Workplace costumes do’s and don’ts

There are a few simple rules to follow when planning your workplace Halloween costume.

Despite popular thinking, Halloween is not the time to break your workplace dress code or to act otherwise inappropriately.

Many workers use the holiday to wear their pajamas to work, shorten their hemlines and lower their V-necks.

Or, their costumes convey political and racial messages or reflect their religious points-of-view.

According to the Naples News, many workplaces have had to tone down their Halloween celebrations in respect for their employees to work in a hassle-free environment.

“It’s great to have a party. It’s a morale booster,” said Deb Keary, vice president of the Society for Human Resources in Alexandria, Va. In the article available at, “But with Halloween, you have to be careful. Stay away from the political, stay away from the religious and dress appropriately. Remember, it’s still a workplace.”

It’s easy to use poor judgement when selecting a costume, especially when the word “sexy” accompanies nearly every costume invented. There’s sexy Elmo, sexy zombie, sexy circus ringmaster, sexy secretary — finding a conservative costume can be a challenge.

Popular workplace networking sites have listed their suggestions for absolutely what not to wear to work.

Excelle, a networking site for career-minded women at lists “terrorist or Muslim” at the top of their list.

“With workplace violence at a tipping point and the continued tensions over the war in the Middle East, an employee showing up in an office building like this is likely to cause workplace disruption and even chaos,” the article said. 

Other costumes in poor taste include illegal aliens, political figures especially pertaining to the upcoming election, and religious figures such as the Pope.

For women, sexy is a big no-no.

A good rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t wear it to a party at your grandma’s, you shouldn’t wear it to work. said most feline costumes set other coworkers up for making inappropriate comments. As do nurses and street walkers.

The same goes for men. Their costumes should always include a shirt. Avoid costumes that may be offensive to women such as a pimp, gynecologist or Hitler, who, actually, would probably offend people of both genders.

References to beer, bongs or both should also be left out of the office. Be careful with props too as they quickly become office toys and tend to linger long after the holiday is over.

So what is an appropriate costume? suggests mime, nerd, Harry Potter, or clever plays on words.



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