Do employees within your organization dress up for Halloween? Do you have an office party or special lunch planned? How about members of your team requesting time off to participate in the Halloween events at their children’s school?
Halloween can be a lot of fun but it has the potential to cause disruptions in the workplace if managers aren’t prepared.
If employees are planning on coming to work in costume you should stress that all costumes be appropriate for the workplace. Any costume that plays on a particular racial, gender, religious or political theme should be discouraged in the workplace. A good rule of thumb here is that someone’s ethnicity is not an appropriate costume. Other costumes that could be problematic are those with a sexual theme or that are more revealing than what is appropriate for your place of work.
Remind employees that while you may relax parts of your policy on work attire for the day, above all else, costumes should be appropriate for the workplace. This also includes costumes which are not appropriate because they may interfere with an employee’s ability to fulfill their job duties (for example, speaking over the phone while wearing a mask) or due to safety concerns for certain employees who may be required to wear uniforms and/or safety equipment (this can range from health care workers to manufacturers). Have a discussion with managers about what your expectations are for proper attire for all departments. Develop a policy in advance and distribute it to staff.
You should also encourage employees to bring a change of clothes to work if they plan on dressing up. Not only will this make it easier to deal with a potentially inappropriate costume, but some employees may just feel more comfortable if they aren’t in a costume all day.
If you run into any scary situations this Halloween don’t be afraid to call the HR Helpline at (800) 457-8829!