Is Your Office Halloween Party Scaring the HR Department?

Is Your Office Party Scaring the HR Department

The upcoming holiday season always brings with it an assortment of potential HR headaches (think vacation schedules, alcohol at the holiday party, the list goes on…). But before we even get into November, Halloween presents its own set of pitfalls and concerns that can make HR professionals cringe.

So if you already have a Halloween party on the office calendar this year, here are a few HR-approved tips that you might want to consider.

Tip #1

Remind employees that even though it’s a Halloween party, they are still at a work function. Although the code of conduct may be more or less relaxed at your particular organization depending on your culture, they are still in the workplace.

Make sure to send out an office-wide email with dress code and conduct expectations or information in advance.

You can also reference your Employee Handbook to remind everyone they still have to abide by the organization’s policies.

Tip #2

Provide employees with specific guidelines about costumes in advance.

Again, this may depend a bit on your organizational culture, but whatever the restrictions are, make sure they fit with your policies on harassment, dress code, weapons, etc.

If employees will be wearing costumes throughout the workday, make sure they can perform their basic work functions and still be productive. While this is particularly important for manufacturers who need to be worried about safety of their line employees, you also can’t type on a keyboard very well if your costume includes giant clawed hands.

Tip #3

Take into consideration whether or not some employees may find certain Halloween decorations offensive. While you can’t predict if an employee is going to make a costume choice that is in poor taste (although you can do your best per Tip #1), you, the employer, can take steps to make sure that anything you are contributing to the celebration is well thought out. This is supposed to be fun (for everyone), not create a hostile work environment.

Tip #4

Think about the timing of the event in advance and check with others about their schedules. If your business is going to have clients coming in for meetings (and again, know your culture), you may want to ask employees to refrain from changing into their costumes until after the last guest has left the office for the day.

Timing may also impact whether or not alcohol is a factor, i.e., if it’s a luncheon during the workday, serving alcohol is out of the question.

However, you’ll want to decide if employees will need to change back into regular clothes following the lunch hour festivities and make sure that’s communicated in advance.

Tip #5

Consider a “Harvest” or “Fall” celebration instead. If you have significant concerns over a Halloween themed party and the complications that costumes and decorations bring with them, maybe a Halloween party simply isn’t right for your workplace. There are still plenty of fun team building events or parties you can put on to celebrate the season without even mentioning Halloween.

Halloween Activity Ideas

Pumpkin Carving

If your organization doesn’t have a big budget for Halloween, consider a simple pumpkin carving activity! This is also great for organizations in which time is an issue. Pumpkin carving can be an hour-long, end-of-day activity at 4:00pm.

Candy Corn Guessing Game

This is another great activity for the time-restrained yet festive organization. Have a jar filled with candy corn in a central location or at an HR employee’s desk and take guesses throughout the week on how many pieces of candy corn are in the jar. The winner takes home a $10 giftcard!

Trick or Treating

Adults like candy too! Encourage employees to bring in treats to share with one another. Employees can go office to office or cubicle to cubicle trick or treating! Not only does this result in a festive, fun activity but it promotes engagement and morale between employees.

Happy Halloween from all of us at ERC and good luck! 

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5 Successful Retirement Parties Ideas

5 Successful Retirement Parties Ideas

Over the course of the next 19 years, every day more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach the age of 65. America’s largest generation is not only aging, but in fact retiring.

Retirement is a big deal. It marks the start of a new chapter in someone’s life and the end of their career, or perhaps the start of a new career. So of course, with big life changes comes a celebration: a retirement party.

Retirement parties are a great way for an organization to show its appreciation to the retiree. They put a lot of hard work into your company over the years, so it’s nice to do more than just a cake and say ‘see you later.’ No matter what, a retirement party should reflect the retiree’s character, career, interests or hobbies. Here are some ideas to really make a retirement party stand out and memorable for the retiree.  

1. Starting off on the right foot

Guests should be welcomed by fun decorations and food. Colorful streamers and balloons are a great touch. Also, make sure to have a small speech ready at the beginning to welcome guests to the retirement party. Light should be thrown on the retiree’s many accomplishments, making the retiree feel special and accomplished for their many years of work. For more ideas of some fun activities, visit our Pinterest page.

Also, make sure to have a theme. Since a lot of retirees move south after retirement, it may be nice to have a beach theme, equipped with inflatable palm trees and Hawaiian leis.

Another fun touch is to have cookies made to look like the retiree. Parker’s Crazy Cookies specialize in look-a-like cookies that will surly make the retiree feel like the guest of honor.  

2. Invite their family members

This is a special time for the retiree, so having his or her family present will really make this moment stand out for them. Arrange to have the retiree’s spouse or children make a small speech. This puts a personal touch on the celebration. Make sure the speech stays light, and then change the topic to the retirees’ next chapter. Retirement is a new beginning as much as it is an ending.

3. Walk down memory lane

Trace the retiree’s career path from their first teenage job, all the way to now. It would be fun to see where they started, where they thought they were going to end up, and where they did actually end their career. To add to the excitement, put together a video or photo collage with the retiree’s pictures from birth, up to now. Highlight the years the retiree has worked for the company. You can also double the pictures as table decorations and add in meaningful quotes and funny messages.

4. Bucket List

After the retiree has had a chance to catch up on the missed sleep, T.V. shows, and golf games, they need a list of adventures to tackle- a bucket list. Have a bucket out with note cards for other employees to make suggestions for the retiree to do once they have no other obligations. This is a fun way to get people talking and getting creative. Also, it will give the retiree a good laugh when they get a chance to read some of the suggestions.

5. Gifts

Sure, a cake is great to have, but giving a cake as your last present to a coworker that has put many years into the business is not a very grand way of saying “Job well done.” Instead, look for something that maybe interests the employee, such as a new fishing pole with tackle supplies, a year-subscription to a book club, or maybe a weekend vacation to a local resort for them and their family.

Retirement parties are meant to be fun and memorable, especially for the retiree. The emotional side of the event should be kept to a minimum, because you don’t want to make the retiree sad or feel resentment for making the big decision to leave his/her career.

Like any party, a successful retirement party is the result of careful planning and attention to detail, but well worth the effort. The overall goal of the party is to make it a fun event for the guests and retiree. No matter what kind of celebration you choose to throw, big or small, it should honor the retiree and express appreciation for their years of hard work, as well as wishing the retiree a very successful and fun retirement.

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