Q. We would like to throw a Halloween party for our employees during working hours. Many want to wear costumes. Should we have a costume dress code? We are worried some employees may go too far.
A. Employees crossing the boundaries of “work-safe” behavior with their choice of costume is an increasing trend around Halloween. Some of this is prompted by the slow but steady transition away from the traditional monster costumes to those that are more risqué.
A recent online poll by Glassdoor.com found that 51% of employees expect HR to step in if someone’s costume crosses the line that separates appropriate and inappropriate. These three guidelines will keep the Halloween focus on fun:
- Expressly tell all employees that dressing in costume for the party is optional. Some employees may not be interested in celebrating Halloween or they might feel that the holiday has religious implications.
- Remind employees that while the Halloween party is a celebration, employees are nevertheless expected to act professionally.
- Reinforce the key points of the dress code—and remind employees that they are expected to adhere to your sexual harassment policy.