I manage a group of nearly 50 people who do work that is usually monotonous. I try to make up for some of the monotony by creating a fun workplace. As part of that philosophy, the employees have “theme” potlucks every other month. We’ve never had a Halloween theme for some reason and my employees are proposing that we do a costume contest this year. I have a nagging feeling that this would be a bad idea but I do not want to be a killjoy. What do you think of the idea?
What could possibly go wrong if you give employees an opportunity to wear very skimpy outfits and act out their wildest fantasies in the workplace?
If you do allow the costume party, be sure to impose a “no glitter” rule. If you don’t, you’ll be finding that stuff in strange places for months. Trust me.
– Evil Skippy
If you go ahead with a costume event – and I think it’s a fun idea – you absolutely must make certain guidelines very clear to all your employees in advance. They need to be reminded that it is a workplace and everyone must conform to the regular dress code rules. In other words, no one may wear provocative outfits (such as naughty nurses or fireman calendar models). Employees also should be reminded that they may not wear outfits that would be offensive or disrespectful. For example, certain political themes or religious garb could easily offend some other employees. Everyone also needs to comply with all those pesky safety rules.
Obeying your policies and rules when it comes to costumes will help ensure that people enjoy the party without crossing your bounds of professionalism. In other words, someone dressed as a “regular” nurse is less likely to act “naughty”. Unless you know something specific about your employees that makes costume parties a very bad idea — and since you only refer to a “nagging felling” I suspect there is no such reason — I think you should give the party a try. Readers — do you agree or disagree?
Does this limit employee creativity? Sure it does, but it’s a workplace party. Your folks who want to wear costumes that push those envelopes and release their inner beasts can do so at bar parties or private events. More power to them, just not at work.
P.S. For those of you with bizarre and unusual ideas for costumes this year — please share them. I’m desperate.