No Tricks, Just Treats. Planning a Halloween Party at the Office.

/ 10/19/2012

Celebrating Halloween at the office can be fun. But a Halloween party can also be scary—for reasons that an employer might not have considered. Shocking things can happen at these parties. A normally subdued office clerk shows up in a revealing French maid outfit. Another employee takes the persona of his boorish costume too far, making offensive “in character” remarks. Still another employee shows up in a politically-inspired costume just days before a heated presidential election.


What can an employer do to avoid these problems? First of all, an employer should think through the party plans and establish guidelines upfront. Employees should be reminded to act professionally at all times. If costumes will be allowed, employees should be advised to avoid costumes that reflect stereotypes, are political, involve weapons, or project images that are inappropriate for the workplace. Games and activities should be screened for appropriateness. No “tricks” should be played. And, no employee should ever be forced to participate in the holiday activities.


Some employers opt for alternative celebrations that scale back the potential for issues to arise. These employers hold potluck breakfasts, invite staff members’ children to trick-or-treat, or host quick cake and punch parties late in the day before sending everyone home early.


To speak to a Dallas employment law attorney, contact the Dallas employment lawyers at Clouse Dunn LLP. You may send an email to [email protected] or call (214) 239-2705.

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