in trouble. He cheerfully said if he did get in trouble, I could represent him. I said his union would. He responded disdainfully that he wouldn’t get much help from them.

If you are also lucky enough to have children to take out trick-or-treating, you have a perfect excuse to dress up in Halloween costumes and go around saying hi to all your neighbors old and new. Even if you don’t get that opportunity, there is a good possibility that you will have an office Halloween party or after work festivities that allow you to dress up and have some fun.

So, in wishing you a Happy Halloween, I have a few items about Halloween in the workplace and a selection of holiday photos from some of my favorite flickr photographers.

SpiritHalloween

Prevalence of Workplace Halloween Activity

Some survey data:

About one-third of all employees plan to dress up for Halloween this year, according to a recent CareerBuilder.com survey.

Halloween office parties are also very popular. Approximately 35 percent of offices sponsored their own Halloween party last year,

The Workplace Halloween Party as a Way to Boost Morale

An About.com piece entitled Halloween at the Office; Build Teams, Find Employee Talents, discussing the project of planning and executing a Halloween celebration, states:

You can use Halloween at the office to build morale and teamwork. At the same time it can help you spot creative and participative talents among your employees. Your people have a little fun in the office, which builds morale.

Groups of employees work together on fun projects, which helps build teamwork. Employees from different departments share a common activity, which improves communication and inter-departmental cooperation.

How not to celebrate Halloween (or any holiday) in the workplace:

Employee feels pressured to participate in office party

Employee writes for advice because she doesn’t want to participate in “this stupid office activity” (Halloween celebration), but is “concerned that the boss will look at [her] negatively” if she doesn’t.

Employees should not be made to feel this way!

Some Pop Psychology About Halloween Costume Choices

From an article entitled, “Halloween fantasies; The costumes people choose to wear can reveal a lot about them” (no longer available online):

For kids, the costume often explains a lot about who they are and who they hope to become. “It’s an idealized version of themselves” . . . “A Power Ranger wants to be a hero.” As children grow into adults, however, they become less likely to don a costume that blatantly indicates their deepest desires and wishes. . .

So does this mean that children get more out of Halloween than adults do? Well, they certainly get more candy. But the holiday also fulfills another need besides allowing us to bare our fangs and (repressed) souls. With the light-hearted way in which it approaches death and mortality, Halloween allows people to get a little closer to this natural part of life.

“In a cathartic way, we can approach death, and yet do it in a playful way that makes us experience the gruesome and dreadful but without the really grim parts of it,” said Katherine Ramsland, Ph.D., a professor of forensic psychology at DeSales University and author of numerous books, including “The Science of Vampires.” . .

So is it all about getting closer, and more comfortable, with the other side? Do we need Halloween to come to terms with our own mortality? Do we need to let ourselves run amok for a day?

Perhaps. But maybe we’re reading too much into it. Perhaps people just can’t resist the opportunity to be silly and to over-indulge in sweet treats. A holiday devoted to candy consumption is an American dream. And, maybe, sometimes, a costume is just a costume.

Finally, Two More Great Halloween Costume Photo Links

Caution – includes several images some may find offensive — there, that’ll get you clicking!

Our webhosting company’s office party.

Halloween Story from Atlanta Flickr group (best viewed as a slideshow — click link in upper right).

photo credits: cobalt123 (waving skeleton) esther17 (waving pumpkin-guy and “pumpkin peeps”) brave heart (lit pumkins and candy apples) rocketjim54 (pumpkin on leaves) via flickr
Creative Commons License

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