October 13, 2016 by Jack

Before dressing up for Halloween at work, do yourself and your co-workers a favor and retire any costume idea that ends with “in-a-box” or involves representing an ethnic group other than your own. Water-cooler talk is awkward enough without the added dimension of a sexually explicit or culturally insensitive Halloween costume thrown into the mix. No matter which direction you go, it might be helpful to keep a few things in mind as your office Halloween party edges closer.

Consider the message your costume could send. Avoid costumes that serve as commentary on politics, current events, or memes that could be polarizing (or that you don’t fully understand, a la Pepe the Frog). Your costume should be about as subversive as a Nickelodeon cartoon — which, considering some of its ’90s fare, gives you a little bit of leeway.

Leave the weapons at home. Bringing a legit weapon — knife, gun, sword, you name it — to work is an out-and-out bad idea. Call it a lamentable sign of the times or an annoying reminder that bad ideas have to be spelled out to people — no matter how you look at it, leave the legal liability to the next guy and play it safe with this one.

If your work party will include alcohol, cut yourself off after two drinks. When the Christmas party comes, by all means knock yourself out. But something happens around Halloween that seems to invite our worst behavior (maybe you convince yourself that it was actually Marty McFly hitting on that chick from accounting and not you). So save the real fun for when you’re not around the people who have to see you and monitor your performance on a regular basis.

Don’t post pics of co-workers without their consent. Maybe you don’t want all of your friends to know how much you loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or maybe one of your co-workers simply doesn’t want their entire social media audience to know where they work. Either way, ask people you work with if it’s OK for you to post photos you take on social media.