nightmare on Dilbert’s street — workplace Halloween horror shows

Celebrating Halloween at work seems like it should be festive — a chance for people to let loose a little and bond over candy and costumes. And yet, people being people, Halloween at work can sometimes go terribly wrong. At Slate today, I shared some anecdotes from letters I’ve received here about Halloween gone awry — including racist costumes, offices that go overboard for Halloween (one office that for 10 days becomes “a haunted dungeon with spooky lighting, a disturbing soundtrack, gothic pictures and dust covers, and toys that use sensors to jump out at people and make loud noises”), and more.

You can read it here.

{ 396 comments… read them below }

  1. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

    Awww… c’mon I’m busy today! I’m going to miss all the fun stories :(

  2. Jack Be Nimble*

    Halloween was never a big deal for my family growing up, and I was really surprised at how intense it got at my workplace last year! (my new work environment is much more laidback!) I was told that I WOULD be dressing up, and if I did not, my manager would have a costume on hand for me (and it would be one that I wouldn’t like). A coworker wore a (really very lovely) gown with a corset laced so tightly that she wasn’t able to breathe.

    New job has a bake-off planned and free candy on the receptionist’s desk. Much more my speed!

    1. Database Developer Dude*

      Wait….”I was told I WOULD be dressing up, and if I did not, my manager would have a costume on hand for me (and it would be one that I wouldn’t like).”…. WTAF?!?!?!?!?!?!? What fresh hell is this? Dressing up for Halloween at work should be a choice, not a job requirement. That smacks of childish treatment.

    2. KimberlyR*

      Wearing a costume doesn’t make me a better worker and would be a hard pass from me. I would rather take a personal day than be FORCED to dress up. And I love Halloween! I just don’t want to be told that my job consists of wearing a costume for a day.

    3. SusanIvanova*

      There’s always the Wednesday Addams approach, though the exact quote tends to trip the comment filters: “I’m a [scary person]. We look just like everybody else.”

    4. Greg M.*

      I worked one year at Value Village, you either wore the halloween shirt, a costume or they would make you wear stuff to embarass you. so glad I only worked at that place one year.

    5. RobM*

      I find that explaining that I don’t celebrate halloween as its the anniversary of my mother’s death and I don’t feel like celebrating much on the anniversary of my mother’s death tends to shut down nonsense like this pretty quick, but the real halloween scare is definitely the employer trying to make people wear costumes against their will.

    6. Michaela Westen*

      I’ve never had the motivation for a good costume. One year I got a pair of big glasses and went as a Watcher from Buffy. No one was impressed.
      I would not dress up. I would take the day off, and probably look for another job. Congrats on getting out of there!

  3. Autumnheart*

    I’d still love to know how “sports jersey”, “Halloween” and “Richard Nixon” themes all combined to provide potluck decor.

      1. Arjay*

        My workplace has just announced that crockpots and sterno aren’t allowed to be used in the building!

    1. CatCat*

      I’m still trying to understand how “Richard Nixon” is even a theme for a potluck!

      The other two, I get. But the Nixon one is really throwing me off! I am soooo curious about what the advocate for that theme had to say.

      1. ToodieCat*

        Hold up your hands in two V for Victory signs, waggle your chin and say, “I am not a cook.”

    2. Classic Rando*

      I have so many questions about that one, but especially… wtf even is a Richard Nixon themed potluck?? And why??? How do you even decorate for that!?

    3. Antilles*

      I don’t think they “combined” the decor as much as it is everyone did their own thing so it had no real unified theme. This corner was decorated ‘sports jersey’ and had some footballs and team banners hanging on the walls; that corner was decorated in traditional Halloween with pumpkins and candy corn and cobwebs; and that corner had a full-size Richard Nixon, a photo of the Watergate Hotel, and etc.

    4. MattKnifeNinja*

      Wasn’t Nixon a huge football fan/played football?

      Jersey/Nixon mask/those nasty sausages in current jelly.

      I’d probably wear my black suit, fake glasses and go as Kissinger. Or you could go as the Washington Post. Half Watergate front page/half sports section.

  4. Rusty Shackelford*

    I love that the algorithm for the “you may also like” feature picked out “I ghosted my ex, and she’s about to be my new boss.”

    1. bonkerballs*

      It’s like when I once used Pandora to put on Halloween music somewhere. It played the usual spooky music you would expect, but also a lot of Rob Zombie, Vampire Weekend, and Harry Belafonte.

        1. annakarina1*

          I’m guessing because his music was used in Beetlejuice, and closely associated with the ghost scenes.

        2. Rat in the Sugar*

          He had a song called the Zombie Jamboree, so maybe it was spill-over. Not sure about Pandora, but that’s absolutely the kind of mix-up that I’ve seen the Spotify algorithm make.

  5. TooTiredToThink*

    I’m totally taking Wednesday off because of the theme this year. I can’t handle it. So I’m going to use the day to go recharge in nature and go leaf peeping :D

      1. TooTiredToThink*

        Haunted/Creepy House with ghost images and “blood splattered” signs; etc…. . I just really can’t handle ghosts and stuff like that. Plus they do plan to have some grotesque stuff as well which when my manager showed me pictures I immediately started gagging. I was like nope. I’d rather take the day off and not be subjected to it OR ruin the fun for everyone else by being on edge and/or grossed out. And to be fair its not likely going to be *that* bad to 99% of the population. I’m just overly sensitive in this regard.

    1. Peep*

      I’m sure the term ‘leaf peeping’ could be taken badly, but I think it sounds so adorable it makes me wish we had fall leaves here in Southern California. I love our weather but once in a while (a very long while) I’d like to not have to travel to find a season.

        1. Not Maeby but Surely*

          The only nefarious thing I came up with relates to fig leaves being used for privacy in old paintings and whatnot.

      1. TooTiredToThink*

        The first time I heard the term I was like – WHAT?! So yeah; if you don’t live in this part of the country it can be a bit of a head scratcher at first.

      1. Shark Whisperer*

        Leaf peeping has been a thing for a looooong time. It’s nothing new. Maybe it’s more common in New England than other parts of the country? As far as I am aware, leaf peeping as an activity has been around since at least the 50’s, although the term leaf peeper used to be a term of disdain. Now people are proud of their leaf peeping and there are tons of peak foliage maps published every fall and leaf peeping tours throughout New England.

            1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

              We do that every year in Colorado (famous golden aspen leaves) but I’ve never heard it called anything other than “drive into the mountains and look at trees”.

        1. The Other Katie*

          Leaf peeping is unique to New England and New York, as far as I can tell. The actual leaf show you get varies depending on native species and weather conditions, and that’s where it’s at its brightest.

  6. Ann O. Nymous*

    My all-time favorite AAM Halloween story is the one about the woman at a very corporate/buttoned-up law firm who dressed as a Disney princess and “trick-or-treated” in a client meeting and immediately got fired. Iconic.

      1. Akcipitrokulo*

        it’s at /2017/11/fired-for-wearing-a-halloween-costume-to-work-bug-drama-and-more(dot)html

    1. EditorInChief*

      When I read that story last year I felt vicarious embarrassment for that poor tone deaf woman.

      I’m pretty fun loving and part of the punk scene in my city so people assume I love Halloween. But I absolutely hate it. I especially don’t like it in the workplace. The setting up of decorations is annoying and a time waster. I don’t want to have to sit in someone’s cube amongst spider webs and a bunch of halloween junk to discuss teacup design strategy with someone dressed as a sexy nurse. Halloween costumes on children are delightful but I don’t understand the frenzy that’s gotten worse over the last decade with adults and halloween.

      1. De Minimis*

        I like an office that allows for low-key celebration that is okay to opt-out of. My current workplace has a costume contest [with guidelines on what’s allowed] but there’s no pressure to participate. My wife’s former workplace had an ultra-competitive departmental contest every Halloween, and it was a case where the manager was the one forcing all the employees to participate [sometimes at considerable expense.] Finally one year the employees got a lower level manager to advocate for them to no longer participate in the contest.

        My current workplace is federal and has fairly tight security [ID badges required, armed guards, etc,] but they still have things like costume contests and a “spooky” themed lunch. My previous funky Bay Area nonprofit employer didn’t do a whole lot for Halloween, some people would dress up and there would be occasional treats, but that was it.

        I don’t know if I would like an office that was so uptight to where it wasn’t allowed if people wanted to do it, but certain industries are that way.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I don’t think it’s necessarily appropriate at work, but I love adult Halloween. Give me monsters and blood and gore and ghosties and ghouls (off the clock). Kid Halloween is far too wholesome for my horror fiction, scary movie-loving self. It’s a chance to do the kind of creative and actually scary cosplay you wouldn’t have been allowed to do as kids.

        There’s a reason why the old Roseanne Halloween episodes were some of the most popular. Not to mention long-ass lines at commercial haunted houses.

      3. Allison*

        I really like Halloween! I put decorations up in my cube (because I had time, if I were swamped this month I wouldn’t have bothered), I’m watching as many scary movies as possible this month, I listen to spooky music, the only thing I’m not doing this year is wearing a costume to work – I’m sure it would be fine given our fairly casual office, I just couldn’t come up with anything this year, but in general I think costumes can be fun!

        But that’s just it, I get that Halloween isn’t for everyone, and the second you make fellow adults feel like they have to participate in spooky shenanigans in order to “go with the flow” or “be a team player,” you make Halloween distinctly unfun, and very annoying for people who aren’t super into it.

      4. LJay*

        I feel like a curmudgeon because I don’t get it either. I feel like it goes along with the nostalgia obsession/desire to extend or revert to childhood that a lot of my peers express that I just don’t get. Maybe because I didn’t have a great childhood and spent most of it wishing I could be an adult so I could extricate myself from the situation I was in.

        I have better things and more necessary things to spend my money on than a Halloween costume I will wear once, and decorations that either have to be stored for 11 months or thrown out after being used once. I don’t like parties (both drinking related and forced work-fun related).

        I do like sort of gothy things so I have Halloween themed nails on right now (matte black, red glittery, and ones with teeth on them) that I got from Walmart for $5,. and I brought my venus flytraps to work. I’m hoping that that is enough to keep people from bothering me about it.

        I also am sort of getting annoyed at the memes that are like, “Normies: OMG Summer is over, my life has ended, I hate everything. Me: Yasss Halloween”. Like, liking Halloween isn’t a unique thing anymore. And nobody over school age has ever complained that their life is over because summer has ended to begin with.

        1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

          Was it ever unique? I mean, I’m in my 40s and have been to several adult Halloween parties throughout my life.

    2. Allison*

      Yeah, I was hoping to see that in the article. Guess there’ve been so many horror stories here it just didn’t make the cut, but that was definitely an interesting conversation.

    3. Putting the "pro" in "procrastinate"*

      I was thinking of the one where someone in the office dressed up as someone else in the office … does anyone else remember the one I’m talking about?

      1. Pomona Sprout*

        I remember that! I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. So indredibly spiteful and mean-spirited.

  7. Boredatwork*

    I have never had a job that celebrated Halloween and every year it makes me so, so very sad. I want to come to work in “fun” makeup :/

  8. I'm in the Wrong Story*

    My father is a physician. He also loves Halloween and owns a full-body Tigger costume. (That last is my fault – I worked for Disney and bought it for him.)

    One year, Halloween fell on a day he was seeing patients. He texted me a photo of himself as Dr. Tigger (white coat and all). I printed it out and hung it on my office door. I had the following conversation multiple times that day.

    Coworker: That’s so cute! Is your dad a pediatrician?
    Me: No, he’s a gynecologist.
    Coworker: …

    1. CatCat*


      Proof that exactly the same thing is just delightful in one context and awful in another!

    2. Turquoisecow*

      Legit LOL at this. Not sure how I’d feel about my gynecologist dressed as Tigger. I mean, I like Tigger, but….

    3. chocoholic*

      My brother-in-law is a doctor and he has a Tigger costume too! Not sure if he wears it to work, but he might, at least sometimes. I do remember my daughter getting hurt on Halloween when she was about 2, and taking her in to get checked out by Piglet. :-)

    4. The Original K.*

      I’m writing this from the hereafter, because I AM DEAD. (Also, I would not enjoy this, as a patient.)

    5. Amber T*

      Hahahahah 100% admit that after reading your first paragraph, I thought, “that’s ok, he has to be a pediatrician, and that would be kind of amazing for kids!” I really don’t know how I’d feel if my gyno dressed up in a full Tigger (or any) costume, but reading about it is hysterical.

    6. Murphy*

      Ha, I love this!

      Though I feel like it can be dangerous for a doctor to dress up…like I wouldn’t mind it for a routine appointment, but if anything went wrong, I don’t think I’d want to have a serious medical conversation with Tigger.

    7. Elemeno P.*

      You’re here to see Dr. Tigger!
      He can do wonderful things.
      He’ll fill out your prescriptions
      And check your IUD strings!
      He’ll do your pap, and in a snap, it’s done done done done done!
      The most wonderful thing about Dr. Tigger is he’s second to none.
      He’s second to none!

      1. I'm in the Wrong Story*

        This is amazing. And brilliant.

        If I were to have this engraved on a plaque, how would you like to be credited? (Seriously – this may need to be my dad’s Christmas present.)

    8. Holly*

      Actual LOL!!

      My significant other is a pediatrician and he will often do “Web MD” aka Spiderman/Doctor.

    9. Lana Kane*

      This is amazing.

      I think that having my annual exam done by Tigger would make me laugh so hard I wouldn’t have time to be uncomfortable!

    10. LGC*

      *looks at your username*

      …oh, I believe you’re in the RIGHT story.

      Also, I’m pretty sure that there are quite a few people that would pay VERY GOOD MONEY to have Dr. Tigger as their gynecologist. Don’t ask me how I would know (please).

    11. seller of teapots*

      I am laughing SO HARD at this. Hahahaha.

      It’s more absurd because I’m pregnant right now, so I am imagining this at my next check up and…I just can’t. Hahahahaa.

      Your father is a delight. I mean, I’d be terrified of him as my doctor, but as an anecdote on the internet? De-light!

  9. Detective Amy Santiago*

    So, will Thursday’s Ask the Readers post be to share egregious Halloween stories from this year?

  10. Laurelma_01!*

    When I was in banking one year we were allowed to wear blue jeans and flannel shirts. Loved it. Another we were an all female staff and the agreement was that we dressed as men. Jacket & tie, mustaches. I used mascara on the peach fuzz above my lip. Really threw some people off. One of the women came in as a biker chick, tattoos, sleeveless corset, tight jeans. She was a busty girl. They should have sent her home to change. No more dress up for halloween after that one.

    There was a purpose behind the sexy outfit. We were one of those branches inside a grocery store and she was chasing the seafood manager. She got him, they’be been married about 15 years.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      My mom used to work in the cashier’s cage at a casino. One year, they all dressed up like animals, which I thought was cute.

        1. Close Bracket*

          If you are getting your birth control prescriptions from casino cashiers, you have bigger problems than how they are dressed.

    2. UnderOrange*

      When I worked for a bank, one of the bankers decided we should all dress as bank robbers and when everyone was like ‘what, no, that’s a horrible idea!’ she made such a fuss that nobody got to dress up that year.

      (for anyone unaware, even just joking about robbing a bank is taken very seriously, so why she thought that would fly is beyond me)

      1. bonkerballs*

        My mom used to work at a blood donation center and every year around Halloween management would send out reminders that they was to be absolutely NO vampire paraphernalia anywhere on site.

        Truthfully, I think both the vampires and the bank robbers (especially if it was clearly a joke like with giant bags with dollar signs on them and stuff) are funny, but I get why the respective organizations say no.

        1. DecorativeCacti*

          I work at a blood bank and we have at least one vampire every year. Usually several. Our ceo loves Halloween so dressing up is encouraged.

        2. Iris Eyes*

          The Community Blood Center was rather persistent about scheduling my parent’s for their next appointment so whenever we saw them on the caller ID “the blood suckers are calling” would echo through the house.

          1. PlainJane*

            I have O- blood, so I’m in demand as a donor. Many times my husband would answer the phone and inform me that the vampires were on the line. I’d pick up the phone to hear a Red Cross employee laughing hysterically.

        3. Red 5*

          Meanwhile when I donated blood at Dragon*Con they were all dressed up in outfits from True Blood…

    3. gsa*

      Back then funny, today you get in trouble for making fun of someone who is transitioning…

      On the other hand, on of the talking heads on TV still thinks “black face” is ok…

      1. bonkerballs*

        I don’t know, drag culture is alive and well and not usually thought of as making fun of people who are transitioning.

      2. Marvel*

        As a trans person, this comment confuses me? Cis people are allowed to play with gender presentation too! There’s a different between that and actually dressing up as a trans person, a la that terrible Caitlyn Jenner costume.

        1. many bells down*

          I’m glad you said this, because last year I dressed my husband up as “Larry Croft” aka the male version of video game heroine Lara Croft. Afterward, I wondered if it would have come across as making fun of his several trans co-workers.

          He wasn’t in drag, FWIW, he was dressed as a male version of the character.

        2. Anonny*

          I’m trans too and I’d have no problem with someone dressing up as a different gender as long as it was done respectfully (so, no actual dressing up as a trans person, or having ‘lol it’s a man in a dress’ as the ‘punchline’ of the costume.)

    4. whingedrinking*

      One year a coworker of mine (short lady with a high and loud voice) dressed as another coworker (taciturn, bearded hipster type of guy)*. It worked remarkably well, to the point that I did a double take – the only thing that gave it away, as long as she kept her mouth shut, was the height. I believe my exact words were, “That’s downright uncanny.”

      *And no, this wasn’t a “basic girl costume” scenario like last year. The two of them are great friends and he thought it was hilarious.

  11. Ddayfastapproaching*

    My son in law was a new college grad when Halloween came around. He was the only one who declined to dress up for it and his office mates ribbed him for weeks. The next year he dressed as Fred Flintstone: furry tunic, furry shoes, necktie, the whole getup. Unbeknownst to him, the previous day the office got word that the national VP would be visiting on Halloween, but son-in-law was out of the office on a site visit and didn’t get the memo. VP requested a one-on-one with the son-in-law to tell him what a fab job he was doing …VP could not keep a straight face and eventually ended up holding a paper in front of his face and talking thru it.

    1. Amelia*

      Everything about this story is hilarious, not least the VP having to hold up a piece of paper in front of his face!

    2. Elemeno P.*

      After a very trying project last year, my team received a thank-you lunch from an executive. It ended up falling on Halloween, and we were all in costumes. He stopped in the middle of his long thank-you speech to say, “Wow, you guys really didn’t want to make this easy for me.”

    3. Cardamom*

      ALWAYS bring a set of normal clothes for back-up on costume day!

      There are so many things that could go wrong.

  12. Asenath*

    I don’t really have much interest in costumes or Halloween, and my workplace has what I think is a good approach – you more or less do what you like. So if you want to cover your space with pictures of pumpkins and ghosts or wear cat’s ears or even some more elaborate costume, go for it, but there’s no pressure on anyone else to do the same.

    I have no objection whatsoever to the people who put little bowls of Halloween candy on their desks for anyone to take.

    1. Hope*

      This is a good approach, and is pretty much how my office works. I love Halloween, and I love that I work in a place where I can dress up in a reasonable costume, etc., but I would hate it if my coworkers felt obligated to do anything they weren’t comfortable doing.

    2. Akcipitrokulo*

      We have a fancy dress contest with a box of chocs as a prize – usually about 10-20 people out of about 50+ dress up, and it’s purely “if you want to”. There are also usually treats for everyone and sometimes a quiz or some fun – so you have a choice from “ignore completely” to “go for it!!!!”

      (This year I’m going to be doing some liquid latex gory make-up :) )

      1. Mimi Me*

        I don’t like dressing up but I love making costumes and looking at costumes others have put together. At my last company we were allowed to wear costumes if we wanted (nothing sexy, nothing too scary, and nothing that restricted your movements and keep you from working while wearing it) and anyone who wore a costume got to walk in a little parade around the office so that all of us who didn’t wear a costume could see and then vote on “best costume”, “most creative” and “craftiest costume”. And then we all had cake or snacks while the results were read later in the day. Same company also had a pumpkin carving contest every year. You’d bring in an already hollowed out pumpkin and then get 20 minutes to carve your pumpkin before voting started. That was also fun to vote on!

      2. Not All*

        Please, please seriously re-consider the gory make-up. I know of at least 2 coworkers in my current office who would have a really hard time with that…and they are the same people who would never in a million years bring up how much of a problem that is for them (I only know because we are personal friends and I know the background).

    3. President Porpoise*

      Typically, the bowls of halloween candy on the desk is a Nov 1 tradition at my place of business.

    4. Teapot Tester*

      This is my office as well, though we do host a trick or treat in the afternoon for people to bring their kids in. It’s totally voluntary. This is the first year I don’t have to attend a kid Halloween party at school since they don’t do that in middle school, so I’ll actually be here for it. And of course I forgot to buy candy.

    1. PSB*

      The writers of The Big Bang Theory must read AAM because that was the main plot of last week’s episode.

      1. TooTiredToThink*

        I had such a hard time with that episode. I could appreciate the actor’s ability, but I couldn’t find it funny.

  13. Dust Bunny*

    I work in an academic library in an institution that serves a lot of international students, many of whom are not familiar with Hallowe’en. The ones that have been here for a year or two respond like anyone else, but you can always tell new ones because they either stare at you like you’re crazy or want to take a bunch of pictures to send home.

    1. PlainJane*

      This reminded me of one of my favorite Halloween memories. We used to go all out at home, and one year we decorated our yard like something out of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (or maybe Motel Hell). We had body parts in the yard, even a fake leg “roasting” in a firepit. My dogs started making noise, and when I looked out the window, there were a bunch of international students from the college just up the road taking pictures of themselves with our props. It was one of the proudest moments of my life :-)

    2. Offred*

      I also work at an academic library and last year, I came to work as a handmaiden from A Handmaids Tale. One class was studying it and I got to pose with several students for photos when they came to the library for a study group.

      1. Offred*

        The costume is easily done. Just go to ebay and get a red graduation gown and white poster board to cutout a pilgrim hat (found instructions on the net, you will need string and a bit of tape). I did have a hard time hearing people though with the cap so I won’t be doing it again.

  14. Rebecca*

    Halloween 2010. We had “auditors” at our company, and of course, people dressed up on Halloween, we had a costume party out in the warehouse, all of it. It was a lot of fun. And then it got weird – in our department, our clerical dressed up exactly like our manager, right down to the wig hairstyle, glasses, everything. They looked identical, and she mimicked her demeanor. It was awkward, to say the least. (manager was not well liked or respected) I think she won the prize for best costume. BUT turns out, the “auditors” weren’t auditors at all, but people from the company who was purchasing us. We found out a few weeks later. What an impression we must have made.

  15. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

    One year, people were disappointed that I didn’t come to work dressed up. I grabbed one of the large bio-hazardous waste bags and cut arm and leg holes in it and wore that all day. My coworkers were not impressed. Hey, I tried to make them happy!

    Then I later went to a not work party and gussied the bag up so I was “sexy bio-hazardous waste.”

    1. Rosemary*

      Unrelated to work, but last year my BF and his roommates Halloween theme for the house was biohazard, as in, they strung up a bunch of that Warning: Biohazard tape and put plastic over the windows, etc.

      Apparently they kind of freaked out the neighbors.

  16. Pinky Pie*

    I’ll share this again on Thursday, but my former workplace was a mess. We picked a ren fest theme once and once of my female coworkers showed up as a horse. My male boss decided to be a knight and ride the horse- in front of the department. He ‘got spoken to’.

    Yet, somehow, when the majority of the women working with him decided to complain about the atmosphere where he’d show an interest in any woman under 20, we were ignored.

  17. Gumby*

    At one former company team costumes were common. The “character from your favorite children’s book” netted some great costumes (Waldo hid all over the office). “The fish tank” resulted in a couple of really innovative balloon-based costumes. But “[name removed to protect the innocent]’s digestive system” was a little uncomfortable because while the idea was hilarious in a nerdy way, the team involved was just *too* good at making their own costumes and no one needs to see a realistic 5 foot tall large intestine…

  18. going anon for this*

    This isn’t work related, so remove if you want, but the racist costumes always make me so, so ashamed that when I was in seventh grade, I dressed up as a geisha. It was the year Mulan came out and my twelve year old self loved the movie, and dressed up as she looked in the beginning complete with the white face makeup. There were a lot of kimonos in the costumes shops that year because of the movie.

    I’m not defending my choice at twelve, but I didn’t have any adults tell me it was wrong when I chose that costume (I wore it to a school Halloween event, too) and we were in a small, predominantly white town where a lot of social issues just weren’t addressed.

    I don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling ashamed over it, and it’s something I would never do again, but every Halloween I always think back on it and cringe. I still worry that there are pictures out there that someone has and that it’ll come back to haunt me all these years later. I wish someone had told twelve year old me that it was racist and inappropriate, or that I had been aware enough to know better. It’s one of my biggest regrets.

    1. Amelia*

      I really, really don’t think you should judge yourself so harshly. You were a child, it was up to the adults around you to tell you it was inappropriate (how else do kids learn things?) and you know now that it’s not okay. I totally get looking back in regret and cringing at stuff we did as kids, but this seems an extreme level of shame!

    2. Temperance*

      Don’t bully yourself over it! You honestly didn’t know, and likely, the adults in your life didn’t, either. I think it’s generally fine to wear the costume of a character of a different race than you, so long as you aren’t doing blackface (etc.). You know better now.

      I went as Uhura a few years ago (obviously no blackface). I’d do it again.

      1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

        At the school I teach at, our guidelines are that it’s okay to be a *specific character* who is from a different race/culture, but not to be a generic person of a race/culture. So Mulan or Barack Obama are okay costumes, but “a Chinese girl” and “a black guy” are not. Also, the costume should focus on things about the character other than their race – so to dress as Obama you *don’t* do blackface, but you could wear a suit and build a little podium with the presidential seal that hangs from your shoulders and talk to everyone about healthcare.

    3. Amelia*

      And I say this as a person of colour, for what that’s worth. I definitely am offended by racist/appropriative costumes and look askance at adults who wear them, but not at children (instead, I’m looking at their parents or guardians), and certainly not a child from 20 years ago.

      1. Pinky Pie*

        This weekend, my daughter went to a trunk or treat and struck up a friendship with a young lady who was dressed as Native American Sq__w, complete with war paint. I tried nicely to ask mom what tribe was she from and mom shrugged. She said it was at Goodwill. I somehow lost the mom’s number.

    4. also going anon for this*

      I right there with you! I am ashamed that I dressed as a geisha my freshman year in college, and I really hope there are no photos. This was in the early ’80s, and I didn’t have a clue yet.

    5. kittymommy*

      Yeah, I have a picture of me when I was 2 or 3 dressed up in Native American outfit (though it was 1977 and it was called indian). I always feel awkward when I see it.

      1. Mimi Me*

        I have an photo of me, aged 3, dressed as a Gypsy standing beside my sister, aged 2, dressed as an American Indian. The year was also 1977. My mom was a big fan of homemade culturally insensitive costumes. She still is. :(

      2. Spreadsheets and Books*

        My best friend and I were matching “Indians” in the early 1990s. I cringe every time I see the photo.

        1. LJay*

          They had us make paper “indian headbands” (brown with a couple paper feathers on it) in school in the 90s for Thanksgiving. It was a different time.

        2. pony tailed wonder*

          I was cast as an Indian in my third grade play about Thanksgiving in 1976. I only cringe at my terrible performance. I only had to sit down “Indian style” and smile. I managed to sit down and show the whole school my underpants as I sat cross legged in front of them in my Indian dress.

      3. DecorativeCacti*

        I went as Sacagawea when I was in elementary school one year. Maybe third grade? Second?

        I was very specifically Sacagawea and not just a Native American. Now I’m not sure how to feel about the costume.

        1. Blue Anne*

          Elizabeth the Ginger has some really good rules on this above. I think being Sacagawea for Halloween is pretty cool. Important historical person of color, done in a respectful way? Neat. Dressing as a race? Not good.

    6. many bells down*

      My daughter’s choice for “dress as a book character day” in middle school was … Sayuri from “Memoirs of a Geisha.” We had a yukata we’d found in a thrift store and I let her wear that. I drew the line at the makeup, though.

    7. Washi*

      I’ll always remember how one of my grandma’s former students came to her funeral and told us what she intended to be a funny and heartwarming story about how my grandma came to school one Halloween dressed up as a Chinese woman, complete with painting her face so completely that no one recognized her.

      Still cringing.

    8. President Porpoise*

      Japan encourages other cultures to research and dress in their traditional apparel (it helps the kimono industry, apparently), so of your options for cultural appropriations, that’s one of the better ones. I think they’re up for other stuff too, as long as you’re not being rude about it. There’s some Japanese gov’t office that tries to push Japanese culture at other places – can’t find the website though.

      1. Cookie Monster*

        Yeah, one of my best friends in college was Japanese and he brought me a kimono and shoes etc. on one of his trips home. I haven’t ever actually worn it except to try it on, but assume if it was considered totally horrible to do so, he probably wouldn’t have brought it to me (a blond haired American)

      2. Ursula*

        Japanese people are generally quite happy to have foreigners wear their traditional outfits. I studied abroad there, and the university brought in formal kimono rentals and fitters for all of the foreign students in the program to wear at the ‘graduation’ ceremony for the program. The stores there are happy to sell kimono and yukata for foreigners to wear, especially to events Japanese people would normally wear them to, like festivals. My host family bought me accessories to wear with my kimono.

        They encourage it to a degree that I wouldn’t even consider it cultural appropriation. And even dressing as a geisha, specifically… well, that’s a job, not something directly racially related. As long as you don’t dress as a sexy geisha (because the idea that all geisha were flamboyent prostitutes is in fact a racist stereotype) I don’t really see a problem with that either. I think even the makeup would be fine as long as you don’t try add makeup to imitate eye shape, as you’re not trying to change your skin tone, you’re wearing the exact same makeup a person working as a geisha would. It’s not intended to match anyone’s skin color.

        I bought a yukata while I was there as well, and I don’t often wear it, primarily because Americans would think it’s cultural appropriation, even though Japanese people wouldn’t. I do live in a place with Japanese festivals, though, so if I ever go to one of those I’ll definitely wear it.

        1. Saki*

          Do not go as a Geisha. It is disrespectful and different than simply wearing a kimono.

          I have a cousin who was a geisha. They consider outsiders – even ethnic Japanese women – dressing like them deeply offensive.

          Even if most Japanese would not care, the Geisha do.

          1. Pomona Sprout*

            That’s very interesting to know, thanks.

            I swear, I learn SO many things at AAM, many of which have nothing to do with work (at least not directly). Just one of the many reasons why I love this site!

      3. Amber Rose*

        I ended up at a local Obon held by the Japanese Cultural Association once and despite my best efforts to politely decline, ended up dressed up and doing a traditional dance with everyone else. And that’s not even going into when I actually went to Japan.

        I think it’s not ideal to wear that stuff as a “costume” but honestly, I don’t think they really care. And on a personal level, I think there’s a difference between appropriation and participation.

      4. Cultural Caution*

        I’d be careful about the “native [X] are okay with it, so it’s not actually appropriation!” line of thought– a lot of what makes cultural appropriation bad is the impact it has on immigrants FROM that cultural INTO a culture where they’re a minority; i.e., Japanese-Americans and not native Japanese people. Of course native Japanese people might be more okay with people exploring/sharing in their culture– they’re the seat of majority in their own culture, they have ready access to/control of their own culture and cultural expression, and people overseas dabbling in their culture isn’t an act of a power imbalance.

        That isn’t true for Japanese-Americans (or immigrants/children of immigrants of any ethnicity in any country where they aren’t the majority), who don’t always have ready access to their own culture and are at the risk of being told, you know, “Go back to China” or whatever if they DO engage in their own culture. Basically, it’s important to remember to listen to the people that actually have to deal with racist white people in their everyday lives and suffer the consequences of their culture being appropriated, not JUST listen to the people overseas who think it’s kind of funny/charming that people are interested in their culture because they have no reason to see it as a threat to their own cultural access.

        Of course, I don’t think OP has anything to be ashamed of– she was a child! But I do feel the need to speak up about this train of thought because I’ve seen this same thing play out a LOT– Japanese-Americans will talk about how gross Gwen Stefani is, but non-Japanese people will be like “but actual Japanese people thought her music video was funny so it’s not racist!!!”, totally ignoring the cultural power differential between a Japanese person living in the US and a Japanese person living in Japan. Same thing with other issues– I have Mexican-in-Mexico friends who think things like Speedy Gonzales and photoshopping sombreros and maracas onto gifs is hilarious, and Mexican-American friends who find that horribly offensive. Personally, I’m gonna err on the side of listening to the folks who are actually impacted by the possible appropriation because they… you know, live alongside the actual appropriators, and I’d rather be overcautious than hurt someone.

        1. Peep*

          It’s the difference between wearing a yukata and participating in dancing at an Obon festival (looks good! I saw a good number of non-JA folks welcomed into the dance circle, dressed up and not)… and then being the two blond, white girls in cringeworthy red flowered silk kimono robes (so short they had to be from a lingerie shop) and carrying parasols and posing for pictures in Little Tokyo during a Halloween street festival. Runner up for worst was the guy during Obon who felt the need to cosplay as a Japanese imperial soldier and wave a katana around during the street dancing, then fake commit suicide at the end. It was so out of touch and just kinda gross.

        2. Jasnah*

          This is very true. At the same time I get where some of the confusion comes from because Japanese people in Japan are, like, pretty aggressive about pushing Japanese culture on the world, it’s a kind of soft-power and validation of Japanese culture. But Japanese-Americans are understandably pretty protective of it. Nothing makes a Kyoto tourist office happier than white tourists trying on kimono, but that got shut down super fast at a museum in the States. So the question becomes, who are the arbiters of preserving and spreading Japanese culture, Japanese people with majority-status in Japan or Japanese heritage people with minority-status abroad?

          1. Cultural Caution*

            I mean, to me it comes down, again, to harm. It’s great that people in Japanese want to spread their culture, but they aren’t actually BEING HARMED if people choose not to, vs cultural appropriation actually harming minority-status Japanese people in other countries. Plus, I feel like it’s an easy balance to strike up– if you visit Japan, buy a kimono or yukata, go to festivals in traditional clothes, fully take part in the culture with people have invited you to do so! But when you’re back in your own country, use caution. Break out your traditional clothes if you have to opportunity to go to a local festival where non-Japanese people are encouraged to participate. Wear it as a festival cosplay for a specific character. But don’t take someone else’s traditions, that they themselves may not be “allowed” to participate in, and make them part of your own daily routine (or, obviously, wear them as a costume as just “a Japanese person.”)

    9. Anonymosity*

      I’ve got a worse one I did in high school, but I’m afraid to tell you because someone might remember it and I’m kind of hoping nobody remembers it. Let’s just say I was trying to make a political statement but I can’t believe my parents let me go out of the house like that.

    10. Holly*

      I really wouldn’t kick yourself over this – especially considering you were 12 – and it was before this issue became more known/common in discourse. Also, there’s a line between “specific character” (Mulan) and “mockery/caricature of a person of X background” that I’m sure was obvious at the time.

    11. Mrs. B*

      I feel you. When I was in college I dressed up as Yoko Ono, complete with yellowface and even taped up my eyes. I should have known better even then, and continue to be mortified by this memory every year around Halloween. I also worry a picture could pop up, but the best I can do if it does is admit I was stupid, it was wrong, and racist and I am ashamed about it.

    12. stitchinthyme*

      Two of my costumes as a kid were “gypsy” and “bum” (stuffed beer belly, men’s pants and shirt, greasepaint beard stubble, etc). This was in the ’70s, and certainly no one in my blue-collar family knew or cared about Halloween-costume racism or insensitivity to homeless people. I do cringe a little to think of it now, but I don’t feel guilty — I didn’t know any better back then. We can’t change the past or what we did as kids; all we can do is try to do better when we do learn.

    13. kristinyc*

      From my understanding, after reading many articles/comments on them, and attending a panel about Diversity in Cosplay at ComicCon a few years ago, the guidelines to follow are:

      1. It’s okay to dress as a specific character of another race (Are you white but want to be Moana or Mulan? Awesome! They’re both great characters.)
      2. It’s not okay to dress as another race (because it’ll likely just be a bunch of stereotypes)
      3. If you are dressing as a character of another race, it’s not okay to paint your skin to look like that character. Only exceptions are characters that aren’t human/don’t have a skin color that appears naturally (Green for Elphaba/Wicked Witch? Cool. Blue for the Avatar characters? Good luck washing that off. Getting a tan to be Pocahontas or Moana? No.)

    14. CupcakeCounter*

      I had to tell my blond, blue-eyed son he was not allowed to go as Black Panther this year. I’m not sure he really gets why and I’m having a hard time not just saying “cuz you are a pasty faced white boy that’s why”.

      1. $!$!*

        As long as he doesn’t paint his skin or use an accent I don’t see anything wrong with your son being Black Panther the action hero

      2. ggg*

        My little blond kindergartener is furious that she can’t turn her skin brown to dress as her favorite princess, Tiana. I would totally let her wear the green dress and crown but she complained that it would not be realistic enough.

        1. Iconic Bloomingdale*

          There is nothing wrong with cosplaying as a specific character from another race. Just avoid blackface, yellowface, whiteface, etc.

          I have cosplayed as superheroes, characters and villains of races different than my own. I do not paint my face. My outfit, accessories and props are more than enough to get the point across of who I am supposed to be.

    15. mcr-red*

      Don’t feel bad, had I been a kid when the movie came out, I would have dressed up as Mulan because I LOVE that movie. It’s probably my favorite Disney movie. I’m an adult woman whose teenage kids still will point her out and say, “Ooh there’s something Mulan-themed, you want it?” Barbie dolls, stuffed animals, etc.

      It’s kinda sad that I can’t cosplay my favorite character because she’s a different race.

    16. Close Bracket*

      > I dressed up as a geisha. It was the year Mulan came out and my twelve year old self loved the movie, and dressed up as she looked in the beginning complete with the white face makeup. There were a lot of kimonos in the costumes shops that year because of the movie.

      Twenty-seven replies, and I am the first to note that Mulan did not wear a kimono. I don’t know the proper term for the clothing she would have worn, but a kimono is a Japanese garment. It’s derived from Chinese garments, but the Japanese derivative is the kimono, not the Chinese original.

      When Mulan was dressed in her (possibly historically accurate, but I wouldn’t count on it) feminine Chinese traditional garments, she was most definitely not dressed as a geisha, as that job description is entirely Japanese.

      You’ve clearly learned from your 12 year old experience. A nuanced understanding of the problems with your costume choice should include the conflation of Chinese and Japanese cultures.

      1. Saki*

        Also, if you are female and wear a kimono, don’t wrap it right over left. That’s for corpses and deeply offensive.

        Wrap left over right, like men dress.

    17. Fish Microwaver*

      Please stop beating yourself up over this. You didn’t know any different at the time and your excessive level of shame is poisoning your adult life. Please find your 12 year old self, forgive them and move on. Sending you peace and healing.

    18. JSPA*

      It’s problematic to be “a person of some other nation or culture” for dress up. But trade and cross-polination of styles, techniques and ideas has been going on since before recorded history. (That’s why decorations and beads are found in archeological sites thousands of miles from where they were produced–and also why “influenced by” is a common descriptor in archeological museum display tags.)

      Historically, white makeup of the Japanese geisha was borrowed by Japan from China, where the goal was to look porcelaineous… hard to disentangle the layers of appropriation. Similarly, the now-instantly-recognizable-as Ghana patterned, dyed cloth is an amalgam, combining the patterns of Kente cloth, the colors of european dyes, and the “Dutch process” for dying.

      A geisha is a lifestyle and job descriptor, not a racial category. There are non-Japanese Sumo wrestlers. There were and now again are a few non-Japanese geisha.

      Sure, you may have also adopted some groan-worthy pseudo Japanese speech patterns…but in and of itself, it’s not intrinsically racist to dress as a job description (Geisha) that’s not found in your own country. Especially as you did WHITE face–the professional makeup of the job–not YELLOW face (the “being another race as a costume.”)

      That doesn’t mean you might not have made some asian kid embarrassed as heck (for you…or for the sense of how very limited the US view of Japanese culture was) if there had been an asian kid there, to see it.

      That’s part of the reason that Black, yellow and brown face are several layers of extra; they’re so often super-stereotypical (on top of the more general problem that they happen in the context of a history of intentionally mocking stereotypical “-face” costumes, and of white people in “-face” stealing the art and routines of minority performers who were not allowed on stage, on radio or on TV).

      Otherwise, it would be hard to explain why people don’t get anywhere near as bent out of shape about “-face” if a white person who’s playing Obama wears a rubber Obama mask and commercial outfit, or a black person playing Trump or Clinton wears a rubber Trump or Clinton mask and commercial outfit.

      But cultural stereotyping is sort of cringe-worthy even when skin tone isn’t involved. (Think of all the non-Irish “drunk Irish” on St. Patty’s, or the Oktoberfest beer girls falling out of their dirndls.)

      Fantasy’s safer.

    19. Sparkly Lady*

      You didn’t dress up as a geisha. You dressed up as a specific Mulan outfit. Mulan was neither a geisha nor dressed up as a geisha. White fake makeup is white face makeup… it’s not yellowface. It’s just a style of doing makeup. I think a lot of the confusion about this comes from too many people not knowing what geisha actually are and what various styles of East Asian makeup.

      (Mulan also didn’t wear a kimono. She wore a hanfu–which is a historic style of Chinese dress)

  19. El Esteban*

    Am I the only one who kind of wants to hold a Richard Nixon themed potluck now, if only for the sheer absurdity of the idea?

    1. Aphrodite*

      Maybe you can offer this post again next Saturday and ask people what’d they bring. I’d love to see the ideas people come up with.

    2. De Minimis*

      I’m a fan of the Dick Nixon Twitter. This writer pretends to be Nixon, and reacts to current events [including sports.] He really has the style down.

      1. Artemesia*

        I was an adult during the Nixon presidency (heck my earliest political memory is checker’s speech which I remember vividly more for my parents’ reaction to it — so sympathetic to that nice man and mad at the horrible people criticizing him –) and yet I have not a single clue about what a RN themed potluck would be. He was not known for any particular food as far as I remember.

    3. Jean (just Jean)*

      Cottage cheese with ketchup! Supposedly RMN had itdaily for lunch. I tried it once (around the time of Watergate). First bite was okay. Subsequent bites: inedible.

  20. Amber Rose*

    My husband is forced to dress up every year. He works at a hospital though, so they have pretty strict rules about not dressing up as ghosts, angels, devils, etc. Last year he was an accounting ninja, and this year I guess they’re doing a department group costume as jellybeans. Personally I’d love to dress up but my current company doesn’t really get into Halloween. :(

    I remember once I had band practice Halloween night, and one of the section leads dressed as a grim reaper, stood on the viewing platform on the second floor and rained candy on our heads. It was fun, but it turns out chocolate bars kinda hurt when they hit you in the face. Not recommended.

    1. Cookie Monster*

      An accounting Ninja is great. I work in banking and one memorable year, our finance department all dressed as bikers and they hung a sign “the hells accountants” and it was truly fantastic.

  21. Bunny Girl*

    I would love to work somewhere that got super into Halloween. I love Halloween. It starts in August and runs through until I sit down to eat my Thanksgiving potatoes for me! I worked in haunted houses for over ten years and still help with the local horror scene when I have a chance. Ugh I just love it. Last year I was the only one who went all out for my costume, and I didn’t care; I had a blast.

    1. kittymommy*

      I’m this way about Thanksgiving and Christmas. I start the countdown in August and wait as long as I can before I take everything down. Because people get annoyed I wait till Nov. 1 for it all, but I have my Thanksgiving dishes washed and ready to go!! (Note I live alone and the dishes, I also have Christmas ones, are just for me.)

    2. Alton*

      I also love Halloween, and I do kinda wish that dressing up was more of a thing at my workplace. I think I’d be too shy to do anything super elaborate, but I don’t give out candy and don’t like going to parties unless I’m with friends, so I dont have any opportunities to dress up unless I want to feel silly wearing a costume while watching horror films alone at home.

      1. Bunny Girl*

        I luckily have a lot of other opportunities in my life to dress up, so if I’m not allowed at work it isn’t a huge deal. But I also get a lot of horror time. As I mentioned, I help with the local film scene plus I do a horror podcast so I kind of just get to pretend it’s Halloween all year long.

      2. Snack Management*

        I love Halloween and dressing up but am also not a party or bar go-er nor are most of my friends; most years Halloween goes by for me with nothing going on. Last year, my partner and I dressed up and went trick-or-tricking to friends houses but we brought the treats (homemade goods – not more candy or sweets) for the adults. We only got in a few houses because of distant and time spent chatting but the folks we stopped in on loved it.

    3. Polyhymnia O'Keefe*

      My work has a big event the weekend before Halloween with all our members/constituents (our members range from preschoolers to adults, and we have a fairly large group of delightfully nerdy 12-30-year-olds that just get every pop culture reference). I emcee every year, so I’m always looking for a costume that is work appropriate, doesn’t cover my face, and is clever. Many of the kids dress up, and the staff is about half and half. I typically lean toward pop-culture references that take people a minute to figure out — usually something that I can wear with jeans. This was yesterday’s costume. I’m quite proud of it. :)

      (Two years ago, my costume was a t-shirt with the alphabet painted on it in black nail polish, with a battery-operated string of mini Christmas lights pinned to my shirt. I was the wall from Stranger Things. My now-5-year-old nephew holds all my costumes to the standard of “does it have lights on it?” and is very disappointed by my subsequent choices in costume.)

  22. workingforaliving*

    I’m glad my office is low key too. The only time I want to dress up for Halloween is if I am going to a Halloween party. I am not comfortable wandering around in a costume doing my normal stuff just because it’s Halloween.

  23. many bells down*

    One of my friends works in a place that dresses up big-time every year. A couple of years ago, he went as Frank N Furter: this is a big guy with a ponytail and a beard, and he did the makeup and everything.

    Unfortunately, he didn’t know his lunch meeting with a group of Japanese investors had been rescheduled for that day until he got to work. His commute is an hour one-way. He went to lunch in his corset and pearls. Fortunately, he is very hard to embarrass and apparently the investors thought it was pretty funny.

    1. Amber Rose*

      Oh noooo. I always bring a change of clothes if I go somewhere dressed up because I’m terrified of something like this happening.

        1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

          Sounds like a Project Runway challenge. [Tim Gunn voice]: “Make it work, designers!”

  24. Autumnheart*

    I think the moral of the story here is that one should pack a back-up work-appropriate outfit and some makeup remover, just in case the C-suite is not/will not be entertained.

    1. Observer*

      If the C Suite doesn’t like it, then they shouldn’t pressure people to dress up. And they should set clear expectations. But it’s not reasonable to set an expectation of “you’re going to dress up” and then be upset when your staff shows up in costume – especially if it’s a problem because of something you forgot to tell them about!

  25. Scout Finch*

    My late sister-in-law went as Mama ( Vicki Lawrence’s awesome character on the Carol Burnett Show) one year and was PERFECT! She embellished her…umm…”behind” with a small pillow. Had the pearls, glasses…borrowed a house dress & shawl from her grandmother.

    People in her office ASKED her to wear that costume every year until she left.

      1. Scout Finch*

        I LOVE that idea! If you go, post a link to a pic here!
        MeTV runs half hours of her show in the US. I also love John Byner’s cowboy dance on that show. Google WY1Mq75YXv0 and the video should come up. June Taylor-esque.

  26. NotACostumePerson*

    Literally just had people walk by in costume. Mostly a group dressed as tasteful witches. Not so awesome? The guy dressed as a dead/zombie oil roughneck. Shredded overalls, dirty/bloody face. And we are supposed to have kids come by this afternoon for candy. I’ve never been one to dress up, especially at work, but I am NOT a fan of gory costumes. To be honest, I don’t even want team mascots to come up and take pictures with me either, but this seemed over the top.

    1. Incantanto*

      Its halloween? Isn’t the point to scare the kids?

      I think this ones a bit cultural though: in england its really only scary costumes that are a thing (or sexy scary), but nobody dresses up at work.

      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        Not sure about that. All the staff in my local tesco were dressed up this weekend, some in rather gory costumes.

      1. whingedrinking*

        There’s a quote from Discworld somewhere about how grownups took all the blood out of old fairy tales, which is odd because fairy tales are for children, and they’re generally fairly keen on blood.

  27. Cube Diva*

    My friend is a nurse, and every year the phlebotomists dress up as vampires. It’s my favorite example of a Halloween and job-related costumes.

    1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      Several of us wore t-shirts with skeletons on them yesterday. We’re archaeologists working on a cemetery site.

  28. Susan Davis*

    Our recruiting department booked an interview for me for the day of our company Halloween party. We have a huge culture of dressing up for the Halloween party, and most of the company was in costume. So now I’ve interviewed a candidate for a management job while wearing a gorilla suit.

  29. Mae West*

    Several years ago, a woman in our office dressed as Lady Godiva. She wore a full-body, flesh-colored leotard, and “rode” a hobby horse around the office. YIKES!

    1. Kat*

      My spouse just told me that one year their MOM dressed as Lady Godiva to take them trick or treating. It explains a lot!

    2. PlainJane*

      At OldJob, we had someone do this. It was legendary, as in people were still talking about it > 15 years later. I don’t think she had the hobby horse, but there was definitely a skintight flesh-colored bodysuit involved.

  30. Kat*

    I have always hated Halloween and as a kid thought one of the best things about being an adult would be having no pressure to celebrate it. Boy was I disappointed! Luckily, most of my employers have been reasonable enough to let me opt out of any or all of their festivities. My favorites story though is one previous employer who went all out with games, a costume contest and a full haunted house in the conference room. We occupied 2 floors of an 8 story building. Most other tenants were law or accounting firms – very serious types. One year the fog machine in the haunted house triggered the smoke alarm and forced the evacuation of the entire building – the fire department had to come out and everything. Our whole office is out in the parking lot in costume including elaborate zombies, corpses and ax murderers who had been staffing the haunted house and we were getting GLARES from the rest of the building. (This was a year Halloween was on a weekend so it wasn’t even halloween day.) I was very happy not to be in costume and able to blend in with the other companies!

    1. Kat*

      Oh another good story – one year a new employee who started Halloween week got into the festivities and his costume was so good he almost got escorted out by security. In reality he was a very clean-cut mild-mannered-looking blonde and he dressed as a goth rocker with long black wig, tattoo sleeves, eyeliner etc and was unrecognizable to those of us who had only just met him.

    2. Ama*

      If it wasn’t for the “8 story” detail (the building my office is in is quite a bit taller), I’d wonder if you worked a few floors above me, because the “fog machine setting off the smoke alarm” definitely happened here last year.

    1. CmdrShepard4ever*

      I really hope you made a typo and meant “a pair of Bobs” from office space, but sadly I don’t think that is the case.

    2. Dr. Doll*

      This gives me an idea to wear blue socks and blue trainers with white dress and black sweater, and come as a blue-footed booby.

      Your coworkers: 9_9

    3. Mrs. Fenris*

      Many years ago, I saw a cartoon that had been cut out of Hustler. There was a costume party and the guy answering the door is dressed up as a boob. The guy at the door is also dressed as a boob. It says, “I thought you’d never get here.”

  31. Jenny*

    At one job I was at, they didn’t encourage costumes but they were allowed. One woman in her 50s or 60s (she was older, not new to the workforce) came to work dressed like a witch. Fine. Then she went trick-or-treating to the different areas. She came into my office that I shared with another woman and was like “Trick-or-treat!” and we were like “oh great costume!” and then she repeated “Trick-or-treat” and held out a bag and shook it. We were like “Wait, what?” and she repeated again “Trick or treat!” almost angrily. I was like “Um . . .?” and opened up my desk drawer and found a granola bar I had in there for days when i didn’t have time to eat breakfast and gave that to her and my co-worker gave her an apple from her lunch and she left. Oddest thing ever.

    1. KimberlyR*

      Oh thats awkward. I would’ve just stared at her until she went away. I don’t want to give my food away to rude adults who think trick-or-treat is mandatory.

  32. HS Teacher*

    One year I was terminated on Halloween while wearing a costume. I wasn’t terminated for that, but it was even more demeaning to have to do the walk of shame with my box of crap while dressed as Sister Mary Clarence from Sister Act. I haven’t dressed up at work for Halloween since that day.

    1. DaniCalifornia*

      Oh that sucks! They should not have done that while in costume at all. They could have at least waited or done it the day before.

      Until you got to the Sister Mary Clarence part I was going to ask if you worked with Michael Scott from The Office

  33. Anon for this*

    A coworker and his wife dressed up as Little Red Riding Ho and the Big Bad Wolf one year…and he came to work in his costume.

    Which would be less cringe-worthy if he’d been the wolf.

    He pulled the costume off really well, but I did not need to see that.

        1. Anon for this*

          This. Skirt? Not a problem.

          Fake breasts in a low-cut top, mini-skirt (at least it wasn’t a micro-mini), fishnet stockings, and a ‘sultry’ – intended that way, stated, and yes he pulled it off!) walk/look? That was a bit much.

          (Also a blond wig, but the blond wig wasn’t disturbing. Little Read Riding Hood with a more-modest dress and manner wouldn’t have been anything I’d call “cringe-worthy” or mention twice. Little Red Riding Ho, however, did not belong in an office.)

          1. zdoge*

            I’ve gone as Red Riding Hood to the office before. It’s actually a pretty decent and easy costume. Red cape, basket, stuffed wolf- everyone gets it instantly. I wore plain white/gray business clothes under it though, so if needed I could take it off and no one would know the difference.

  34. Serious Sam*

    I recommend the whole book., but here is a quote from a UK based obs/gyn doctor in “This is Going to Hurt”, by Adam Kay:

    “TUESDAY 31 October 2006
    Moral Maze. In the labour ward dressing rooms after a long shift. I’m leaving at 10 p.m. rather than 8 p.m. thanks to a major obstetric haemorrhage ending up back in theatre. I’m meant to be going to a Halloween party, but now I don’t have time to go home and pick up my costume. However I am currently dressed in scrubs and splattered head to toe in blood. Would it be so wrong?”

  35. pleaset*

    “I’ve worked six years for a man who goes way over the top with Halloween. Our office becomes a haunted dungeon with spooky lighting, a disturbing soundtrack, gothic pictures and dust covers, and toys that use sensors to jump out at people and make loud noises. For reasons I don’t understand, my boss loves this.”

    Here’s what I don’t understand – how does the boss and the organization have time for this?

    I don’t work in a very competitive environment, but the wellbeing of our organization would not allow activity at this scale.

    1. This OP*

      He’s an executive who has been here forever so he has a lot of clout. He usually stays in the evening to install the lighting and decorations.
      Personally I don’t think it’s good for our wellbeing, just my opinion.

  36. MLB*

    My last job was for a healthcare company, and my team shared space with a group that hired temps every year for flu season. Although it was business casual, we did have a dress code, and the temps were constantly dressing inappropriately. For Halloween, one of the women came dressed as the chick from Flashdance – tights, leotard, leg warmers. I saw her put a skirt ON when she went to lunch. Not completely terrible or revealing, but the fact that she felt she needed to add clothing to go outside should have told her that she shouldn’t be wearing that to the office.

    1. LJay*

      OMG maybe this is the origin of my job’s dresscode.

      It specifies that the clothing you wear to work should be clothing you would be comfortable wearing in public. We were like, well, duh, of course if someone is wearing it to work they feel it would be appropriate to wear in public. But maybe not…

  37. Ella*

    Just curious: has anyone here ever worked in a professional haunted house, like at Six Flags or something similar? I would love to know what that experience is like. They terrify me, and I can’t imagine being in one all day!

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      Interestingly, I just read something about this today. I don’t know about big orgs like Six Flags, but apparently in smaller haunted houses, one common hazard is that customers physically harm the actors. And the actors are not allowed to defend themselves.

      1. Teapot Tester*

        I went to a local haunted house last night and one of the rules was “we don’t touch you, and you don’t touch us.” It’s run by a theater company and most of the actors were teens so I’d hope most people stuck to the rule.

        Some of those kids were damn creepy too.

      2. starsaphire*

        Yes – my niece worked for a couple of years at the Great America one. It was mostly okay (actually she really loved it) but she did get hit a couple of times, on accident she assured me, because of startle reflex.

        (PSA: If your startle reflex is to punch someone, please do not go to haunted houses. Just sayin.)

        Their experience ran from, I think, 5 or 6 PM until 11 or midnight, so it wasn’t all day, and they had professionals doing their costumes/makeup. There was a lot of cast camaraderie, and they got a pizza party afterwards with awards given out, and so on.

        She really got a blast out of it, but had to stop due to full-time work commitments.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          According to what I read, some of it might have been startle reflex, but much of it was deliberate. As in, the same people would go through multiple times, having figured out where the actors were hiding, and punch them. Or a woman choked an actor because that actor scared her child. In a haunted house.

      3. LJay*

        Definitely common at Six Flags. The most common call to security during Fright Fests was “character assault” where someone hit or shoved one of the ghouls. It was almost all startle reflexes and not people who went in with the intent of assaulting someone. But, if your reflex when being scared is to start swinging, then don’t go to places where the intent is to scare you.

    2. Ellochka*

      I worked in one for a few years; I specialized in creepy child characters. It’s a mix of fun (when patrons are there and willing to play along) and boring (when you’re waiting for people to show up.) The other horrible creatures are a lot less scary when you’ve spent the night chatting between groups of patrons or you’ve seen pictures of their new kittens. Injuries are a hazard – another actor ran into me in the dark and broke my nose one year. Another actor was a nurse as a day job, so I was examined by a 6 foot 5 inch zombie. We were allowed to touch patrons, but the most effective things to freak people out are sniffing them and gently blowing on them.

    3. Sparkly Lady*

      I’ve worked in a few atypical haunts (a haunted theater and a historic location haunt). They were about as polar opposite experiences as you can get because the theater was small, intimate, and very adult focused and the haunt in the historic location was a large space, family friendly, and historically influenced. I loved both.

      When you’re behind the scenes, they’re not really terrifying. You know the actors and the mechanics of the tricks. Both of the ones I worked had pretty strict rules about distance as well to minimize the likelihood of physical danger.

      We did all believe the historic location was genuinely haunted, though, and I had a couple of nervous moments related to that. I heard sounds that weren’t on the regular recording, felt cold spots, and occasionally saw things swing without wind.

    4. Dr Wizard, PhD*

      Hi! Not specifically a haunted house (though some of my coworkers did also work in such places during the season), but I spent a summer working as an actor in a historical-horror experience, very similar to the London Dungeon.

      It is the least terrifying experience imaginable as an actor, because you’re so aware of the timing and the logistics and groping everywhere in the dark.

    5. LJay*

      Worked at Six Flags for about a decade. Another year at a smaller amusement park that had a haunted house.

      I’ve never been scared or creeped out by things that are intentionally there to scare me, so I never really gave it much thought.

      Honestly, my biggest concern during that time of year was that the bigger crowds and more congestion in the parking lot made it more likely that someone was going to try and steal the cash I was transporting, and the fog machines limiting my visibility didn’t improve that.

    6. Fluff*

      I worked at fund raising haunted houses and others. I rarely got touched because I was often a body part or prop (like the talking severed head or floating vampire). I did get hurt though once when I was a pterydactyl that swung around wearing a harness. Harness worked, beam that harness was on did not. Was a spectacular crash and the patrons thought was part of show. The show must go on. Luckily just bruised ego and body and sprained shoulder/wing. Risks for me was rashes – different color make up can have different effects. I loved it. I am on of those who does Halloween and Fasching (and my cosplay collecting grows yearly and is well loved).

      Favorite costume and also the hardest to do for a haunted house? The full-size velociraptor – quite realistic looking, now put it in the trees between house sections and run after the guests and it has a great effect. Scared the crap out of people. You do need a minder and it got heavy (your minder helps get you into the thing, shows you where to go, leads you back and also if you should pause for the smaller guests to pass – this was organized, so guests groups could request the more PG version of the scares or if we had special needs folks). I wish I owned that thing (I think a full legged velociraptor runs like $10K). I would love to wear that guy to my day job -in my dreams, really it would be scary. It’s that good.

      1. Bulbasaur*

        I believe I saw one of those here recently as a promotion for a museum exhibit. It was BIG and looked unwieldy to set up, but it was quite well balanced and surprisingly mobile. And it did look very convincing.

        I was walking past it admiring the craftsmanship when it looked at me and reared up and ran a few steps toward me and, well… You aren’t wrong about the scary part.

  38. Database Developer Dude*

    I’m a lighter-skinned black man, and so I have it very easy for Halloween: I’ll get a black suit, a white shirt, black tie, black shoes, and a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses. Instant Will Smith! If there’s an issue, I can always take off the sunglasses…. MiB for the win!

  39. Halloween grump?*

    I can honestly say that I’ve never worked anywhere that celebrates Halloween, and I am more than okay with it. I admire others’ costumes, but I have zero desire to expend the energy and expense required to put together a Halloween costume. Getting my kids dressed and out of the house is hard enough.

    When did adult Halloween become such a thing? I’m in my late 30s don’t remember the adults in my life celebrating it at all. It was always a thing for kids.

    1. Rainy*

      Most of my friend groups since my late teens have been very into Halloween, and I’m in my 40s. In fact, I’ve been to at least 3 costumed weddings that I remember, one of them on Halloween itself.

  40. sheworkshardforthemoney*

    Our secretary is very much into gory Halloween, lots of blood and gore and body parts scattered all over. It’s only for two weeks then it’s going to be Christmas forever.

  41. RedFan*

    Our icebreaker was what costumes would be inappropriate to wear to work.
    Child molester, hooker, sexy butterfly, the boss, were all choices, and so was ‘Sexy Abraham Lincoln’ – which I found is a thing – ‘Babe-raham Lincoln’.

    Love Halloween personally, we encourage dressing up at work but do not insist or force. Since we work with small children, that knocks out about 98% of the costumes I would want to wear for horror!

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        While I was thinking “If you google that, you’re never getting it out of your head.”

      2. Navy Jones*

        I actually was Baberaham Lincoln when I worked retail one year! We were required to wear black on non-Halloween days, so I just wore my normal work clothes with a stovepipe hat and fake chin strap. It worked surprisingly well.

    1. Peep*

      That reminds me of a Kate Beaton sketch/comic of a “costume” for Sexy Giles Corey (from the Salem Witch Trials) and it’s a woman leaning over and being sandwiched by flat rocks. Heh.

  42. suffusion*

    Not horror, but a fun Halloween story (for anyone who has worked custmer service): I work in the parking office for a mid-sized public university. On Halloween, kids from the university daycare/preschool will go around and ‘trick or treat’ different offices. Staff are encouraged but not required to dress up for the kids. Shortly before the time when the kids come by, a gentleman came in to complain about a parking ticket. The student employee working the front counter was tastefully dressed as a butterfly. Our student workers have a hard enough time being taken seriously by faculty and apparently the addition of antennae and wings made it impossible for this customer to interact with her. He demanded to speak to a supervisor. The supervisor, a typically conservatively dressed man in his forties, came out in a full body shark suit.

    1. Totally Minnie*

      I had to deal with an angry customer last Halloween while dressed as Supergirl. He was not amused.

  43. tink*

    We’re allowed to dress up at work, and the rules include the following:
    3. We want to see your face, so no masks
    4. Less Blood is more
    5. Save the weapons and lingerie for the after-work parties
    6. If it would offend anyone, spare everyone
    7. Don’t let your costume prevent you from working

    I’m probably just going to wear my Hufflepuff skirt and cardigan with a pair of leggings.

    1. Sparkly Librarian*

      I really like these guidelines. They encourage thoughtful consideration and can cover broad areas of concern. Someone (probably several someones) thought about this! If they were developed because of previous problematic costumes/behavior, this approach doesn’t punish everyone.

  44. stitchinthyme*

    I was excited when I started working someplace that encouraged costumes on Halloween and even had a contest…but then when I dressed up, I found that it felt weird and a little awkward to be sitting at my desk doing my work in a costume. I’m just as happy that my current company doesn’t do anything for Halloween — they might have some treats in the kitchen or something, but no one wears costumes. I doubt they’d have an issue if people wanted to — it’s a pretty casual place — but no one seems inclined.

  45. Xarcady*

    My company is into Halloween. There are various Halloween-themed events every day this week.

    There’s a decorating contest, where those departments that want to, decorate their space and wear themed costumes and then get judged. Then on Halloween itself, children are invited in to trick or treat.

    Then there’s the scary movie screened at lunchtime, the “who can carve their pumpkin the fastest” contest, and the Halloween bake-off, where entries have to contain pumpkin in some way.

    1. MechanicalPencil*

      That “fastest pumpkin carving” contest could be problematic. Would that fall under workers comp? I’m just imaging that claim. “Hi, yes. I was trying to make a ghoul pumpkin and my knife slipped…”

  46. Jaid_Diah*

    We can wear costumes at work, but not many people do. I have a pair of barrettes with fluffy cat ears attached, so I’ll be wearing those.
    One of the ladies who rides the bus with will wear a costume (she always wears one for the holidays -leprechaun, bunny, Santa). I don’t know what she’ll wear Wednesday, but it’ll be fun.

  47. Princess Pastel*

    Lucky for me I picked something low-key for my outfit this year: a pastel shirt, tulle skirt, leggings, and ballet flats. I’m just going to put on my wig and unicorn headband right before trick-or-treating starts, since everyone’s bringing their kids and such.

    On a related note, I really dislike overly gory costumes in general, especially if you know there’s going to be kids around. If you’re going to dress up as a zombie, do something cartoonish and leave the gore for the after-dark party.

  48. cactus lady*

    I used to work in a hospital where hardly anyone dressed up, except one random guy who wore a ghillie suit every year.

  49. Rincat*

    My department does snacks and wear a “spooky” t-shirt for Halloween. So no full-on costumes. I think that’s a pretty good strategy to prevent really inappropriate costumes, and also it’s low-key so if you aren’t into Halloween, you don’t have to feel out of place since it’s just a t-shirt.

    1. Not Australian*

      This seems like a sensible compromise, and could include – say – themed ties or jewellery for those who can’t wear t-shirts. Apart from anything else, it keeps the cost down to manageable proportions.

      Personally I don’t do Halloween, it’s just not in my cultural tradition, but if people enjoy it I’m happy for them; it’s the pressure to participate, in any environment, that I object to!

  50. phedre*

    I work for a nonprofit that works with kids so no one bats an eye if you wear a costume if you’re in programming with kids. (Last year one of our site staff dressed up as Miss Frizzle from the Magic School Bus, which was awesome and the kiddos LOVED it) But if you work in the corporate office like I do, it would be super weird to dress up. I don’t think anyone would say anything to you, but they’d probably side eye you.

  51. iglwif*

    One year at OldJob, about half of my department dressed up for Halloween. (It was completely optional.) Nothing too dramatic–we had a couple of witch hats, a couple of flannel-shirt-and-jeans-look-I’m-a-cowboy outfits, and I think one Winnie-the-Pooh character? Someone took a cute group photo, and I put it in the company newsletter that month.

    Except … the newsletter went to our board of directors, and Big Boss didn’t want the board to see staff in costumes (no, I don’t know why not), so I had to take it out :(

  52. Tongue Cluckin' Grammarian*

    My lab isn’t very big on Hallowe’en, sadly. You can wear a costume if you can still do your job, but it’s best to run the idea by the boss first. The owner has religious-based objections to Hallowe’en in a general sense, so we can’t really decorate for it at all (if we decorate, it’s just “Fall”) because most of the holiday-related iconography runs into those objections: e.g. anything “occult”, no skulls or bones because we’re a lab and it’s thought of as inappropriate to the patients we serve (not directly), etc.
    I have some dark purple leggings with black trees, night sky, and black cats and bats on them. I usually just wear something like that on Hallowe’en with a black dress. Witchy, but not explicitly (and the owner approves because it’s not overtly occult).

    I’ll be going to a Hallowe’en party at my dojo after work and normally I’d dress up, but the timing is bad this year, so I’ll just wear my work stuff. I like going to help out (I’m an instructor). We hand out candy to the kids who come, have costume contests (for each class/age group), and generally let the kids go nuts. Then I help clean up after.

    I’m not looking forward the glut of Christmas that comes basically immediately after. *sigh*

  53. PurpleMonster*

    The best costume I ever saw (admittedly Hallowe’en isn’t a big thing here) was a guy who’d dressed in a normal suit, but had a briefcase with Monopoly money coming out of it and a badge that said ‘IRD’ (i.e IRS). That was scarier than any ghoul costume ;-)

  54. Sparkly Librarian*

    I work in a small branch library (4 staff at a time, although a few faces rotate through), and my boss does not celebrate Halloween, so she leaves all the programming to me. I keep it very low-key in terms of decoration (scary book display – the end), but I do enjoy costumes and because we work with kids we’re encouraged by admin to wear them if we like. Last year we tried to do a group costume: me, two other staff, and the security guard said yes to a shared theme… and then only two of us dressed up… but my wife and our friends, in the same theme, showed up to the party, so it was okay in the end. I was Alice [in Wonderland] with a cheap blonde wig that the kids found hilarious/mysterious. This year I took a sweatsuit in my favorite color and made myself a Care Bear costume. Comfort is key for me — if I have to do a storytime, set up a party, and/or run a big craft program, I have to be able to move!

  55. Lady at Liberty*

    The last place I worked was pretty toxic, but Halloween was mostly an exception. One year our department went as Wizard of Oz characters. The one guy in the group was supposed to be the Wizard, but his costume didn’t arrive in time. One ruler session, a bunch of photocopies on canary paper, and a wild series of staples later, he was the Yellow Brick Road.

    (My personal favorite costume was from high school, though: cheap white tee, white jeans I never liked, pieces of scrap paper stapled to the shirt and jeans, smears of white cream on both items. I was, of course, white trash.)

    1. Sparkly Librarian*

      3 years ago I wore a dark gray suit to work. When I held open the jacket, you could see the many gray-palette paint chips I’d pinned inside. $0 + a trip to Home Depot = a professionally-appropriate play on words. I just told people I was a banned book, and waited for them to laugh when they figured out which one.

  56. Emma*

    I love dressing up in costume, so I love Halloween! I kind of missed Halloween weekend this year (I was moving apartments all weekend) and I just started my new job today. I’ve been told that dressing up wouldn’t be a problem but that it’s definitely not the norm. I had a whole cute hobbit costume all planned, and now I’m not sure if I should wear it to work… I feel like it might be my only chance to wear it (unless I actually get my act together to go to a convention) but I also don’t want everyone thinking of me as Halloween Girl. What to do???

    1. StellaBella*

      Eeek. It is your third day of work – I would not do this. They said it is not the norm. Please listen.

      1. Emma*

        Maybe I could wear office clothes & bring my costume in case I arrive & see a bunch of people dressed up??? Ugh I hate the timing of this so much…

        1. Not Australian*

          That’s a good way of tackling it, as long as you don’t end up like my sister going to a fancy dress party. She arrived in costume, changed out of it because she felt uncomfortable, changed into it again later on when the evening started to warm up a bit, and then changed out of it to go home.

        2. Slartibartfast*

          That’s a good plan, you can always pretend you are going somewhere after work too if it seems weird.

  57. anycat*

    we’re having cookies at our office. since i’m 8 months pregnant i’m gonna be a magic 8 ball. ;)

    1. MissMaple*

      We have a chili cook off on Halloween :) As an also-8 months pregnant person, I approve of food-based holidays. I’m going to be the Death Star from Star Wars (we’re nerdy engineers here).

  58. Teach*

    We just got the email that there is to be no Halloween dress at school. So sad, even though it’s high school. My student population trends nerdy and socially aware, and a kid dared me to dress with a fancy collar and Star Wars costume — Darth Vader Ginsberg. And I would have….

  59. T*

    I worked at a job with an extremely uptight dress code, but they sent a memo out they were encouraging us to dress up for Halloween. I decided to come in as a Harley biker guy (I’m a woman) using some of my husband’s Harley stuff, complete with a mustache and banana. Everyone in my department had been talking about their costumes the week leading up and all said they were dressing up. I walked in the day of Halloween with my mustache and no one, save one or two people from other departments, dressed up in the whole company. I looked like a complete idiot walking around other people dressed in suits.

  60. cara*

    Hmmm….tomorrow’s office Halloween activities are optional costumes and cubicle treats, and while I very much like Halloween as a concept, I haven’t mustered the enthusiasm/energy to put together a costume for it this year. Maybe I’ll just part my hair differently and go as me-from-a-nearly-identical-alternate-universe.

    It’s just as well I don’t go all-out decorating my cubicle, because I doubt I’d ever take the decorations down. While Halloween may come and go, my appreciation of the macabre and creepy is undying (or perhaps undead?). The two plastic skeletal rats from last year ended up as permanent office buddies, and I’ll probably leave this year’s bat drawings up indefinitely.

    1. Lalaith*

      Part of my decorations at home include a bunch of bats flying up the wall next to the stairs. I’ve threatened to leave them up and put Santa hats on them ;)

  61. KatieHR*

    I am not a fan of Halloween. I do a bit of decorating around the house for my kids and take them trick or treating. I personally hate dressing up. OldJob used to dress up the whole day and I would never participate and they would taunt me the whole day for not wanting to dress up. I endured that for 3 long years!! My current job is in manufacturing and have to follow GMP and PPE policy so not allowed to dress up! Score for me :)

  62. wingmaster*

    I work at an apparel company, so I’m dressing up as the hangtag/pricetag with the logo on it. Hoping I win the “Costume that best represents the company” costume contest.

  63. Kawaii Sensei*

    I’m a preschool teacher in Japan. I like dressing up, as long as I can come up with something that won’t get in the way. This year, we had our Halloween party on Sunday, and we made games for the kids to play (mini golf, bowling, mine was ‘pong’ – just bouncing balls into cups though!), and I wanted to dress up as something cute but more me than the typical princess stuff. I wanted it to be something that my students would recognise easily. I’m good at handicrafts, so I got a bunch of felt fom the 100 yen shop and sewed all the food from The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and pinned it all to a green shirt and skirt, sewed the face felt to a red hat, and put on some brightly coloured make-up! The kids loved it :) I think the mums got the most kick out of it, though!!

  64. Mrs. Fenris*

    I worked at an animal hospital that did a pumpkin carving contest. One year I did a pumpkin c-section. I had Mom on her back with little pumpkins all around her and one halfway out of the incision. (No blood, or pumpkin guts or anything.) Mom and babies all had matching faces drawn with Sharpie. I used a surgical drape, a couple of instruments, and I put orange food coloring in a fluid bag plus a surgical flow sheet filled out for Petunia Pumpkin. I wrote her temperature as “room,” and I was going to make up a whole list of vital signs and an anesthetic protocol but that’s when my creative energy ran out.

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