Halloween is a great opportunity to foster employee engagement and workplace camaraderie — are you taking advantage of it?
Here’s what makes Halloween such a standout engagement time:
It’s popular. According to a 2015 Harris Poll, Halloween ranks third among U.S. adults for favorite holiday. Only Christmas and Thanksgiving rank higher! Halloween outranks the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and even “my birthday.”
It’s participatory. From pumpkins and costume parades to trick-or-treating, Halloween gets people moving, talking and connecting with one another.
It’s creative. Nearly everything we do to celebrate Halloween encourages creativity, from carving the perfect pumpkin to sewing a one-of-a-kind costume.
It’s fun! Yes, a little fun plays an important role at work! Regular opportunities for play in the workplace break down barriers, boost creativity and optimism, lower stress and increase motivation.
Read on for quick employee engagement ideas for a successful workplace Halloween!

8 Halloween Employee Engagement Ideas

Your workplace Halloween celebration doesn’t need to be fancy or break the bank. Involve employees in hands-on activities and reward their everyday hard work with a little time to goof off and celebrate — and, if it fits your organization and culture, encourage customers to participate!
1. Costume Contest
Invite employees to dress up, then gather a few inexpensive prizes (candy, gift certificates, movie tickets) to hand out in various award categories for a costume contest — Best Costume, Best Make-Up, Best Hair, Scariest Costume, etc.
Pro tip: when announcing the costume contest, include the word “tasteful” in your description. Inc. contributor Chas Rampenthal suggests that employers encourage costumes that are workplace-appropriate. “A little preparation can go a long way to prevent a misunderstanding,” he writes.
Looking for costume inspiration to share with your team? PopSugar has a great slideshow of “35 Work-Appropriate Halloween Costumes That Keep It Classy.”
If you’re not sure how to alert the troops, SHRM also offers great workplace costume guidelines.
2. Invite Kids to Trick-or-Treat in the Office
Open up your workplace to trick-or-treaters. All you need is a big bowl of candy and you’re good to go! Celebrating Halloween with kids around will brighten everyone’s day.
3. Halloween Breakfast/Lunch
Serve hot cider and doughnuts in the morning and host a pumpkin-themed potluck at lunch — anything pumpkin goes! Serve pumpkin bread, pumpkin-shaped cookies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin curry with rice, pumpkin seeds in a salad, pumpkin soup … the Food Network has a whole section dedicated to yummy-looking pumpkin recipes to get your team inspired!
4. Healthy Cooking Class
For a fun focus on workplace wellness (and to balance out all the Halloween candy!) invite a chef to teach a cooking class or share tips for incorporating seasonal, local vegetables into tasty recipes.
5. Pumpkin-Carving Party
Invest in a bulk purchase of pumpkins from an area farm stand and bring them into the office for a fun team-building activity to break up the day. Don’t forget carving tools and plastic table cloths to keep things from getting too messy.
6. Halloween Fun on Social Media
Use your social media of choice to share photos of your team enjoying Halloween together and, if your company has retail locations, invite customers to come in and celebrate with you. #HalloweenAtWork!

Employee engagement sometimes comes with a sugar rush!

(Photo via Jamal Fanaian)

7. Candy Gift Certificates
Share your gratitude with employees by distributing Candy Gift Certificates along with a short note of “Thanks” for their hard work. A small surprise gift is a memorable way to reward employees — and it’s appreciated anytime!
8. Bob for Apples (and Other Team-Building Games)
Go for traditional kids’ party games, or if bobbing for apples is too messy, try out some team-building games from this list of Halloween activities for adults. Try a fun break of scary movie charades!  Or have employees share photos from themselves as kids wearing their favorite costume and have a contest guessing who’s who.
If you’ve been planning your Halloween workplace celebration for weeks, great. But if you’re celebrating on the fly, don’t worry. If you’re fostering employee engagement and having fun with your coworkers, you’re doing it right!
Happy Halloween from your friends at gThankYou!
To learn more about building a workplace culture of appreciation, download our popular free eBook, “Transform Your Workplace with Gratitude.” Click the image below and start transforming your workplace today!

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