The National Retail Federation estimates Americans will spend $1.4 billion (yes, billion) on adult Halloween costumes this year. That's a lot of zombie face paint, wigs and glitter. Of course, if you're already employed in one of the world's scariest jobs, you can always go as yourself, right?
As I've said in past blog posts, I'm all for the Halloween office party. Employees work hard, and Halloween is a harmless way to blow off steam and improve employee morale -- unless you have the One Employee who refuses to participate or the employee who didn't get the memo about what not to wear. Stacy London hangs her head in shame. (Psst: Save the naughty bar wench costume for the after-hours party at your co-worker's house, although that may not be your best idea ever, either.)
Managers might feel a little bit scared off by the office Halloween party, fearing an employee will embarrass the company in front of customers or become a walking, talking sexual discrimination lawsuit. Will Dave in outside sales show up for work as Adult Mile High Pilot Hugh Jorgan -- a popular men's costume this year? Or the trash-talking teddy bear from the movie Ted? Or Stewie from Family Guy?
These are the pastimes that try managers' souls. But don't worry, management: The vast majority of employees have the common sense to know better than to tempt fate in this job market. Simply remind employees to keep it tasteful and low-key because we're running a business here and not a dive bar, only write it in appropriate HR-speak. This year, employees are more likely to show up dressed like a social media page or icon, anyway. Or a piece of bacon. Yawn. Wow, Dave! QR code has never looked so good on you!
As for cultural trends, President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney masks rank high on the "most popular" lists this year. No surprise there. Gangnam Style guy is also expected to be popular, as are singer Katy Perry and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. I'll leave the obligatory PSY parody to my grad school alma mater. Go Ducks! Take that, Washington Huskies!
Bottom line: Respect employers' rules, use common sense, don't be stupid, and have fun while continuing to be a productive professional. And save some of the good candy for your co-workers this time, okay?