Halloween is right around the corner, and with it comes the office Halloween party. Halloween has been de-emphasized in corporate culture over the years for a litany of reasons, mainly due to increasing human resources complaints. However, there are still ways to enjoy spooky season without running into a lawsuit.
Accommodate for Allergies
If you plan on having in-office trick or treating or just passing out candy in general, check with all the employees participating if they have any food allergies. A lot of Halloween candy is made either with peanuts or tree nuts, and even the ones that aren’t may still be processed in factories that deal with these common allergens. Not to mention wheat or soy allergies, or even more uncommon ones like coconut. Make sure all allergies are accounted for and accommodated. This could mean having hypoallergenic sweets options, separate candy bowls, or having a nut-free table.
Give Alternate Activities for Those with Religious Exemptions
Some religious/spiritual backgrounds do not allow the celebration of Halloween or any association with the supernatural. If you have any individuals with such a background, you can hold an alternate activity or celebration. Events like a fall dessert day or a pumpkin painting contest are easy, small events that could happen before or after your big Halloween bash. That way, those who can’t celebrate can still engage in some autumn fun and those that do get to celebrate the season and the holiday. However, you should always state that your Halloween party is secular and never force anyone to participate if they don’t want to or can’t.
Avoid Activities That Could Cause Injury
Things like pumpkin carving and apple bobbing are Halloween staples, but probably not the best for an office Halloween party. It’s best to avoid possibly dangerous activities or ones that could easily lead to injury. Handling sharp knives and sticking your head underwater can both cause harm, which can lead to an HR nightmare. It’s best to find non-dangerous alternatives to avoid giving your human resources team more work than they already have. A good example is the previously mentioned pumpkin painting or a costume contest.
Establish Costume Restrictions
Costumes are an integral part of Halloween, but not all costumes are safe for the workplace. It is important employees know what is or isn’t allowed at the Halloween party. Things like skimpy costumes, religious figures, and general controversial outfits should be avoided, especially if employees are facing the public. Read our blog here for more tips on what costumes to avoid in the workplace.
There are a lot of things to consider when creating any sort of office holiday party. But it’s important that you take into account the various ways something can go wrong before the date of the event. And with how contentious Halloween can be, extra caution should be taken to avoid any issues. However, if you take the time to consider whatever issues that may arise, you’ll have a fun and accessible Halloween party.
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