The office Halloween party is not the time to break out your best impressions and wildest outfits.
In my article, “3 Worst Halloween Costumes of 2014” I outlined some rather unmannerly ways to ruin your reputation during Halloween. So now that we’re heading into the spookiest time of year, it’s a good time to bring back the topic. However this time I’m giving the topic a corporate spin.
Some people improperly view Halloween as a chance to be funnier, hipper, and sexier thanks to the “cloak of confidence” a costume brings. However, an office setting is not a proper place to break out your wildest outfit. Don’t get me wrong, we all like to dress up and have a good time, just remember there are a lot of eyes on you, so pick wisely, my friends, and check out my top three Quick and Dirty Tips that are sure to lead to an epic office Halloween fail.
Tip #1: Dressing Like a Colleague
Did you ever hear the one about the employee who dressed up like their colleague for the Halloween office party? No? Oh, it's a good one. Sadly, my mannerly friends, this actually occurred and, as you would expect, it didn't exactly go so well. Samantha (I’m hiding her name, but she asked to share her story) decided it would be “absolutely hilarious” to dress up as her colleague, Henry, who she shares a cubical wall with. Henry is a fifty-something, mild mannered accountant, on the short side, slightly pudgy, and also wears very thick bifocals. Now, I got into this much description because Samantha didn’t want to leave out any details in making sure her costume "captured" every bit of Henry’s “look.” In her defense, Samantha said she had nothing but “good intentions” by dressing up like her cube mate, and thought it would crown her as the Office Jokester—a reputation she assumed was a badge of honor. Well, you know what happens when you assume, right? Yup, you get canned. So, along with a bite sized 3 Musketeers Bar and some candy corn, Samantha received her walking papers that Halloween.
Needless to say Samantha learned the hard way that office life—no matter how “comfortable” it may appear—is not your social life. Yes, you will have friends and yes you can joke around, but if you upset an outside-the-office friend, all that may happen is they won’t talk to you again. When you insult a colleague, though, it will land you in the time out chair of the HR department, who may not share your sense of humor. There are many problems with dressing up like a coworker, but the underlining point is you’re essentially imitating or roasting someone’s worst qualities (be it hair, dress, personality) simply for laughs. That my mannerly friends is what we call bullying. I would even stress that if a coworker gives you permission (for whatever whacky reason this may occur) to still turn down the idea. Simply put, don't go down this route for a costume ... even if your coworker happens to be a clear-cut Doppelganger for Dilbert. Always hold off celebrating the fact via a Halloween costume.
Tip #2: Nothing Political
In an article called, “Should You Talk Politics At Work” I listed epic fails regarding political debates with your coworkers in the office. With discussing politics, I’d also recommend not dressing like a current political figure in the office, too. Now, don’t get me wrong, from George Washington to Honest Abe, I totally get how dressing up as your favorite past president or world leader is a Halloween classic, but the key here is the term, “current.” Going as a current political figure or candidate to an office Halloween party is a surefire way to start an argument with coworkers who either support or dislike that person. For example, when you dress up like Donald Trump and walk around telling your other coworkers, he's a “loser, and not a winner like me!” you are setting yourself up for a political storm that will do no one any good.