Do you allow people to dress up for Halloween?

Two quick questions today. First, do you allow people to dress up for Halloween? Curious about it from a diversity of thought perspective. Some companies say “no way,” while others allow people to celebrate however they wish. Second, whether or not you allow it, is it acceptable culturewise? I’ve worked in places where it was allowed but nobody did it due to those “unspoken norms” in the organization. Not a fun place to work even on a regular day!

Curious about this holiday’s celebration (0r not) around the world. :-) And yes, you can comment on the cuteness of Bella and Bree even if  you have nothing to add with regard to the Halloween/costume debate!

7 thoughts on “Do you allow people to dress up for Halloween?

  1. Chris Ferdinandi - Renegade HR

    My company doesn’t have any rules against, but culturally, people just don’t.

    That said, I’ve noticed that while there is a company culture, it really occurs in pockets. The organization is quite large, and even in different buildings on the street you’ll find slightly different cultures.

    Interesting discussion topic, Ben!

    – Chris

    1. Ben Post author

      Hey, Chris! I think the “pocket” thing depends on the individual managers and how they respond to the whole thing. They can influence the culture for the better/worse the rest of the year, and I suppose Halloween’s no different!

      Are you dressing up as an Apple geek this year? ;-)

  2. Steve Browne

    We don’t discourage it, but it’s lost it’s juice over the past few years. We’re moving to a pumpkin carving contest by departments and then having pumpkin pie served from a local restaurant (Frisch’s – who has AMAZING pumpkin pie.) Trying the team building route with this vs. having one person come in a great HR Hippie costume while everyone else just dresses normally . . . .

    Good post my friend and the girls look amazing !!

  3. Ben Post author

    Hi-ya, Steve. Hmmm… HR Hippie, huh? Sounds like you had that one down pat. :-) Seriously, love the carving contest! I need to add my own carving pictures before the week is over. Plus… Pie? How could you go wrong with that!?!

  4. Chris Ferdinandi - Renegade HR

    Our corporate HQ is located in Hopkinton, MA. On one street, we’ve got the official HQ building, and then about 6 others of varying sizes.

    Every building has more than one team in it. And every building has it’s own culture.

    Within each building, you have additional pockets of culture, like you suggested, among specific teams.

    So like an onion, I think culture has many layers. Organizations have them. If you have more than one location, each location has a culture that’s part of the bigger culture, but uniquely different as well. And finally teams have a culture that fits into both the locational culture and the organizational one.


    I won’t be dressing up (though I did pick up an awesome penguin costume from Target). I may rock my devil horns, though.

  5. Sabrina

    I worked in call centers for 7 years and we not only encouraged it, but had games and prizes developed around dressing up. Call centers are a different world and when you talk to customers (who are usually angry) for 8 hours a day, things like this go a long way in employee morale. We encouraged the supervisors to dress up too as the employee’s loved seeing their managers this way. It really worked for us and was cool to see what costumes (HR appropriate of course:)) employees came up with.

  6. Ben Post author

    @Sabrina That’s awesome, especially the part about managers joining in. Too often they are set apart and refuse to participate, which does nothing to help manager/employee relations!

    Contests would be fun. Never worked anywhere that was that “into” it, but I would like to see it someday. :-)

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