October 28, 2010
Halloween costumes at the office: Fun or tiresome?
The other night, I talked to a friend who was scrambling to affix a set of bat wings she'd fashioned from a black umbrella to a black sweatshirt she'd just bought. Not only was she annoyed about spending an evening sewing, she was miffed at having dropped $50 on a Halloween costume -- for work.
[Flickr photo by Teo]
My friend teaches at an elementary school, so there's no getting around going to work the Friday before Halloween in full costume. But what about those of us who don't work with kids?
If you show up in your everyday duds when the rest of your office goes all out for Halloween, you might feel like the Wicked Witch of the West. On the other hand, if you've been looking forward to October 31 all year but your co-workers don't share your passion for vampire fangs and zombie makeup, you might find yourself as disappointed as Charlie Brown was when given a rock in his trick-or-treat bag.
When I wrote about dressing up for Halloween in the workplace last year, I was somewhat cranky about the subject. I empathized with those overworked employees who just wanted to get in and out of the office as quickly as possible so they could hurry home to their real lives. Like those harried desk jockeys, I saw playing dress-up for Halloween at the office -- and the accompanying costume contests and conference room festivities -- as one more hurdle between finishing the week's work and beginning the weekend.
Marcia, a reader of this blog, concurred, saying, "I personally don't like dressing up or costume events, from masquerade balls to Halloween. I think that's what vacation days are for."
Sarah, another commenter, vehemently disagreed: "Sorry, but come on!! It's Halloween! Everyone has at some time enjoyed dressing up and getting candy. It's one Friday out of the entire year that your 'pressing project' will not 100% be put to bed before the weekend. Buy a couple dollars' worth of candy, put a little thought to a costume, and enjoy not having a normal day at work!!"
This year, I'm softening my stance on the great costumes-in-the-workplace debate and siding with Sarah. It's been a rough couple of years for many of us, and I think we all could use a little break from the usual Monday-through-Friday grind. Despite the fact that I currently work from home, come Friday, I'll be donning my fangs and zombie paint right along with the Sarahs of the workforce.
How about you? If you're currently working, are you dressing up for Halloween at the office this year?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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