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Dressing up in costume might be a bit too unprofessional for a traditional law office, and definitely not a good idea for a court appearance. But, in less stuffy office and consumer-facing environments, letting employees dress up in Halloween costumes can be great for team building, or even sales/business.
Like anything else that's slightly questionable but has potential to be good, there are some pitfalls to watch out for. Below you'll find a couple pros and cons, and a couple tips, for letting employees dress up for the holiday.
Pro: Customers May Love It!
If there's a storefront or brick and mortar component to the business, employees in costume will simply attract business and can be a boon for sales. However, the basic axiom is as follows: the more serious the business, the more serious the customer, and the less likely that costumes will be well received. Basically, if you have customers, then it's okay, but if you have clients, then you might want to think twice.
Con: Employees May Hate It
Dress codes are the worst, and being forced to dress up for Halloween is even worse than a dress code. Even if you don't require employees to come in costume, some employees may just not like it for whatever reason.
Pro: Good for Team Building
Costume contests, particularly if you can do team costume contests, can be a fun way to do some team building. Bosses need to be on board, but shouldn't push employees too hard.
Con: Bad for Productivity
Say goodbye to a half-day's worth of productivity.
If your company has a public-facing side to the business, consider buying the employees Halloween costumes. This can control what the public sees, and can avoid controversy (so long as you choose wisely). Alternatively, you can require costumes get approval, or provide a list of approved costumes.
Create Halloween costume rules that prohibit offensive, sexual, or disruptive costumes. Also, putting functional restrictions in the costume rules is a good idea (i.e. costumes cannot restrict the ability to sit, stand, talk, or do the actual job).