Halloween is only a few weeks away! Tired of cheesy ghost decor or messy jack-o-lantern carving? You can do better. Consider a classy, child-like, or international Halloween for your office.

 

1) Class It Up

Reimagine Halloween as a more sophisticated holiday. You can enjoy the pumpkins, costumes, and meals without getting campy or scary.

Decor:

Copy Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s high art masterpiece, The Gates. It’s been over a decade since the art installation took New York by storm, so it’s due for a reincarnation. The artwork featured orange fabric hanging from similarly-hued frames – like ghost sheets in pumpkin colors.

To mimic it, you can purchase plain orange flags to place around your office. You can even have your office head formally unfurl the first flag to kick off Halloween festivities, just like former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg did to launch the exhibit.

Food:

Order a meal that makes for a ghoulish celebration. This multi-course meal in the Halloween theme fits the bill.

  • Appetizer:
    • Jack-O-Lantern Dip
      • A variety of crudites and crisps in a hummus-filled pumpkin cauldron.
    • Halloween Brains
      • Veggie stuffed mushrooms with a Halloween twist.
  • Entree:
    • Bat Legs
      • Fried chicken drumsticks coated in a rich sweet and sour sauce.
    • Zombie Ribs
      • Traditional rib dish with a Halloween twist.
  • Dessert:
    • Halloween Sweet Treats
      • A variety of Halloween themed cookies, cakes, and cupcakes.

Halloween Treats

 

Attire:

Continue the art theme with your office costume contest. Make it a competition for best costume from a black-and-white film noir or horror movie. The older movie focus will make the costumes more distinctive – and avoid the gore of more contemporary interpretations of horror, like the Saw movies. If team members don’t know the genre well, they can get inspiration here. You can also continue the celebration, post-Halloween, with a noir movie marathon.

 

2) Age It Down

Let your team experience the child-like joy of the holiday, with no pretense of being too old for it.

Decor:

Embrace the fear factor by indulging in a few low-grade office tricks. Pick names out of a hat, Secret Santa style – or use a site or app to do so. Each person can decorate the desk of the person whose name she picks. Include some ground rules about disturbing people’s personal items, provide a small budget, and watch the fun. Not only will your space be decorated, but your team’s creativity and bonds will be engaged. To round out the desk decor, consider placing small spiders on the printer or a severed hand in the office fridge.

Food:

Spook the kid inside of everyone with a menu that uses textures and shapes to remind you of creepy-crawlies.
Then, make it that much scarier by trying a meal in the dark. The trend’s popularity has been growing around the world, from New York City to Bangkok.

To mimic it, buy or repurpose blindfolds, forego silverware, and turn the lights off before sitting down to eat. See if anyone can guess what’s on the menu from taste and texture alone. Be sure to have napkins or paper towels ready for the aftermath.

  • Appetizer:
    • Devilish Spider Eggs
      • Handcrafted deviled eggs topped with black olives.
    • Jack-O-Lantern Dip
      • Baby carrots with ranch, shaped like a pumpkin.
  • Entree:
    • Mummies in a Blanket
      • A delicious and spooky Halloween spin-off of the traditional pigs in a blanket.
    • Jack-O-Lantern Stuffed Peppers
      • Roasted poblano peppers stuffed with braised and seasoned tofu.
  • Dessert:
    • Traditional Candy or Candy-Coated Caramel Apples
      • The caramel apples are hand-dipped in caramel and can be covered in the topping of your choice! The topping options include M&M’s, Snickers pieces, pecan pieces, or Halloween colored sprinkles.

Mummies In A Blanket - Halloween Treats

 

Attire:

Get into the “trick” part of the holiday with office Halloween costumes. Ask everyone to pick an outfit that could be one of two different things. All day, people can try to guess each other’s choices, with at least a 50% chance of getting tricked.

Another way to do office costume tricks is to have a mask guessing game. Each team member wears a mask into the office, and you have to guess who’s behind the mask. To maximize the fun, do it first thing in the morning, so team members don’t have to fight their masks while typing.

 

3) Make It Global

The US isn’t the only country with a popular celebration of the dead. Embrace the customs of other countries to make your celebration more international – and inclusive.

Decor:

Follow other cultures’ holiday of the dead traditions, many of which center around light. For instance, “worshippers in Buddhist temples fashion ‘boats of the law’ from paper…which are then burned in the evening hours…as a remembrance of the dead and in order to free the spirits.” Since burning paper inside your office would not be looked on kindly by the fire department or by your building manager, consider putting tea lights inside DIY origami boats.

Alternatively, celebrate Sweden’s day of remembrance, alla helgons dag. For this commemoration, long-burning candles are lit. You can place candles around your office in a similar way, to celebrate and to create a unique ambiance. Opt for the fire-free kind that plug in to avoid creating fire hazards.

Food:

Enjoy the Halloween foods of different countries – along with the stories around them.

  • Appetizer:
    • Black Bat Wings
      • Asian-style chicken wings decked out in a spooky bat-themed glaze.
    • Sickly Pumpkin
      • Fresh guacamole and chips arranged in a pumpkin.
  • Entree:
    • Baked Brains
      • A spookified Italian favorite! Enjoy baked ziti with marinara sauce and topped with cheese.
    • Halloween Steak-And-Ale Pie
      • A British classic! Delicious steak pie topped with a spooky Halloween decoration.
  • Dessert:
    • Peanut Butter Witch Hats
      • Fresh-baked peanut butter cookies topped with Hershey Kisses.

Sickly Pumpkin - Office Halloween

 

Attire:

Invite your team to dress like a ghoul from a culture of their choice. Take inspiration from the skeleton costumes in Mexico’s Day of the Dead parade. Or, go for a gothic look, like those who celebrate Halloween in Sighisoara, Romania, where Vlad the Impaler and Dracula are from. Even dressing like a cow can be appropriate for the holiday! In Nepal, the festival of the cows is when families who have lost a relative in the last year honor the deceased by “leading a cow (or a child dressed as a cow, if a cow can’t be procured) down the village street in a procession.”

 

Whichever of these 3 alternative office Halloweens you pick, you’ll reinvigorate the holiday for your office. Happy (almost) Halloween!

 

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