Don’t Let Your Halloween Costume Haunt Your Career

Don’t Let Your Halloween Costume Haunt Your Career

What not to wear to the office

Does this costume make me look… inappropriate? Having some Halloween fun at the office can be a good thing but releasing your inner superman or killer zombie could be a scary career move. The last thing you want to do is spook away that promotion, or even drive a deadly wedge between you and management.

Taking into account the popularity of Halloween and the fact that adult costume sales have eclipsed children’s, be prepared for stranger things to come alive in your office. But remember you’re not a kid, and there’s no tricking allowed. Your costume is part of your professional brand. 

While you don’t want to come off as being uptight or having zero team spirit by ignoring office festivities, on the other hand, wearing a nightclub-appropriate costume will likely have you joining the walking dead. Come performance appraisal time, you don’t want your Halloween performance overriding your hard-earned accomplishments and flawless dedication. 

Keep the sexy, scary and insulting factors in check. Whatever you choose to wear or how you decorate your cube should be in line with your employer’s corporate culture and values, what you do and how you do it. Client/management expectations are your barometer. Not the ghosts of The Haunting of Hill House!

Find a balance between having fun and staying professional. Best to play it safe by wearing something clever, inclusive, easily removable, and simple. Flouncy vampire capes may trip you up, and a mask takes away your focus and, possibly, productivity. Remember that you have to be able to comfortably perform all of your professional duties, including reaching and hurrying, and attending big meetings or presentations scheduled. Pass on the giant inflatable sloth costume.

Just don’t be that guy! Chill the office hottie look. Dress in haste and repent on social media. Ask yourself: Am I okay with being posted on Instagram? If I saw someone wearing a costume like the one I’m wearing, would I hire or promote them? The slightest doubt, do without.

While in an informal workplace, you may relish having colleagues laughing their asses off, but if you’re in a conservative setting, avoid being haunted by facepalm emojis and #halloweenfail tweets. Opt for a spirited accessory like fun Halloween socks, earrings or decorated nails. Vampire teeth or a fake nose can also display just the right amount of fun. 

Have a swell time – take lots of selfies, bond with your co-workers and eat copious amounts of candy corn. Make it all treats, no tricks. Avoid the dreaded career curse come November 1st!


What not to wear! 
•    Offensive: Anything that appropriates gender, race, culture, sexual orientation is insensitive and very likely to offend. Wave that job goodbye!

•    Tactless: Mocking the boss or colleague in words or costume is a bad career move. It’s also mean and thoughtless.

•    Gory: The blood-thirsty side of Halloween and violent costumes may fulfill your fantasy but can create career nightmares.

•    Political: Leave politics at home or risk heated debates and being viewed forever as a loud oaf. 

•    Sexual: Beware the word “naughty” on the costume packaging. Unless that is the kind of workplace you’re in, steer clear of hottie, naughty or body-hugging outfits.

Avoid scaring away future career opportunities with tips from business etiquette expert Julie Blais Comeau at
•    Pick your poison. If you’re celebrating after work with colleagues, choose your drinks wisely. Don’t overindulge. Your mask won’t conceal the side effects of one too many of the magic potions.

•    Don’t force your workmates to do tricks. Respect even a subtle “no.” Forgo bobbing for apples! Provide lively entertainment like a palm reader, caricature sketcher, astrologer or even an artist who does temporary tattoos.

•    Say “please” before “cheese.” Ask permission before taking pictures and let your team know where they will be posted. Trick and tag respectfully.

•    Show gratitude. Thank the organizers. It’s a deadly mistake not to express appreciation.