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Work Appropriate Halloween Costumes – Don’t Wear These

halloween no noComing to work in costume on Halloween?  Whatever you wear to work is likely to be captured by someone’s phone and shared . . . widely.

None of these are work appropriate Halloween costumes:

  • Your boss
  • Your boss’s spouse
  • An employee who is “regrettably” no longer with the organization
  • Whatever fit ten years ago

Sometimes people forget that work parties are still work and work appropriate Halloween costumes should be worn.

This reminds me of a participant I had in a public speaking class several years ago. While doing a presentation, in class, he told a story about being ten years old and playing outside in his neighborhood when he realized he needed to go to the bathroom. He raced home, but didn’t make it. He ended up going to the bathroom outside, next to his house. After that class, every time I saw the guy in the hallway at work, I had the image of him pooping next to his house and years later the image remains with me.

Telling that story was a bad call. It created ahalloween photo 2 long-lasting impression I doubt he wanted his co-workers to have.

Impressions are made more quickly than they are forgotten. Have fun on Halloween, just not too much fun. If you wouldn’t want to see a photo of you in costume hanging in your organization’s lobby or on your website, don’t wear it to work.


Shari Harley is the founder and President of Candid Culture, a Denver-based training firm that is bringing candor back to the workplace, making it easier to give feedback at work. Shari is the author of the business communication book How to Say Anything to Anyone: A Guide to Building Business Relationships that Really Work. She is a keynote speaker at conferences and does training throughout the U.S. Learn more about Shari Harley and Candid Culture’s training programs at

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One Response to “Work Appropriate Halloween Costumes – Don’t Wear These”

  1. Gail Stewart-Evans says:

    Hi, Shari. Great advice as usual. I would also add not wearing a costume of an ethnic, racial or religious group that is not your own.

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