5 Factors To Consider If You're Not Sure About Wearing Your Halloween Costume To Work

by Julia Guerra

Brava if you’ve already nailed down when, how, and what you’ll be wearing to celebrate Halloweekend 2017, because All Hallows' Eve is around the corner, and I still don’t know have a clue. Halloween awkwardly lands on a Tuesday this year, which is kind of the beginning, not so much the middle of the week, and you may be wondering, should you wear a Halloween costume to work in order to prolong the spooky celebrations? If it were up to me, I’d say go for it, but unfortunately I have zero control over whether or not your office chooses to partake in such festivities. That being said, wearing a Halloween costume to work is ultimately going to depend on a few things.

Look, it's really not the end of the world if you’re the only one to show up to work on Oct. 31 rocking a witch’s hat and bright red lipstick while everyone else is dressed in their usual office clothes and sporting neutral makeup. If that’s the case, you can easily make a bee-line for the bathroom, whip off your headpiece, and blot away any evidence of a crimson stain. But if you’re the only employee to show up in head-to-toe theatrical garb ready for a 5 p.m. haunted happy hour that's just not happening, things could potentially get awkward.

Here are a few questions to consider before heading out to your office on Oct. 31 dressed in full costume attire.

Has Your Office Celebrated Halloween In The Past?

If this is your first year at a new job, it's always worth it to check in with either your co-workers or boss on the dos and don'ts of Halloween. Don't just assume that because your last corporate job observed the holiday with a happy hour and flexible dress code that your new position is all-in on Halloween festivities, too.

Ask A Manager blogger Alison Green suggested getting the low-down on office etiquette before showing up to work dressed as a blood-sucking vampire to ensure you won't be the only one. "Otherwise," she told U.S. News, "you might end up having an uncomfortable day as the only person who's out of business attire."

What's The Atmosphere Like In Your Office?

In creative work environments, or even teaching positions where you're surrounded by children, for example, chances are you’ve got the green light to show up to your job on All Hallows' Eve decked out in festive attire.

I can honestly say that in my experience in editorial positions, most bosses either don't care or highly encourage their employees to dress up for work (we're all a bunch of big kids anyway). Big corporations, however, might be a bit stiff on the subject.

All work environments have their own vibe. If you have a boss who's a little more regulated and by-the-books, it's probably for the best that you skip dressing up on the job and save it for happy hour. On the other hand, if your higher-ups are super laid-back, strike up a conversation prior to Oct. 31 and find out if they plan to dress up, too. Put out your feelers, but definitely ask around the office to get a definitive yes or no if you're unsure.

What Does Your Daily Itinerary Look Like?

If Halloween falls on a pretty average day at the office, and there aren't any important meetings scheduled, it's probably safe to wear whatever outrageous costume you have planned. But let's just say, for example, you're meeting with an important client, giving a tour of the office, or sitting down with HR to discuss a raise. Under those types of circumstances, dressing up in a Gaga-inspired gown made of meat or donning a cosmetic-made Pennywise smirk is probably not the way to go.

According to The Muse, if you still want to dress up despite a meeting or two at work, wear a costume that can easily pass as traditional workday attire, or stow a backup under your desk, just in case.

Is Your Costume Even Work-Appropriate?

Just because you can wear a Halloween costume to work, doesn't necessarily mean you should.

Raise your hand if you have ever worn, or are planning to wear, a sexy little something for Halloween. Costumes like the classic Playboy bunny, or Harley Quinn in hot pants — basically anything showing off a decent amount of midriff and/or cleavage — might be a no-go.

Even though we've grown accustomed to thinking all bets are off on Halloween, your workplace most likely has established a dress code of conduct that should be respected, despite whatever Mean Girls may have taught us.

Are You Keeping Things P.C.?

As much as provocative costumes may be a faux pas in the workplace, you should also tread cautiously in order to make sure whatever you wear isn't going to offend your co-workers.

Certain costumes, whether you intend them to have this effect or not, may come off as offensive or insensitive, and the last thing you want to remember about Halloween 2017 is that time you landed in HR with a warning.

It's a slippery slope, as there is an argument to be made about costume censorship, but here's the bottom line: If you're looking to make a political statement, or are aware that there is even a fragment of a chance that someone could interpret your costume as offensive, sit this particular costume party out. After all, you have all Halloweekend to dress up and celebrate.