I love Halloween. It's my second favorite holiday, just behind Christmas. Dressing up and chocolate are just plain fun. Unfortunately, blogs about Halloween and HR can be frightening! There have been a few blog posts recently, mostly legal bloggers to be fair, about Halloween dress policies. Seriously? If that's your biggest concern, your Company doesn't need you.
Laurie Ruettimann @punkrockhr has a great post about HR and Halloween. Laurie's take is that Halloween is fun, but don't get HR involved in the party planning. I totally agree that I'm not busting out a spreadsheet to avoid duplicate brownies, but I disagree that HR can't be involved. Halloween and other corporate events can help with team building and building culture without a lot of "party planning" time wasted by your HRSuperstar. I've done three things that have been well-received and positively impacted the company with little planning time.
1. Office Trick or Treating: Email a pumpkin picture to employees, department, friends, etc... Ask interested participants to cut the pumpkin and put it on their door or cubicle entrance. Ask participants to Bring bags of candy and a pumpkin on a specific day to drop into each participant's bucket at a designated time. (Bonus = you now have candy to distribute on Halloween if you don't want to eat it yourself!)
2. "Boo" Game. The "Boo" game is the Halloween version of "Secret Santa". Secretly leave candy and other fun Halloween stuff with the boo poem for your coworkers. It only takes one to get it started and you can get everything that you need at Walgreens for less than $10.
3. Pumpkin Decorating Contest. At my former org, a department would provide each employee with a tiny pumpkin to decorate. I looked forward to voting for my favorite pumpkin every year. The winner recieved a prized "blue ribbon". We tried this last year at my company with a twist. We divided into departmental teams and gave employees a large pumpkin to decorate. Here are the "rules": Each team will receive a pumpkin to decorate creatively. You can carve, paint, use adhesive, or display your pumpkin in any other creative way. On October 30, we will have a potluck Halloween party and display all pumpkins. Feel free to wear a costume! Granted, we are a creative company, but the pumpkins were awesome. (These pumpkins were created by our employees!) It was easy to implement and had a great result. Some team-building occurred and we had a little fun too. My biggest takeaway was that we have really talented employees and need to find other ways to tap into these resources. My biggest challenge: how is my team going to top this? I need ideas people! Share them in the comments section - please!