What HR really thinks about your Office Halloween Costume

I loved working with this guy, what an Office Halloween Costume!


Office Halloween Costumes are one my guilty HR pleasures.  Up there with interviewing a young co-ed, delivering a pink slip to the office bully, and my personal favorite: reporting a 20% less yearly salary than the actual on a punk ass employee when asked for a reference check.  These are all things I obviously won’t admit to taking satisfaction in when I am out in public, but when I get a reference check on an ex employee that was a pain in my ass. . . I can’t help myself.   "OMG, you are going to hire him?  I feel for you already!  Run for the hills!  You didn't hear it from me, but. . . . " 

I am obviously not able to publicly admit that I care for the crude and tasteless Halloween costumes, but deep down, I enjoy walking around the building and seeing the freak show and taking notes.  (I mean the employees and all of their company spirit.)

I repost this particular blog every year around Halloween, and every year I change it up a bit.  I can't help myself when it comes to sharing this because it’s so much fun to predict who will inspire an inappropriate office Halloween costume. 

Some things never change in the work place.  Getting drunk at the company holiday party, getting drunk at the summer picnic, and inappropriate Halloween costumes all come to mind.  In the same way that Santa is busiest on Christmas Eve, HR is usually busiest on 2 special days during the year - the day after the Company Holiday party and Halloween.  If a company doesn’t have a problem every once-in-awhile, I am out of a job.  Thank you Lord for the dumb asses.   

Don’t get me wrong; I am all for team building, and the office Halloween costumes can build teams very effectively.  I love it when a department dresses up in a theme because it shows they banded together, agreed on a single mission and worked as a group.  It can be as simple as the Men in Black theme or as elaborate as the crew from the Starship Enterprise (this usually only happens in technical departments).  I struggle internally when a department comes dressed as “Pimps and Hoes” but hey, they still banded together like a team. 

I don’t have kids (and won’t admit this publicly), but it is cool seeing the little crumb snatchers come to their parents work in their costumes.  Parents and children in a matching theme are the best.  Curious George and the Yellow Cowboy comes to mind, as does the above pictured pair, a prior VP of Biz Dev I had the good fortune to work with.  This costume totally fits him and he pulls it off beautifully.  Call me the Grinch who Stole Halloween, but to me, this is an HR "tell".  When parents bring their kiddies to work, it is a subconscious sign that the parents like their job.  If they hated the place, they would treat the office like the home of a sexual offender.

HRNasty’s predictions for this year inappropriate (and appropriate) office Halloween costumes:

  • Lance Armstrong on steroids:  I imagine someone is going to come into the office with his junk pulled backwards in a skin tight bicycle suit and tattered ribbons around his neck indicating that the medals were ripped off his neck (Lance made this list last year as well).
  • Lindsey Lohan with ankle bracelet and a jumpsuit in a lovely shade of Prison Orange
  • Psy and some Gangam Style Dancers  (I would personally LOVE to see this one done well)
  • Honey Boo-Boo
  • Sandusky. . .please, any form of this would just be wrong!
  • Snookie made the list last year, but this year I expect a preggo Snookie

There is always the employee that needs to push the envelope when it comes to inappropriate office Halloween costumes.  Unless it is Elvira sporting cleavage with a short skirt and fishnets, I am probably not going to be amused.  Elvira might be able to get some work done, but the productivity of the folks around her will be like her costume, minimal.

For those considering coming to work in your grubbiest, most unprofessional clothing, this is probably not a good idea.  This is Halloween not “Casual Day” and Casual Day is not Grubbies Day.  This is the worst form of costume abuse in my opinion.

Office Halloween costumes come in all shapes and forms.  In the same way drunk behavior is a reflection of your true self, (mean drunks and friendly drunks) costumes can be interpreted as a reflection of how much respect one has for their customers and co-workers.

Me, all the house lights turned off at 5, extra “beware of dog” signs and business casual as usual in the workplace.

See you at the after party!



nasty:  an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone that is good at something.  “He has a nasty forkball"


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