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The Ultimate Guide to an #HRApproved Office Halloween Party

Here in Canada, it’s one of the most breathtaking times of year! The leaves are changing colour, sweater weather is in the air, and all of our lattes are filled with pumpkin spice! And of course, one of the most anticipated holidays on my calendar – Halloween! Which is why in this post, we’ll teach you how to throw the most epic #HRApproved office Halloween party!  

And if you’re as crazy about the spooky holiday as I am, then you’ve probably already jumped ahead in your calendar and saw that it falls on Tuesday this year! Which means you don’t have to schedule your office party for the week before or after. Who doesn’t love an authentic Halloween on-the-day holiday party!

Of course, we won’t shy away from the fact that we’re all one inappropriate costume away from Halloween becoming the ultimate HR disaster… But! Have no fear! Our team has put together the ULTIMATE guide to getting your office Halloween party HR approved!

First Thing’s First, Set The Tone…

It’s important to remember that not everyone loves Halloween as much as I do and in fact, Halloween originated as a religious holiday so keep in mind some employees may actually ask for the day off. When sending out your initial invites, making sure staff are aware that it is not a required event for them to attend is best practice.

Your initial invitations are also a great opportunity for you to remind staff that even though you’ll be letting loose for a few hours with your co-workers, it’s still very much an office party and so standard office party rules will apply. Here are a few quick pieces you might want to bring to their attention:

  • Dress code: and please don’t single out the ladies in communications, they’re not the only victims of over-sexualized Halloween costumes. In fact, it can be kind of unfortunately difficult to find a costume that IS work appropriate, so provide them with a list of example costumes they can take inspiration from! (you’re in luck cause we have one of those very lists coming up later on in this post!)
  • Drink responsibly: It’s fairly common for alcohol to be served at your office holiday parties especially after hours, and Halloween is no exception! Don’t feel like you have to shy away from providing booze to your staff or allowing a BYOB policy, but if you do make sure you’re implementing some sort of buddy system, encourage carpooling, have a key jar for employees who are planning on leaving their cars overnight, etc.
  • Harassment policies: Halloween is best known for its tricks and treats, and with tricks may come a few inappropriate office pranks or insensitive emails, and with a mix of alcohol and lack of dress code implementation you may find yourself with an abundance of harassment complaints. Reiterating your inclusive nature and zero tolerance for harassment beforehand is the best way to set expectations and have the best office party all year!

Implementing just a few of these points in your first communications regarding your stellar office Halloween party will be your recipe for success!

The Best Office Costume Ideas! 👨‍🎤

So we just walked through some of the pretenses for organizing your office Halloween party, and as mentioned it can be a little challenging to find an appropriate costume to wear. Most costumes for gals include the word “sexy” before literally anything, and most costumes for dudes have awful innuendos. For best success with your staff’s level of appropriate costumes is to supply them with a list of suggestions that they can take inspiration from! Remember, it’s all about expectation setting. If they see some examples of what you expect to see, when they go out looking on their own, they already have that filter in mind!

Feel free to send them these lists for inspiration when sending out your e-vites!

Amazing right? Okay, so now that you’ve taken into consideration the tone and expectation of dress and behavior – Now we can dive into some SPOOKY ideas for your #HRapproved Office Halloween Party!

Host a Carve-Off! 🎃

Here at the PurelyHR HQ we just took advantage of probably one of the greatest Halloween-esque gifts we could possibly have been given… Friday, the 13th in October (The first one in over a decade)!

In the early afternoon, we hosted a team-wide pumpkin carve-off! Divvying up our team into 6 teams of 2 and gave them 30 minutes to see who could carve out the best PurelyHR logo… and things got a little creative!

The best part? We had 6 creative (and branded) pumpkins to put out on our front step of our office!

Halloween Decor 🦇

If you’re a holiday junkie like me, then you know there’s nothing more fun than decorating your home for any holiday! So why not translate that to your office?

Get all your staff involved and decorate the inside and/or the outside of your office for passersby to admire! Or, if you have an office like ours you can divvy it up amongst departments and have a prize for the best Halloween themed office!

Make sure your employees don’t feel pushed to purchase decorations with their own money. The office should supply the bulk (and make sure it’s reusable for next year!) and let them know they can bring some from home or go out and purchase their own. (I only say this because I know I would go WILD at the dollar store for something like this!)

Kid-Friendly 🍬

Our office is home to two gentlemen with 7 kids each. Each. 7. Sev-ven.

So if you have a staff with a bunch of kids you might want to host something the little humans can enjoy! This can be done any number of ways whether it’s a costume party with Halloween themed music, or just opening your office late on Halloween night and letting staff bring their children to trick or treat!

Play Halloween Inspired Games 🎪

The Balance put together this amazing list of super fun Halloween party games for adults! The best part? Most of the props needed to execute these game ideas are most likely already lying around somewhere so you won’t have to break the bank to have your staff raving about your office Halloween party for the next year!

Here are a few of our personal favourites on the list:

    • The Ghost Game
    • Murder in the Dark
    • Halloween Feel Box
  • Scavenger Hunt

Movie Night 🎥

Is there a scary movie playing on the big screen? Invite your staff to join you at the movies on your dime (again, usually there are group discounts you can get for businesses OR you can buy gift cards that include snacks for a cheaper price!)

Have a big screen somewhere in the office? Even better! Invite your team to the office for a screening of an old Halloween classic! Beef up your office movie night with some trivia beforehand and offer up some cool Halloween prizes!

Get a Little Scarier 👻

Is there a haunted house in your community you can pay to visit? Here on the east coast around this time of year, we have a Zombie Manor that uses Hollywood level effects to scare your pants off.

You can usually cop a group discounts for businesses so you can go with your team!

Or maybe you go REALLY crazy and turn your own office into a haunted house. Hey, a Halloween buff can dream, right?

I Think You’re Ready 💪

Alright! I think you’re ready to ROCK this year’s office Halloween party! Just remember to set the right tone with your staff. Remind them of the dress code and harassment policies. If it fits your office culture, don’t be afraid to let offer your employees alcohol after hours, just do so responsibly, and feel free to grab any of our office Halloween party ideas or resources listed in this post for your own inspiration!

Oh, and don’t forget to invite me! I love a good Halloween party 😉

Jared Goodman

As Content Coordinator at PurelyHR, it’s Jared’s job to research the latest and greatest time off trends and deliver them in impactful ways to our customers. A self-proclaimed Anti-Hustler, Jared knows the value time off can have in a business, having burned out several times as a freelancer before finding true work/life balance at PurelyHR. It’s his mission to help all 100,000 of our users achieve that same satisfaction.

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