the grisly Halloween decorations, wearing a costume to an interview, and more

It’s Halloween! Let’s revisit some Halloween questions from past years. (Also, there is an amazing interview coming later today with a haunted house cast member!)

1. My coworker goes overboard with grisly Halloween decorations

People in our office go bonkers over Halloween. Recently we were encouraged to decorate for Halloween. I would take that to mean a little black and orange garland, maybe a plastic pumpkin, right? Well, not hardly. People go overboard and apparently the only rule was no trip hazards in the aisle. The woman in the cubicle next to mine must have emptied out her storage area of Halloween decorations. Now there are gross bloody looking, ghoulish figures hanging from the ceiling above our desk space. There are skeletons with teeth, cobwebs strewn about, and a lifelike bloody head cut off at the neck with facial wounds and hair that appears to be matted with more blood, and a plaque with some sort of satanic looking symbol was hung up. Then she brings in a black cauldron that when plugged in emits what looks like smoke, gurgles, and has neon lighting. There is not a pumpkin in sight!

To me, it’s very dark and not the atmosphere or space that I wish to spend my day in for weeks and yet I have no choice. This is very disturbing. I complained to my manager about the dead people hanging from the ceiling and she just said they weren’t dead people! Everyone thinks this person is so cool because she has a lot of decorations and they ooh and ahhh over it all day long. What is wrong with this picture? This is a large professional corporate office — the finance office for a huge group of physicians, no less. The manager encouraged this and thinks it is just great good-spirited fun and I am looking around thinking, “What is wrong with people”? Too late now, but is this even normal?

Well, it’s pretty oblivious to the fact that not everyone is comfortable with macabre decorations, and I’m alarmed that your manager was so dismissive when she heard about your discomfort.

Do you have HR? They might be more receptive than your boss. But otherwise, next year you could try approaching your coworker ahead of time and explaining that you were creeped out by some of what she put up last time and ask if she’d be open to a different motif. If your sense is that she won’t care, you could try with your boss again, despite her lackluster response this year. I do wonder how clear you were with her; if you didn’t plainly say that you can’t comfortably work around that kind of grisly imagery, it’s worth restating it that way.


2. My office’s “kid-friendly” Halloween party was terrifying

My office held a Halloween party this week after hours (immediately after the work day in the office), and said in the invitation that kids and significant others are welcome. Some of us brought our young kids (ages 2-5 or so). When we arrived the signs were pretty ghoulish (dismembered bloody body parts, etc), and one employee, “Bob,” brought this very gruesome and realistic zombie puppet. It’s just as creepy as it looks in the video and it truly terrorized the kids in attendance. The parents are really upset, and would not have brought their kids if we knew that there would be this kind of adult Halloween horror.

The person who did this is otherwise lovely, and is also very close to the CEO. It’s not like management was unaware before it happened, I think they were just clueless about how inappropriate this was for a family event. Before Bob arrived, the CEO was telling people, “I heard Bob is going to bring his special friend Sally” (meaning the puppet). How do we address this with management? Its hard enough in our company for moms of young kids, and I don’t want us to be seen as spoil sports, but I am also really really not okay with the company saying this is a bring your kids event and then having something like this happen. Any advice?

Yes! Talk to whoever is in charge of party planning and logistics for your office and explain this wasn’t kid-appropriate at all! I’m guessing someone involved didn’t understand what is and isn’t kid-friendly and needs that spelled out more clearly. This won’t be you being a spoil sport; this will be you giving someone highly relevant info that they apparently didn’t have and probably would want. (Think if you’d done something similar — you’d want to know!)

You could say, “I think there was a disconnect between whoever said the party would be kid-friendly and whoever planned the decorations. It definitely wasn’t kid-appropriate for small children — my kids and some of the the others were really upset by the some of the gruesome decor and Bob’s puppet. In future years, can we be more careful about that? It of course doesn’t need to be kid-friendly but if we say it is, I want to be sure it won’t terrify our kids.”

Also, next year, make a point of raising this again in case people have forgotten or someone else is doing the planning. Mention that kids were scared last time, and ask for info about exactly what’s being planned. (Maybe talk to Bob in advance of next year’s too.)


3. Wearing a Halloween costume to an interview

I have an interview on Halloween. Would it be ok to wear a costume to show my fun spirit?

Nooooo. Unless you’re interviewing someone where “fun spirit” is a major and key job requirement, this would be a very bad idea (and even then, I wouldn’t do it).

While I’m sure there’s some interviewer out there who would appreciate it and think it’s awesome, there are far more who will find it off-key and inappropriate for a professional situation. Plus, you want the focus on your qualifications, not what you’re wearing.


4. Do I really have to wear a Halloween costume to work?

I am the assistant to the executive director of a nonprofit human services agency. The culture of the agency includes having the employees and the volunteers wear costumes to work on Halloween. In all of my long work history, wearing costumes to work on Halloween has never before been a part of the workplace culture. Part of my work involves interacting with the public, and my personal standards include the belief that it is not correct to for staff to wear Halloween costumes in the workplace, especially when interacting with members of the public.

When I joined the agency four years ago, I wore a black pantsuit on Halloween and purchased a witch’s hat, and kept the latter item visible next to my desk. I have followed this practice since that initial year, without engendering any negative comments from my manager or other staff members. Halloween is almost upon us again. In the last staff meeting, my manager reminded everyone to wear costumes on Halloween, and said that the staff members who wore costumes would get to go home early on that date, while anyone not wearing a costume would have to stay until the normal 5:00 closing time.

Going home early on Halloween is not a special treat for me, as I have work that needs to get done. I plan on following my usual practice of wearing a black pantsuit and bringing the witch’s hat to work. Although almost all of the rest of the staff, including the manager, show up each Halloween in new and specially purchased costumes, I believe that I am observing the letter of the office culture custom, if not the spirit. Am I under any obligation to go beyond my usual practice of wearing a black pantsuit and bringing the witch’s hat to work on Halloween?

I wouldn’t think so, not in any reasonable office. I mean, some might think that you’re being a bit of a party pooper, but it’s not something that should have any real ramifications for you at work. In fact, it seems clear that it’s not a requirement, based on your manager’s wording that people not wearing costumes will just work until their normal ending time.

That said, for what it’s worth, I think you’re probably being a bit too much of a stickler when you say that people shouldn’t wear Halloween costumes to work, especially if they’re interacting with the public. There are certainly some jobs where that’s true — for example, if you’re a doctor, you shouldn’t be giving patients bad news about their health while dressed as a giant banana or something — but for most jobs, it’s not inherently unprofessional to wear a costume, and if the culture of a particular office is one where people do that, that’s a perfectly reasonable way for that office to run.

None of that obligates you to dress up if you’d rather not, and anyone who gives you crap about that is being a bit of a jerk, since different people have different preferences around this stuff. But at the same time, just as they shouldn’t be judgy about your personal preferences on this, I’d urge you not to judge the people who enjoy dressing up as incorrect either.


5. Halloween Christmas card

The photo for our annual Christmas card is being taken on Halloween, prior to our office Halloween potluck, while people will be in costumes! (We are an medical software company, and our recipients include hospitals, clinicians, and universities.) Ugh. I feel that this is unprofessional, tacky, and weird — I don’t understand why we would use a clearly dated photo for our Christmas card. How, if at all, do I raise this concern to our higher-ups?

If you want to raise it, you can be direct about it: “I think it will look really out of place for the season if we send a Christmas card where people are obviously in Halloween costumes. What about taking the photo next week instead?”

But I wouldn’t worry terribly much about it. It’ll be a weird Christmas card! That’s okay.


{ 391 comments… read them below }

  1. MPerera*

    My workplace is holding a contest where different departments decorate their doors for Halloween and the best door gets a gift basket.

    During the pandemic I learned some handiwork and decorating-related skills I could practice at home, but because of that, the general consensus seemed to be that the door was my responsibility. Even that wouldn’t be too bad if there was more help, but only one of my coworkers brought materials and spent some of her free time working on the door with me. Others made suggestions about what they would like to see, and left it at that.

    The kicker is that we work in a trauma hospital, and this past week was one of the roughest that I remember. What was even more exhausting was that during breaks, I could never relax because of the door project (and I couldn’t leave Good Coworker to plug away at it on her own). On Friday, as one of the senior people left after her shift, she asked me how the door decoration was going. I said it was a bit delayed because of the recent code (where we’d been running around desperately trying to save a patient’s life). But of course now that that was over, I’d jump on a different treadmill and get back to the damn door. Good Coworker was pretty tired of it too at that point.

    My only relief is that because I work Tuesday through Saturday, I have Sunday and Monday off and will not be there for anything Halloween-related, door judging included. It doesn’t matter whether we win or not. I’m just glad it’s over.

    Of course, next up is Christmas…

    1. Allonge*

      Oh, that sounds horrible! Why on Earth make this into a competition (with a single prize even) – otherwise departments could bow out no problem, but like this there is no way.

      I would have been on the verge of buying a gift basket if I was left almost alone to do all these decorations. And in principle I do like crafts and decorating!

      Hope you have some rest from this indeed!

    2. Emmy Noether*

      Ugh, I’m sorry you got stuck with this.

      It sucks that this is a danger of talking about non-work-related skills and hobbies at work. I sew, and I do sometimes talk about it at work, and it has gone ok so far. But I’ve heard horror stories about bosses asking to have their pants hemmed and whatnot. Uuuurgh.

        1. MPerera*

          I can’t even imagine having the gall to do this. Even if there was payment involved (because hopefully your friend wasn’t expected to make the dress for free!).

    3. Liz*

      Wow, yeah that sounds like a lot to be juggling. Typically if I was taking part on this project I would imagine 20 minutes tops of hanging bunting and cobwebs and maybe a couple of skeletons, not a full scale project that demands so much time and attention from your team. It sounds like the team bought into your enthusiasm and then ditched as soon as they realised the work involved.

      I think if I were in your shoes I would scale back the plan to fit the time constraints, especially as you were banking on more support from coworkers. You don’t have to cite that if you don’t want to risk making them uncomfortable, but you could say something like “I think the original plan I had is too ambitious given the time and resources, so let’s just go back to a more traditional approach to decor”. If your co-workers don’t like that, then so be it – if you’re shouldering the project, you should get the first say.

      1. MPerera*

        Oh, there was no way the team would have settled for some cobwebs and a couple of skeletons. They found a picture of a fairly elaborate door decoration online, though at first it didn’t seem too difficult. Good Coworker and I were able to put together something similar after two days, and we stuck it to the door.

        Unfortunately, since this is a trauma hospital and we’re in a busy department, that door just kept swinging in and slamming shut. So the entire decoration fell down (thankfully without beaning anyone as it did). We had to redo it and then rethink how to apply it to the door. I think it looked quite original, but we’re definitely not in the same league as departments which are not actively involved in codes and have more free time to work on a project like this.

        1. Observer*

          Oh, there was no way the team would have settled for some cobwebs and a couple of skeletons

          And what would have happened if you had effectively said “Well if want something more, YOU do it?”

          1. MPerera*

            I’d hope they would understand that I’m not able to do more, but I don’t know. I’m one of the few people who’s not married and doesn’t have children, so maybe they think I have more free time to spend on projects like this, though I have obligations outside work as well.

            I suspect that if I had put up a few cobwebs and a skeleton, some people would have felt I wasn’t being creative or putting forward my best effort. But right now I’m tired enough that I don’t plan to go through it all again for Christmas.

            1. Phryne*

              ‘I’m one of the few people who’s not married and doesn’t have children, so maybe they think I have more free time to spend’
              ‘some people would have felt I wasn’t being creative or putting forward my best effort.’

              I don’t mean to diminish your effort and your work ethic is admirable, but you really can say ‘so what’ to that…
              So what if your co-workers think you have the time, it is up to you to decide if you do.
              So what if people think you did not put forward your best effort. They put forward none at all, and they were quite welcome to put in more if they wanted a labour intensive project.
              Only you can decide how much effort you want to put in defending your boundaries, and how much credit that could/would cost in your team, but it is really your right to do so, and you do not need to have reasons beyond ‘this is how much time I am willing to spend on this’.

            2. All Het Up About It*

              But right now I’m tired enough that I don’t plan to go through it all again for Christmas.

              MPerera – That was what I was coming here to recommend. Start working on your script now. “Oh, since I rocked Halloween – I’m letting someone else take the lead for Christmas.” “The Halloween decorations were really stressful to manage with my other responsibilities, so I want to focus on my core job duties and not be pulled away by holiday decorations this round.” “If I do Christmas décor, it’s going to be very ‘low-bar lifestyle’ and a picture of Santa with a cotton ball beard.”

              WHATEVER excuses/reason you want to use, start practicing it now!
              PS – I hope your door wins a prize! That’s even more reason to let someone else have a chance to shine! :)

              1. Gracely*

                Yes–tell people that you want to give others a chance to do the decorations now that you’ve done it a few times. You wouldn’t want to hog all the fun, after all.

                And good luck, and thank you for all you do!

        2. Capybarely*

          Wait, your active emergency unit is being asked to decorate an active, medically vital, emergency door? That going wrong sounds like it’s own aam letter!

          I like the idea of a door decoration as a limiting factor for size (and expectations!). But, like, maybe a disused storage room door? Asking it to hold up to constant use is an entirely different project!

          I’m so glad you have the day off. May it be uneventful!

          1. MPerera*

            I thought of putting the decoration on the wall next to the door, because at least the wall doesn’t move. But then that wouldn’t have qualified as a door decoration. And it has to be on an outer door so everyone can see it, so… yeah, the active, medically vital door is the only one.

            Good Coworker is on duty today, so she put up the decoration (we decided to put it up on the day of the judging) and she just texted me to say it was staying up. So far.

    4. Asenath*

      I would have chosen much smaller scale decorations; something that could be put up pretty quickly. If the co-workers think that you didn’t do something as spectacular as they expected, given your interest in crafts, maybe they won’t ask you to do it at Christmas! Also, you can often ignore “general consensus”, or, better yet, speak up and say “I can’t do the decoration this time.”

      1. Daisy*

        IMO: Absolutely the first rule of group work when others have suggestions is “Sounds great! You can go ahead and make that!”

        Also: suggestions don’t mean squat unless the suggestor does the work.

        1. MPerera*

          Absolutely the first rule of group work when others have suggestions is “Sounds great! You can go ahead and make that!”

          I like this response. I thanked people for their suggestions and then ignored those, but replying like this would have been more effective at driving the point home.

        2. GlitterIsEverything*

          Totally stealing this to use for Christmas decoration this year.

          We do a decorating contest for Halloween and Christmas, where people opt-in if they want to participate. If enjoy it, and always opt-in as part of a team.

          But this year, the team member who loves Christmas the most has come up with a theme that is next to impossible to decorate for, is notorious for providing minimal help or supplies, and is getting married in December.

          Yup, totally leaving this in their lap unless the theme changes to something with decorating potential.

          1. Curious*

            My go to for ideas for group work is always “thank you so much for volunteering to do that”. Given your colleague’s enthusiasm for Christmas decorations I don’t see why their wedding should interfere. /s. And if they don’t get done … why, how sad that coworker dropped the ball.

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        Yes, it sounds like whatever they are doing is going to be awesome (and I’m so curious to see it!) but it also sounds like way more than you need to do for something like this. I’m sure whoever suggested this contest did not expect people to spend more than a couple hours on it–unless the prize is something really worth a lot of effort (which I don’t think work prizes ever should be, you don’t want the prize to be good enough that people who don’t win it would be genuinely upset IMO)

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      There’s a past letter about doing a giant sculpture of canned food for a company food bank drive with a similar disconnect between “likelihood to give a speech about how important this is for the charity/office team spirit” and “likelihood to actually help.”

    6. Esmeralda*

      No more doors. Or, if you’re doing the door, set up a signup sheet for people to bring supplies, spend 1-2 hours assisting, etc.

      Not enough people sign up? Too bad so sad, no decorations.

      Do NOT do this again. It’s unacceptable. BTDT, got the signup sheets with no one signed up for anything on them. “Unfortunately no one signed up to assist, so I won’t be able to decorate our door.” Don’t apologize either!

    7. That One Person*

      Seems like grounds for the two of you to walk into the sunset with the gift basket and not share. No help, no prize!

      1. MPerera*

        I told Good Coworker that if we won, she’d get half the contents of the gift basket, I’d get the other half, and the people who offered suggestions only could have the basket.

    8. Librarian of SHIELD*

      Your line when they start talking about Christmas decorations is “Good Coworker and I handled Halloween. It’s someone else’s turn now.”

      1. MPerera*

        I really would like to kick back and see how someone else handles it. I may be creative, but I’m not the Energizer Bunny.

    9. Random Biter*

      At NotherOldJob there used to be a contest during Christmas for the best dressed department. I don’t even remember what the prize was, and remembering how badly the company would try to cheap out everything (holiday gift was a package of Oreos..yes, really) it must have been epically bad. Considering it was a giant cube farm that meant all the decorations were pretty visible no matter where you were. Our department was considered the unmanageable bad kids (well…there was a tiny justification for that) and we all pretty much rolled our eyes when Decoration Day rolled around. So one year we decided to get the gaudiest, loudest decorations (think garish tinsel and garland, Elvis cutouts, neon colored ornaments and oh yeah, leis) and do a Christmas in Vegas theme. Lots of Elvis music and obnoxious Christmas song renditions. We didn’t win over the traditional Christmas Village theme, but it was the last year for the contest. Win!

    10. That'sNotMyName*

      Since they’ve put you in charge, that means you get to delegate! Give people their assignments and if they don’t do them, then that’s that. I like making and putting up festive decorations but requiring (or strongly suggesting) it at work sounds like such a chore.

  2. Me*

    Rereading number 2 was weird as heck — because of the timing! I’m pretty sure whether the annual holiday part was kid-appropriate was exactly nobody’s main concern in 2020.

    As for number 4, I completely disagree depending on the job — I’m a librarian, and I dress up for Halloween BECAUSE I work with the public, not in spite of it. Admittedly, my idea of a “costume” is wearing black pants, an orange sweater, and a pair of wings, and calling myself the Halloween fairy. But it’s fun for our patrons and for us to have something interesting on the day itself.

    1. Daily reader, rare commenter*

      Truly! Reading that today is surreal considering there was an actual horror waiting to explode across the world just months later.

    2. Scot Librarian*

      I’m a librarian and have not dressed up since many Halloween’s ago when I was low key dressed as a vampire (black dress, red drops of ‘blood’ by my mouth, big smokey eyes) and had to deal with an angry customer. He didn’t comment on my outfit, but I felt less professional. Library Assistants dress up if they want, but as the person who has to deal with difficult situations i feel like i need to look in control

      1. Anne of Green Gables*

        Also a librarian. I love Halloween and do come to work in costume, even now that I’m at a community college and not a children’s librarian at a public library any more. But I now wear costumes that I can quickly “un-costume” if I am needed in a serious meeting or need to have a stern conversation with a student. Today I am Red Riding Hood, but the base of the costume is just a standard black dress, so if I remove my red cape, I’m just in normal work clothes.

        1. Gracely*

          Same–I usually go with a black dress that can be dressed up into A) a witch, B) a black cat, C) a vampire, or D) a bat, depending on the accessories. If there’s an irate patron, I can take off the hat/cat ears/teeth/wings. But most of the time, people love the costume.

          (One year I was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, which was only obvious if you saw my shoes and the basket w/ a toy dog when I came to/from work. )

        2. The Rural Juror*

          My mother runs an office in a courthouse and does the same. Their whole office will wear witches hats and can quickly take them off if there’s a more serious matter to deal with. Having your marriage license signed and registered by a witch – Fun! Having to pay your court fines…not so much…

        3. Sparkly Librarian*

          Same — I’m usually working with children and enjoy dressing up, but this year I’m the branch manager and I went understated: cat ears on a headband and a tail that pokes out from under my skirt and most people don’t notice. I could very quickly be fully professionally dressed if needed.

          1. Splendid Colors*

            Throw on a labcoat with the cat ears & tail and you could be Dr. T’Ana from Star Trek: Lower Decks (the cat doctor, in the new animated Trek series).

    3. allathian*

      Yes, this.

      I get it that it’s a small thing, and the office culture is hardly toxic for expecting employees to wear a costume on Halloween. I think that a black pantsuit and a witch’s hat on the desk should be enough to fulfil the requirements, even if some who are more into it might see it as a bit of a copout…

      But in some cases it could be discrimination, some people don’t celebrate Halloween for religious reasons, and requiring them to wear a costume would not be okay. I’m not even sure it would be okay to require them to work their full day in lieu of wearing the costume, but I guess you’d need an employment lawyer to be sure, and it might depend on the jurisdiction.

      Of course, the LW didn’t say anything about objecting to Halloween costumes on religious grounds, so the point’s moot here.

      If the workplace is otherwise great, or even good, and this is the only reason they’re unhappy at work for one day of the year, I hope the LW can make peace with the costume and participate to the extent they have. But if they want to switch jobs for more weighty reasons, it’s certainly possible to ask about office culture around holidays in any interviews. Would the LW be happy in an office environment that bans all personalization of workspaces? I bet that Halloween costumes or ugly holiday sweaters wouldn’t be a problem there, either.

    4. Kuddel Daddeldu*

      There may be miscommunication involved – “kid friendly” does not necessarily imply “adequate for two-year-olds”.
      A bit more clarity from above may have helped (“We have kids of all ages, please keep any decorations that are not suitable for young kids in the back part of the office, from teapot design back to accounting, thanks!”

        1. inko*

          Agreed, I think my eldest would only just now be OK with that sort of thing and he’s almost in his teens.

            1. DJ Abbott*

              Me too, 60.
              I don’t understand why so many people are so enamored of such grisly things. I find them threatening. They scare me and make me have horrible thoughts and memories. Like the face my former boss used to put on the wall – bald, creepy, tongue hanging out. I’ve met that guy in real life.
              I enjoy fun Halloween decorations with candy and cheerful looking ghosts and pumpkins, but hardly anyone does that anymore.

        2. Not Your Admin Ass(t)*

          Seriously. I LOVE horror and Halloween and spooky stuff, and I would not go within ten feet of that gross flailing thing.

      1. I am Emily's failing memory*

        Yeah, I suspect the planners were operating from a definition of kid-friendly as more like the absence of alcohol or bawdy entertainment – like “nothing here is legally age-controlled.” Parents heard it and thought, “planned with children in mind, includes activities children will enjoy.”

        1. Ness*

          “Doesn’t include any elements likely to traumatize children” seems like the bare minimum for an event to be labeled “kid-friendly.”

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        “Kid friendly” absolutely should mean that and I say that as someone who does not have or plan to have kids. If an event is okay for some kids but not others, then the language would need to specify “8 and up” or something. Otherwise the default assumption is that all kids are welcome.

        (But also it sounds like this particular display was not appropriate for quite a lot of ages of kids, and likely even a lot of adults)

      3. Tesuji*

        I think the primary miscommunication is even before that, in that “kids are welcome” has a different connotation than “kid-friendly.”

        To me, “kids are welcome” doesn’t necessarily imply that something is deliberately designed for kids or that it’s guaranteed that everything that happens will be appropriate for kids of ages 2-18.

        It just means you can bring your kids, if you want, and think it’s a good idea.

        As far as I can tell, LW pulled “kid-friendly” out of thin air. That wasn’t what the announcement said, it was what she inferred.

        1. KH_Tas*

          In the comments of the original letter, LW said there was strong encouragement from the company for employees to bring their kids.

          I also agree that ‘kids welcome’ absolutely must equal ‘kids won’t be traumatised’.

    5. The Libearian*

      I’m not technically a librarian, but I went to library school and work in a very library-adjacent field, so I feel a kinship and have often thought about donning some ears/paws/etc and a cardigan/holding some books…and being a li-bear-ian.

  3. Catgirl*

    I’m going to get a name tag with my first name and last initial on it, and tell everyone that I’m my “innie” from Severance.

    1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

      One year I wore a name tag that said “Roger” and whenever anyone asked I said I was Roger from American Dad. So few people got it….

    2. Zidy*

      My entirely low effort, I really don’t wanna dress up, costume was getting a poster board (or just using some left over carboard for truly low cost) and one of those free paint stirring sticks from the hardward store, making a cheap little hand sign that says “Nudist On Strike” and going in a normal outfit. Then I’d just wave the sign around to everyone who approached me. It got several laughs and several people congratulating me on the novelty of it.

      Of course, it’s definitely a know your office/customers type of costume. It’s certainly not one I’d want to use in a public space dealing with small children who may not know what a nudist in.

      1. SarahKay*

        I love this, and am definitely filing it away as an option if I ever have to do fancy dress at work.

    3. Aggretsuko*

      I’m cracking up at this.

      I went as Aggresuko to my office party one year, but nobody got it whatsoever.

      1. Oh, fish!*

        Aggretsuko is an amazing office costume idea! I went as Process Carolyn from Bojack one year and no one got it either. I even dyed my hair pink for the occasion.

      2. Capybarely*

        Oh that’s an amazing workplace costume!
        Did you have your post-workday karaoke to recover from the frustration of not being appreciated? :)

    4. Paddy O'Furniture*

      Years ago, on an episode of the ensemble sitcom, “News Radio,” the entire news crew was upset because they were not invited to their boss’s big Halloween party. The boss was upset that his employees would not wear costumes to the party. This, in spite of the character, Bill McNeill (played by the late Phil Hartman) having previously gone as “Man without socks.” (It (the costume) was conceptual).

    5. Constance Lloyd*

      Years ago, a coworker and I went as each other. We each had a bit of a work uniform, she often wore solid black and out her hair in a bun and I often wore stripes with a pony tail, so we copied each other’s default look with our own clothing and slapped on post-it note name tags. Festive enough to get a chuckle, bland enough to feel like a normal day.

      1. Anne of Green Gables*

        In high school, my brother’s best friend dressed as my brother for Halloween. He didn’t say anything about it, just wore an open flannel shirt over a Neil Young t-shirt, my brother’s typical outfit. Apparently several teachers said something about him “not looking like himself” that day, though I’m not sure they put together that he was my brother. (It was a big enough school that they may not have had the same teachers.)

      2. whingedrinking*

        One year, one of my coworkers – short, loud, and female – dressed as another coworker – bearded, taciturn, and male. It was so convincing that I thought it was him at first and only did a double take when I noticed “Fergus” was missing about seven or eight inches of height. I believe my exact words were “That’s downright spooky.”

    6. Jessica Ganschen*

      My costume for the past several Halloweens and Purims has been “Pokemon Trainer”, which consists of a yellow “Team Instinct” t-shirt, a matching bandana, and a small Lapras plushie inside a set of bowls designed as the two halves of a Pokeball. Maybe I’ll change it up at some point, but it’s so much easier to just use clothes and props I already own.

      1. COHikerGirl*

        Fellow Instinct!

        This is a good idea, I might use it next year! Just need to find a Tauros stuffed animal, as it’s my favorite for some reason.

        1. Sorcyress*

          The fact that EVERY pokemon is SOMEONE’s favourite is one of my very favourite things about pokemon! (My dad, who does not care about the franchise at all, even has a favourite: he loves howling SNORLAX at us!)

  4. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

    The more gore and bloody body parts become the focus of Halloween the more I hate it. Our office has been decorated for a month with random eyeballs hidden to be found as “surprises’. I really wish there was a consensus on how graphic these decorations can be.

    1. zaracat*

      Same. I also hate gratuitous gore in movies (sigh, just coming out of a week of covid isolation with horror movie fans). Mostly because of my medical job, I find it hard not to imagine the reality those things are based on. Thankfully my workplaces don’t decorate much. Shopping pre-Halloween is another story.

      content warning* graphic description
      All the time I’m looking at that shelf of fake chopped-off feet I’m thinking “I bet whoever made this has never held an actual amputated human foot in their hand. It is really not entertaining.”

      1. Yay! I’m a llama again!*

        We’re remote and in the UK where I don’t think we go as all out for decoration on workplaces (?), but we did a hallowe’en quiz on Friday. I did NOT enjoy being shown pictures of the main characters from horror films in all their horror glory at 9am, and turned off my camera and turned my iPad screen away from me pretty quickly! Not my thing at all. But there wasn’t any sort of warning that this was coming and most people seemed very engaged. I just didn’t play that round of the quiz.

      2. Jaid*

        My local paper had an article in the food section about a zombie hand …charcuterie board.
        Complete with photo of disembodied “hand”.

        Yo, I put a sticky over that pic, because my work bestie would not appreciate seeing that when reading about other supposedly tasty treats for the holidays…

    2. Lilo*

      Yeah, I’m not a gore fan. If you’ve ever had to deal with real life gore it’s just not funny.

    3. Admiral Thrawn Is Always Blue*

      Agreed completely. I don’t like gory at all. My dept did a lot of decorating but it was all mild stuff, nothing scary and gory.

    4. Beth*

      I hate, hate, hate graphic gory stuff. I’ve hated it since I was a kid (traumatized by age-inappropriate movie gore) and I’ve never stopped hating it. Nightmare fuel. If my office tried to go in for it, that just might be the hill I would choose to die on.

    5. Keymaster of Gozer*

      I had to have a very awkward meeting with a few members of staff today over why their particular halloween/samhain decorations had to come down like NOW.

      Giant…things that make webs that I’m incredibly phobic of need to be out in your car when I get back from the loo. No I’m not budging.

      That poster from a film with exposed guts is gonna get burnt if it’s not removed by the time I get back from the loo.

      And the desk decorated in giant covid pictures is, while I can appreciate as an ex-virologist that you got some really good electron photography, gonna have to go too. Because there’s enough of us who’ve lost loved ones to that ****ing thing to have pretty visceral reactions.

      The pumpkins, the skeleton (in full PPE I love working with engineers), the witches hats etc are all fantastic though!

    6. Gumby*

      There is a house on a road that I frequently drive whose decorations seem to be themed this year as “ode to child abuse” which makes me really really uncomfortable. I mean, it’s fictional monsters that are shaking / pulling / dangling upside down by one foot/ whatever the mostly-human-looking toddler figures and they have other stuff too, but I have to avert my eyes when I drive past because… ugh.

      1. snarkfox*

        ugh that’s absolutely awful! there are enough actual toddlers who get horrifically abused… lets not turn that into decorations! It turns my stomach.

    7. snarkfox*

      I love Halloween and it’s my favorite holiday, but I also hate gore. I don’t mind a bit of fake blood or whatever, but realistic gore makes me want to throw up. I don’t even work in the medical field or anything, but I’ve always been sensitive to stuff that would cause actual human pain.

      Bring on the ghosts, the vampires, and the witches… but stuff that’s super gory takes away all the fun for me.

    8. That'sNotMyName*

      Yeah. I’m generally Halloween agnostic (I’ll pass out candy to trick or treaters and compliment their outfits, but otherwise its not my thing) but the level of gore really bothers me. A few years ago, someone in my town hung a fake body from a tree, complete with lolling head. It was at a busy intersection so there was a pretty immediate outcry and it was taken down. Still, why would someone think that’s ok?

      I’m also not a fan of how Halloween enthusiasts often demand that everyone participate in order for them to enjoy Halloween. As someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, I’ve sometimes gotten clueless/rude comments about not celebrating it but nothing like Halloween enthusiasts. If your enjoyment of a holiday requires my participation, you need to adjust something.

  5. Goldie*

    I found my people! I feel like people really take Halloween to a crazy level in work places these days.

    Personally, like the witch. I have a animal hat that I bring and wear when needed.

    I like Halloween, my kids love it, I went to Halloween parties in my 20’s& even 30’s. But now my kids’ costumes, school parties, trick or treating, trick or treaters and house decorating is PLENTY. I don’t want Halloween duties at work too.

    1. JayNay*

      I was reading these and genuinely thought „what is wrong with people?“ your office is not your home, there are other people there who deserve a work-appropriate atmosphere. Not everyone even likes Halloween.
      And managers wonder why their employees love working from home so much…

    2. Sydney Bristow*

      I love Halloween and pre-2020 regularly hosted an adults-only party. But decorating at work sounds like work I just don’t want to do. I can’t imagine dressing up at work and would probably go the low-key route as well even though I’d have a much more elaborate costume at home for later.

      1. inko*

        Yeah, I adore Halloween but I don’t have time to do all this for work, plus working, plus the Halloween stuff I’m doing at home with my family. I’m happy to make a token gesture at work but feeling pressure to do any more than that is more stressful than fun.

      2. Butterfly Counter*

        This is what I was thinking!

        I don’t have anywhere NEAR the bandwidth to try to decorate my home, let alone my office space. I just don’t feel like I reap any payoff. I have to work to bring in decorations, do the decorating, then take them down and bring them home when I’m done. Nah. I’m good with just doing my work and going home.

        (I do like it a bit if others decorate, but I don’t expect it and in my office, it’s rarely done.)

        Years ago, I bought some fake orange, purple, green, and black curls of hair attached to bobby pins that I stick in my hair on the day (and I’m wearing right now). It’s festive and still mostly professional.

      3. lilsheba*

        I haven’t dressed up in general for a couple of decades but I loved decorating my cube for work, it was fun! I love halloween and I love having it around me. It was gory in any way but did involve glitter…cause I love orange and black and purple glittery things. I would have been super disappointed if I hadn’t been able to do that.

      4. Hannah Lee*

        Yeah, while sometimes it can be fun to have holiday themed stuff going on, if you’re understaffed or in a stressful environment, sometimes participating in it is just one more thing on an already stuffed “to do” list (and an opportunity to get annoyed anew that some co-workers in the same department have plenty of time to enjoy the assignment and go to town with it.

        My favorite low-stress holiday thing at work was when my manager had planned a holiday luncheon in December, announced in advance that he was having lunch brought in from a place that was a favorite of staff. And then when it kicked off he announced an on the spot ornament contest … each person was to use stuff in their cubicle or the nearby office supply stash to fashion an ornament.

        There was a time limit (I think 5 minutes) and it was judged at the luncheon. So it was designed to NOT require a lot of time, or effort bringing in stuff and was just something silly people could do with whatever creativity they felt like bringing. There were a few paper clip daisy chains or mini-sculptures, or things fashioned with sticky notes, but it was fine if someone just wanted to loop a paper clip ‘hanger’ through a postcard and call it a day, but a few people were remarkably creative coming up with stuff. IIRC the prize was something small like a $10 gift card to the local coffee shop, so it wasn’t big stakes either.

        That same company also had a big Holiday Party, that was a whole night out in the nearest city. It was a “do” but it was also kind of annoying in that it was a command performance for many employees – you were expected to show up and not leave early and were expected to turn out elegantly. So for many who were over-scheduled already, it was entire Saturday night they had to spend on work stuff (in addition to the 50, 60+ hours they already put in), plus transportation to get there, plus parking if you drove, plus whatever you were wearing if you didn’t already have something appropriate, plus a caregiver if you had someone at home who couldn’t be left alone (kid, elder, etc) Sure there was a meal and 2 drinks tickets and music, but that didn’t make up for mandatory attendance on the weekend and the stress of being judged on your schmoozing ability (you couldn’t just go with a partner/friend and enjoy the night … that would get you a demerit)

        So lowkey lunch was much more enjoyable.

        1. That'sNotMyName*

          Wow. That really spans the spectrum of “delightful, low-key fun” to “I’d sooner quit than attend”.

    3. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      I’m the president of my son’s elementary school PTO and we had a Trunk it Treat at try school last week. People assumed I LOVE Halloween. Not at all, but there would be a riot if we didn’t do something. Only two more years and he’ll be in middle school and I can happily just pass out candy on Halloween and be done with it.

      I don’t begrudge people who love it, but I feel people get almost offended if you don’t also love it. Like you’re some stick in the mud because you don’t want to wear a costume to work. I’m fun, I just don’t get into Halloween.

      1. Goldie*

        That’s for being the PTA President and organizing something for your kids’ school. I appreciate the heck out of your hard work!

        1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

          Thanks! I hate it less than I thought I would, because I’m the opposite of a typical PTO mom. I was basically guilted into it because the PTO was only going to be my neighbor if I didn’t step in, lol.

      2. lilsheba*

        My mom was a complete halloween grinch. I never understood that, how can someone hate it that much? but it had the opposite effect on me and I’ve celebrated the hell out of halloween my whole adult life. My house is filled with witches/skulls/pumpkins everywhere.

        1. Librarian of SHIELD*

          I am the Halloween grinch. I hate being scared. I never even read Goosebumps when I was a kid even though everybody in my class loved them. Even some of the tamer decorations can startle me and I’ve been low-key rattled for weeks. I can’t wait for this day to be over so people can take down their decorations and my blood pressure can go back to normal.

          It’s not that I don’t want people to have fun. Scary things just cause a physiological response in me that I don’t enjoy and can’t turn off.

          1. lilsheba*

            I actually don’t do anything that’s scary honestly. It’s mainly witches pumpkins and skulls, that dance and do cute songs lol.

            1. Hannah Lee*

              That’s great for you.
              But there are many many other people who much much more elaborate in their celebration and who ALSO as Keely Jones TIW mentioned “get almost offended if you don’t also love it. ” when people don’t share their enthusiasm.

        2. That'sNotMyName*

          The “people get almost offended if you don’t also love it” continues to move me closer to “grinch” territory every year. “It’s not really my thing.” or some other neutral response is not enough for some enthusiasts. Occasionally, they’ll go so far as to claim that me not wanting to dress up, etc is “ruining their fun” when it literally has no interaction with them.

    4. Grace*

      We did an (optional) charity Halloween bake sale last week, and some people wore Halloween-themed outfits (black and orange, spiderweb-looking lace etc) and others just wore their normal clothes and put on ears or witch hat headbands for the intranet photos if they chose to

      I wasn’t sure how dressed up folks would be, so I did my go-to – I have very long dark hair, so I just wear a white dress. Low-key or commuting, stick a comfortable cardigan over it and tie my hair up. Halloween or photo time, take my hair down and shake it out over my face, and suddenly my costume is “The Ring/every ghost girl in a 2000s J-horror remake”

    5. Eldritch Office Worker*

      My office would definitely be the kind to go full ham on Halloween if we could – I think it’s fun. But since there’s so much client facing work people usually opt for easily removable costumes (hats, no gorey makeup, low key things) and we have a lunch where we go a little spooky with the decorations. It’s definitely a know your culture and your workstreams thing.

    6. Cassandra Mortmain*

      I’ve never really understood adult Halloween, I think because I grew up in a time/place when Halloween was a kid holiday with an off-ramp (it was expected that you would “grow out of” Halloween by high school) and Halloween yard decorations were not as common as they are now.

      I was very surprised in college and after when Halloween came roaring back into my life! I certainly don’t mind it (I love pumpkin-flavored stuff and I get a lot of enjoyment from my city’s Halloween decorations) and I don’t want to stomp on anyone who takes joy in the holiday. But it would never occur to me to mark it at work in any way beyond aww-ing at photos of costumed kids and pets.

    7. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      Amen! If people want to decorate, it should be optional, not made into some weird competition, and kept relatively low key! I have enough actual work at work and Halloween and other holidays are part of my personal life and personal time and I prefer it not be made into a work obligation as well.

      Also, many people have good reasons to be turned off by macabre imagery, and even if they don’t have a “good” reason, they really don’t need one. Just do that in a situation where you know everyone else is likeminded (which is never at work)!

  6. Aphrodite*

    We have a Halloween potluck tomorrow (which is another issue in itself) and I will be wearing just a black dress and battery powered fairy lights wrapped around my hair like a wreath; the small battery pack will have silk autumn leaves taped to it to hide it. And (other than my Covid mask) that’s it.

    1. Sorrischian*

      Oh very cool!

      My concession to my coworkers’ insistence that everyone dress up for our own Halloween potluck will be an all black oitfit, red eyeliner, and black lipstick. Enough that no one can complain that I’m “not getting into the spirit of the activity”, but nothing that takes more than five minutes to put on or take off.

      1. Nobby Nobbs*

        Potlucks in general are fraught for some people. I love ‘em, but I’ve got no food restrictions and am willing to take the risk that not everything I eat was prepared in a sanitary environment. Not everybody’s in the same boat on those things, and that’s reasonable.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Where I live now, potlucks aren’t much of a worry for me, but when I lived in the gulf coast area me and my deadly seafood allergy avoided potlucks like the plague.

          For a lot of us with (severe) food allergies pot lucks can be scary because we don’t know what you made, and what you have made previously in your kitchen that we may be allergic to.

        2. lilsheba*

          I think it’s still a dumb idea to have any kind of potluck while the pandemic is still very much in force!

          1. Nobby Nobbs*

            So do I, but my concern is more about the eating indoors (unmasked) with a bunch of (unmasked) people than anything specific to a potluck over other kinds of meals.

      2. allathian*

        Potlucks in general are an issue in themselves. I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable eating food prepared by non-professionals again when I have no idea of how hygienic their kitchens are. I trust my family and friends, but I have no reason to trust my coworkers to the same extent. Granted, Covid isn’t spread as a food contagion, but plenty of other diseases are.

      3. ScruffyInternHerder*

        At FirstJob, the issue that frequently arose was that the lowest paid, literal not much more than kids, brand new to the professional working world, always wound up bringing appropriate potluck quantities; while those who were further along in their careers, better paid, and quite frankly, had enough life experience to know it was a $hit move, “forgot” but still participated.

        1. Notluck*

          Yeah, this goes along with the “potluck classism” comment I was going to make. Potlucks usually fail to take into account that, typically, not everyone gets paid the same in a business.

          So where “please spend a minimum of $30*” is less than 15 minutes’ pay for our engineers, it’s over two hours’ pay for min-wage me. If I still lived in my home state and worked the same job for their min-wage, it’d be nearly half a day’s pay for me. That’s not taking into account all the time and fuel I’d waste getting the food. And, no, “just make it cheaper from scratch” is not an option when I’m working close to 60 hours a week at day job and then trying to piece my life together and find a new job on my weekends and evenings. Again: that’s time I’ll never get back. And not everything is cheaper from scratch.

          *I’ve seen potlucks go this high. Unsurprisingly, they were organized by the higher-ups, who make more in a year than I’ve made in the last twenty.

          1. doreen*

            I’ve never seen a potluck with a minimum spending amount – it’s always just been “sign up for what you are bringing so that everyone doesn’t bring paper goods and soda and we don’t have any actual food”. But I’ve also never seen one organized by higher-ups – it’s always been the lower paid employees.

            1. Hannah Lee*

              Well not setting a minimum spending amount, that is how you wind up with somebody bringing the Cheap A– Rolls!

            2. Notluck*

              I suspect the minimum spending limit was due to too many people bringing the equivalent of the legendary cheap-ass rolls mentioned below, but it made me feel the opposite of better about taking part!

          2. I should really pick a name*

            You had potlucks with minimum spending amounts?!
            That’s ridiculous.

            It’s one thing to say bring enough to feed X people, but a dollar amount? My mind is boggled.

            1. Notluck*

              I think it’s because there were too many potlucks where people just brought a six-pack of Coke cans, or a box of crackers, or cheap-ass rolls. But it was NOT a good solution to people being cheap!

      4. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        For me, potlucks are difficult because I have a set of dietary restrictions that make it unlikely I will be able to eat pretty much anything anyone else brought. I can easily contribute something that I can eat, and then maybe get a few potato chips if The Person Who Brought Just A Bag Of Chips got plain rather than flavored ones, but I can’t really “participate” in the sense of eating little bits of a bunch of things and complimenting everyone on their cooking. This leads to everyone remarking about how little I’m eating and then trying to “solve” my “problem” at me, which is neither helpful nor fun.

        I’m allergic to a common vegetable and a common spice. “Natural flavors” can be a problem for me in processed food, and I can’t risk, say, taking an otherwise-safe veggie from a veggie tray if my allergen is also on the tray, or eating a soup if I don’t know every single spice that went in it. I will also get an airborne reaction if other people are eating the vegetable I’m allergic to depending on distance and ventilation.

        I am no fun whatsoever at food-based things, and potlucks are Hard Mode since I have no way of knowing what kinds of foods will be at them in advance or working with the organizer to try and order things that won’t set off the airborne allergic reaction like I can if we order from a restaurant. It’s not that I expect every food thing to be a perfect fit for me, it’s just that I want to be able to gracefully opt out of food things since they pretty much always won’t work for me, and instead I work in an office where people will keep “finding” me to make sure I don’t “miss out” on the potluck.

      5. bicality*

        For all the reasons people mention… and then there’s me, who panics at potlucks because I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about whether there will be “enough” of each course. I much prefer potlucks where you sign up in advance to bring X dish (or app/entree/dessert), or they’re pre-assigned based on the first letter of your last name or something.

  7. Decidedly Me*

    I just interacted with someone who is dressed up at her job for Halloween and my partner and I thought it was great! Having a job that interacts with the public seems like a great reason to dress up (if you want and of course keeping job context in mind) rather than being a reason not to.

    1. ARROWED!*

      I’ve even had a doctor dressed up and it was fine. It helps that he was dressed as a (fictional) doctor, I suppose. The only issue was how long it took me to catch on. I spent half my visit going, this doctor is usually clean shaven, what is up with the 3 day stubble? Eventually noticed the “House” name tag and pill bottle in his shirt pocket.

        1. Nightengale*

          I’m not dressing up this year because Monday is my paperwork from home day, but I’m a pediatrician who uses a cane, and when I dress up for work, I dress up the cane. For example – me as Mary Poppins, cane as umbrella. Me as Glinda the Good Witch, cane as wand.

      1. TiredButHappy*

        I work in a lab and I do lab friendly versions of my cosplay all the time for Halloween.

        But this year I have a medical appointment so I’ll be slapping some ears on and going on the bus. If I knew where my spirit gum and horns were I’d wear them.

      2. Dragon*

        I heard of a hospital radiologist who dressed up as a werewolf at work. A young boy saw him and asked his mother,”Mommy, did that man have too much radiation?”

    2. Luna*

      I’m off work today on Hallowe’en, so I can’t wear my cat ears to work. I did wear them on Saturday, the 29th. Not really for Hallowe’en, but I think it sorta was considered okay because the mall I work in was having a celebration thing going on. So, an employee in one of the mall’s stores wearing cat ears was probably seen as just ‘part of the fest’. Pity, I was kinda hoping people would laugh seeing me wear cat ears or otherwise comment on them. No such thing. Oh, well.

      1. DataGirl*

        I wore my hair bows and braids (Dorothy costume) out to run errands on Saturday because I thought it was cute, even with street clothes. I did get some weird looks and one person asked who I was going to be for Halloween. I guess they were pretty big bows.

        I’ve got my braids in for work today so I don’t have to do my hair tonight- no comments so far.

    3. Fives*

      Dressing up is optional for us (we’re not public-facing). Today I’m wearing my normal work clothes but with a magnetized Baby Groot on my shoulder.

    4. Julia*

      I’m a librarian and I’m wearing a wig with curled horns with my regular work outfit. Think the comic “Saga.” I always dress up in some way on Halloween but I try and keep it within the concept of clothes someone might wear. I’ve done red riding hood with a red hooded cape over a ren faire outfit (not “bar wench” like). I did “Devil in a blue dress” where I indeed had a blue dress and some devil horns & going to hell in a handbasket (mostly just a small basket with devilish items in it). My most elaborate was a time traveling librarian (vaguely steampunk).

      One of my favorites was a bad stereotype of a librarian. Frumpy outfit with a cardigan held on with a sweater chain. Hair pulled back in a bad bun. My librarian coworkers loaned me additional accessories. Everyone cracked up and my library director posed for pictures with me shushing her.

    5. cleo*

      I had to renew my drivers license on Halloween one year. Almost all of the staff at the DMV were in costumes and I loved it! Definitely the most fun I’ve ever had at the DMV.

    6. WhiskyTangoFoxtrot*

      I’m public facing and definitely went over the top on my costume this year: Victorian dress complete with bustle and feathered bonnet. Co-workers and clients have been very interested in the whole outfit. (Meanwhile, I’m counting down the hours until I can unlace my corset!)

  8. Magenta Sky*

    Just as a thought for OP #5: My brother once won a prize for best Halloween costume dressed as . . . Santa Claus.

    Of course, he was about eight at the time.

    1. curly sue*

      There’s a retired fellow in my neighbourhood who has a regular gig as Local Mall Santa during the holiday season. He cracks the costume out every Hallowe’en as well, and gives out candy canes. The kids absolutely adore him!

    2. Dragon*

      A friend of mine who had a Santa suit, fell back on it one year when she ran out of time to come up with another costume. As she walked along the street to her office, somebody yelled, “Hey, Santa, aren’t you a little early?“

    3. Catosaur*

      My mom used to help make costumes for school plays and we kept most of the ones she made. I was definitely a Christmas tree for Halloween at least once.

  9. Silverose*

    Halloween masquerade ball back in college, I went dressed in khakis and a sweater – essentially my everyday clothes at the time. Every time some snooty girl asked “What are YOU supposed to be?” I deadpanned an answer of “I’m a witch.” Sometimes I added on “we look just like you” if they gave me any more negative pushback about my apparent lack of a costume. Yup, I was the laziest Pagan in the country that year, but a friend coerced me into going last minute because they didn’t want to go alone.

    1. Eff Walsingham*

      One year my roommate and I had both been ill the week before Hallowe’en. We wanted to go out, but were still experiencing a lot of fatigue. Basically I wore her varsity jacket and a few other signature pieces, and went as my roommate, and she went as me. On campus, it worked.

      1. KateM*

        “Someone still a bit sick after covid going from house to house” sounds like a pretty scary costume, too.

      1. LilPinkSock*

        My SO manages a restaurant, and two of his guests last night were Jake From State Farm and Flo From Progressive. He was making his usual table rounds checking in on everyone and asked them “How are you enjoying everything this evening? Great! So listen, I have some questions about my insurance if y’all can help”.

        Low-effort costumes, easily recognizable, nice couple concept!

  10. slashgirl*

    Most of the schools around here now discourage Halloween costumes for the kids (distraction, and what if something happens to it), but when we used to, some of the staff would dress up. I’d just wear my regular clothes and say I was dressed up as a librarian.

    Nobody got it unless I explained it, of course. I’m a Library Tech by training–and being a degree holding librarian (MLS) is different. I love Halloween, I’m just not into dressing up.

    1. Luna*

      Just quote Wednesday Addams. “I’m dressed as a serial killer. […] We look just like everyone else.”

      1. Hydrangea*

        I am currently dressed as Wednesday Addams, which is a very low key costume that someone might not key on to unless they realize how out of character my clothing is for me. I am waiting for someone to ask if I am in costume so I can say this to them.

    2. Snow Globe*

      A friend of mine is an elementary teacher, and her school has a “dress like your favorite book character” day on October 31. Not officially Halloween related. But many book characters dress just like anyone else, so if you aren’t into that…

      1. Christmas Carol*

        One year the librarians hijacked Halloween at the elementary school where a worked, and decreed that everyone must come costumes as someone from Michigan history. I just took the day off, and claimed that I was dressed as Jimmy Hoffa.

    3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Just returned from the school drop off for Mini Orchestra, their school is permitting costumes without masks this year. The rundown of what I saw:
      – Cat in the Hat
      – ghosts
      – Glenda the Good Witch
      -Wicked Witch of the West
      – Dead Monk (thought this one was poor taste)
      – Braveheart (this guy is very proudly Scottish, so his most formal kilt and blouse with an empty claymore scabbard and greaves over his socks with empty ankle scabbards)

      -lots of Hogwarts cloaks
      – cats
      – Mario & Luigi
      – cowboys
      – witches
      – firefighters
      – Thing 1 and Thing 2 (cat in the hat characters)

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        For the record, the only reason it think the Dead Monk is in poor taste is the guy had a blood line with drops all the way round his neck and the head painted ashen like it had been removed and stuck back on. Felt that was too much for an elementary school – middle school or higher, I wouldn’t have cared. It was a know your audience sort of distaste.

      2. curmudgeon*

        Please tell me Very Scottish Guy was historically accurate Braveheart and not the mishmash of historical figures that was the movie…

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          He’s the fourth and fifth grade history teacher, and his scabbards looked real. He also wears kilts every Friday to work……

    4. a tester, not a developer*

      My son’s grade school had a lot of kids that were new to Canada; many of them were refugees. The school stopped doing costumes about a decade ago – apparently some poor little one was absolutely traumatized when one of their friends came in covered in fake blood.

    5. OyHiOh*

      My kids schools have dress like a character day today. No blood/gore, no weapons, no culturally inappropriate/appropriation, no masks that prevent id’ing a student.

      I have one who went as a movie character, and two who made up their characters, complete with elaborate backstories.

      My work is all business. There are a couple silly black and orange sparkly holiday hats on headbands sort of things floating around, but it’s otherwise business as usual.

  11. Luna*

    LW1 – It doesn’t matter if those aren’t actually dead people, manager. It’s disgusting and disturbing to have around you and to look at all day! Would they say the same thing, if the fake bodies in question were babies? Actually, why not do that? Grab some of those children Barbie dolls, undress them, splatter fake blood or red paint on them, and hang them from nooses off your computer monitor. Hey, it’s all part of Hallowe’en decoration. They aren’t *real* bodies!

    Okay, maybe don’t go that far. But the idea is good, to show a mirror to the manager’s face.

    LW2 – Call management in the middle of the night and hold the phone towards the children that have awoken, screaming, from nightmares.

    LW3 – I might wear professional clothes, with black as a prominent color, and maybe a witch hat. The hat would be taken off and kept out of sight during the interview, but you could put it back on as you leave. Shows that you can keep your head in the professional setting when needed, but still have a sense of fun.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      “Grab some of those children Barbie dolls, undress them, splatter fake blood or red paint on them, and hang them from nooses off your computer monitor.”

      I feel like that wouldn’t be terribly shocking in the context of the decorations already described.

      1. lilsheba*

        actually that’s a great idea and would make for some awesome photos. As a collector of creepy dolls and doll parts I like this.

    2. shuu_iam*

      If the coworkers are fine with gory decorations or even enjoy how “edgy” they are, they’d be unlikely to be phased by the gory decor being babies rather than adults. If anything, it might encourage further attempts to compete for the most gruesome decor.

      (Speaking as someone who enjoys walking through haunted houses with an expression of bemused fascination. I wouldn’t inflict those kinds of things on others, but it’s all plastic and paint to me.)

    3. Meep*

      I laughed at your reaction to LW1. I get not everyone likes gore, but both of you are grossly overreacting to obviously fake blood.

      1. Jennifer Strange*

        People have the right to work in an area without having to be surrounded by fake limbs and blood. People could even have trauma you don’t know about that makes being around such things even worse. I say that as someone who has no issues with blood (fake or real) and enjoys horror movies.

      2. Luna*

        It’s not the fake blood that’s an issue, it’s how overdone it is. I’ve worked with fake blood used for movies, and it was really not that gruesome when used. But they are going way overboard on the decorating.

        I personally don’t care for holiday decorations, anyway. Other people can go ahead and do it if they want to, but not too much.

    4. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      Yeah, I agree with regard to LW1. Many people have good reasons to be turned off by macabre imagery, and even if they don’t have a “good” reason, they really don’t need one. Just do that in a situation where you know everyone else is likeminded (which is never at work)! The boss needs to see that just cause they like it fine, it doesn’t mean it is ok to make anyone else there uncomfortable, especially since it is not related to the job.

  12. BubbleTea*

    I took my toddler to a Halloween party this weekend and was delighted that amidst the sea of skeletons, witches, and pumpkin after pumpkin after pumpkin, there was another parent-child couple costume based on a Disney film! We acknowledged each other’s costumes and it was just a cute moment.

    Without my toddler around, I was just dressed the exact opposite of normal (I usually wear brightly coloured skirts, and my costume was dark coloured trousers and a top the same colour). So it was basically two costumes in one!

    1. Come On Eileen*

      I love that! I live with my sister and her three year old, and the three year old is SUPER into dinosaurs. So my sis made her a dinosaur costume and us two adults bought our own dinosaur costumes, so we will be three happy dinosaurs walking around trick or treating tonight.

  13. philmar*

    I went to the Capuchin catacombs in Palermo this weekend. Talk about getting in the Hallowe’en spirit. The most over the top grisly decorations are nothing compared to the looming skeletons and the perfectly preserved child. It made me not want to do anything for Hallowe’en at all.

    1. DammitMeredith*

      I’ve been there, and it’s definitely…something else. It is an extremely…extreme? exhibit to tour, regardless of them preserving the skeletons out of respect. I had to really grit my teeth to get through it with my family.

  14. Kiwi*

    I’m starting a new job today, and while I’m definitely not dressing up I did buy a pair of Halloween slippers to wear since I work from home :)

  15. toolittletoolate*

    I really miss when Halloween was a time when kids wore bumble bee, superhero, and princess costumes and laughed and giggled while getting candy from the neighbors. I enjoy holidays as much as anyone, but the way Halloween has become this gruesome, over the top celebration of horror and fear has changed the event. Sure if adults want to have a horror costume party, by all means go for it, but I have seen too many children crying because the scare factor is just too high with Halloween decorations and who answers the door for trick or treat.

    1. JustKnope*

      I’m curious when this mythical time was that you seem to be imagining when Halloween was all innocent fun for the kiddos and never had to do with scary themes? Children still dress up as bumble bees and superhero’s and go to kid-friendly events like Zoo Boos or door to door trick or treating. And for the adults who enjoy gore, there are those options too. Sorry to be snarky but I get tired of the “back in MY DAY when things were BETTER” complaining. It’s always been like this. I remember 30 years ago when I was a kid being scared to go up to someone’s door for trick or treating because of their decorations but we just… skipped their house. Some people like spooky stuff and that’s fine.

      1. alienor*

        I think it comes from nostalgic movies and retro Halloween aesthetics on Pinterest. I was trick or treating age in the late 70s and early 80s, and I definitely remember terrifying costumes and decorations and haunted houses…and a quick Google Images search of “vintage Halloween costumes” will bring up stuff from my grandparents’ day that’s enough to give you nightmares!

        1. Nobby Nobbs*

          I was trick or treating age in the nineties and aughts, and I remember different tolerances for scary within the same group being the biggest pain. It was probably a bigger pain for my anxious and five years younger sister, in hindsight! And yeah, the kids in my neighborhood are still doing superheroes and cowboys more often than anything genuinely scary.

        2. SimonTheGreyWarden*

          I was trick-or-treating in the mid 80s and definitely went as a vampire Barbie complete with trickles of blood one year.

      2. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

        I agree with toolittletoolate. When I was a kid only kids got dressed up and went door to door without parents! People had a pumpkin and not much else. When the candy ran out, the outdoor lights were turned off and nobody rang the doorbell or TP the house. It was strictly a day for kids. Slowly it turned into the current gore and horror fest with pop-up Halloween stores that we see now. Halloween has become a big business like Christmas and Valentines Day.

          1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

            Maybe it was boring but it was safe. Growing up with trauma, I don’t want to re-live it for the “laughs”.

            1. Observer*

              So? That doesn’t mean that your childhood, even assuming your recollection is accurate, is THE standard by which the entire world is judged, or that it is cose to being universal or even common.

              1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

                My recollection of my childhood is accurate since I lived it. There are many different kinds of childhood so I don’t judge people for something that they had no control over. Some had idyllic white picket fence childhoods while others lived a Dickensian novel existence.

        1. No, you don't*

          I bet you also hiked five miles to school every day in the snow, uphill both ways, didn’t you?

          1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

            Actually, it was 15 minute walk both ways no matter what the weather. -40 windchill? Put on another scarf.

      3. Esmeralda*

        Yeah, I was a kid in the 60s, teen in the 70s. Ghost, gypsy (wouldn’t do that one now of course), hobo (ditto), vampire with fake blood, zombie, witch, dead waitress (that was a teen costume), pack of gum, biker, ax murderer (also a teen costume)…

      4. Leah*

        Totally. I’m a child of the 70’s-80’s and absolutely remember kids dressing as zombies, dead people, axe murderers, and the like. With some kids being animals, doctors, fairies, etc.

      5. Global Cat Herder*

        Late 60s – Early 70s trick-or-treater here.

        For really small kids, the store-bought costumes with the plastic full-face masks were big. About fourth grade, though, fake blood became HUGE: the more tubes of fake blood you managed to use, the better. Lots of vampires, zombies, axe murderers. Junior high was the very upper limit for trick-or-treating; high schoolers would be ostracized.

        About half the houses had no decorations, or just a pumpkin on the stoop. Half had very creepy decorations, some scary enough that little kids wouldn’t go up to the house. Fake body parts strewn about the yard type of decorations. I distinctly remember multiple houses where the “mad scientist” adult would only give us candy if we first went through the “haunted lab” (their decorated garage) including sticking hands in boxes where peeled grapes = eyeballs, cold spaghetti = intestines or brains or worms.

        Horror on Halloween is not something that’s new in the last 50 years.

    2. londonedit*

      See that’s weird to me because in my (southern regions of the UK) experience, Halloween costumes have always been…well, Halloween themed. You don’t just dress up as anything, you dress up in something spooky or horror-related, like a ghost or a zombie or a witch or whatever. Trick-or-treating in the American sense is a relatively recent import to our shores (historically we’ve had regional things like ‘guising’ etc on Halloween, and ‘penny for the Guy’ on Bonfire Night, where kids would make an effigy of Guy Fawkes and parade it around knocking on doors asking people for a penny, but not the Halloween trick-or-treat sweets and jack o’lanterns and whatnot until fairly recently) but kids will pretty much universally be dressed in something Halloween themed. You might get the odd princess or superhero but generally it’s witches and black cats and ghosts. And adults going to Halloween parties will dress as zombies or serial killers or put on some devil horns or whatever.

      1. MsSolo UK*

        Yeah, I’ve always found the US side of bit weird – over here you’d have to be a scary bumblebee or zombie princess as a kid, or you’d just be in fancy dress rather than hallowe’en dress up. You can be a cute scary thing, but it’s still got to be scary.

        You don’t get as much trick-or-treating because it’s dark (and usually cold and wet) by 4pm at hallowe’en, and you have to be in a very specific kind of suburbia to have multiple families in walking distance of each other’s houses to make it worth while; I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone to go trick-or-treating to a house where they weren’t close friends with the kids that lived there (you’d never go to a house without kids).

        It was always hallowe’en parties when I was a kid, often held by school – fancy dress, novelty music, some kind of game, age appropriate scary movie, bright green food colouring in all the snacks. As you get older they move to being at someone’s house, with underage alcohol and scarier movies.

        1. londonedit*

          Yeah, trick-or-treating is still pretty controversial on the local Facebook groups where I live (mainly because teenagers like to use the dark/cold/wet as cover for egging people’s houses) but it’s mainly organised by parents at the local schools – a few parents will volunteer to take a small group of kids round and they’ll basically be going to houses where they already know people, or to houses with decorations up. It totally wasn’t a thing in my Westcountry childhood in the 1980s/early 90s, though – Bonfire Night was big but no one did Halloween, not even a school party. I remember attempting to trick-or-treat around our village with a friend one year because we’d seen it on American TV programmes and literally no one knew what we were talking about. And we hadn’t considered the fact that no one would have actually bought in sweets or whatever, so people didn’t really have anything to give us anyway!

      2. Irish Teacher*

        Yeah, in my experience in Ireland, the whole princess/bumblebee thing is a pretty new thing and possibly influenced by US films, etc. I don’t remember anybody dressing as non-Halloween themed things when I was a child, though admittedly, I was probably taking little notice and with Halloween not being a schoolday here, I would have seen less people’s costumes anyway.

        Trick-or-treating has been a thing for centuries in Ireland, I believe, though it wasn’t always called that, but dressing up and going door-to-door and getting sweets or money on both Halloween and St. Stephen’s day (day after Christmas) have been traditions for…I don’t know how long, but you are definitely talking centuries. Doing it on St. Stephen’s day is dying out, I think. I’ve seen like one group of “Wren Boys” in the last five or ten years, but then I live in an urban area and I think it’s more a rural thing anyway.

        But when I was a kid (we didn’t go wrenning; like I said, that tends to be more rural) but Halloween meant dressing up in a scary mask and finding something at home to go with it – a black plastic bag as a witch’s costume or turning a fur-lined jacket inside out to be a werewolf or monster or when we did a Halloween disco at school, I dressed in red and black with a devil mask and a trident.

        You would also get money as well as sweets, apples and nuts when you were trick-or-treating.

      3. Critical Rolls*

        I get the impression we have fewer costume-wearing occasions in the U.S., so we are obliged to shoehorn our bumblebee and princess impulses into the same day as our zombies and witches. Random costume parties are, in my experience, *very* unusual (which is probably a factor in why Americans are so thoroughly confused be the term “fancy dress party” — it’s statistically much more likely to be a formal affair than a costume party).

        1. londonedit*

          Yeah, we do love fancy dress. Especially as students – practically every university party/even sometimes random nights out will have a fancy dress theme, and it’s very common for people to have a themed birthday party if it’s a big birthday (so you’d do 80s if you’re turning 40, or 60s if you’re turning 60, or whatever) or for hen/stag parties to have a fancy dress theme. And there’s a whole thing where people dress up for charity at the drop of a hat, especially if they’re doing something like running a half-marathon or a marathon for charity. So Halloween is…Halloween themed!

        2. Caramel & Cheddar*

          I remember the first time I heard the term “fancy dress” in a UK context and was baffled when it showed people in random costumes and not black tie clothing.

        3. Cassandra Mortmain*

          Yeah, Halloween is essentially the *only* occasion for fancy dress in the US, outside of maybe themed college parties (not sure if kids even still do those, since when I was in college in the mid-aughts the theme was always some variation of “women show as much skin as possible and men wear normal clothes”).

    3. Hound Dog*

      When was this so-called time? Because as a kid in the 90s, I distinctly remember kids dressing as zombies, mummies, Freddy Kruger, Jason Vorhees, mixed in with Batman and Cinderella and witches. I’ve got pics of my mom trick-or-treating in the 60s with one of those fake knife headbands and fake blood on her face. Halloween decorations ran the gamut of a single fake spiderweb in the window to completely OTT displays that’d put a movie set to shame.

      You notice the horror elements more *now* because you’re an adult. Trust me, they were always there before.

      1. Esmeralda*

        Yes. They were there in the 60s and 70s too, I remember them. There were always houses that went all out. And plenty of gory and scary costumes.

        1. ScruffyInternHerder*

          Confirming the 80s as well! Definitely there. One house in particular went all out – I had zero qualms about marching up that driveway at age 5 because my babysitter lived there so I somehow could process that?

          Nobody batted an eye about “teenagers” trick or treating in the neighborhood I grew up in, nor in the neighborhood where we currently live. They’re enjoying their childhood, the last of it, and I’m happy to provide them the candy to enjoy it with!

        2. doreen*

          And it wasn’t only little kids trick-or-treating , who might be expected to dress as a bumble bee or a not-terribly scary skeleton or witch or zombie. Trick-or-treaters went up to 13 or 14( they might have been accompanying younger siblings) and it was that older group that had the gory/scary costumes.

      2. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

        This is true. I found some very horrifying rubber masks in my grandma’s attic back in the 80’s

        I will say back then we only had trick or treating on Halloween, and maybe one other event. Now it feels like there’s something every weekend starting mid-September. By the time actual Halloween rolls around I feel people who don’t LOVE it are kinda done.

      3. Cassandra Mortmain*

        It’s also possible you don’t remember Halloween horror as a kid because it was explicitly forbidden. I had forgotten about it until this thread, but my elementary school definitely had a zero-gore policy for costumes worn at school.

    4. urguncle*

      This seems to be a case of rosy retrospection. I definitely remember houses that I wouldn’t trick or treat at as a kid because they were just too scary, kids being asked to go home in elementary school because their costumes were too gruesome and even school trips to haunted cornmazes.

    5. MCMonkeyBean*

      Nothing has changed, different people have always celebrated it differently. There are plenty of cute costumes and decorations and plenty of gruesome costumes and decorations and that is how it has been for ages. If you are seeing a change I’m sure that’s just down to who you are surrounded by now and what they like, not a major cultural shift.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        This. It’s common to conflate “the world has changed” with “my experience and surroundings have changed”…but I remember the gruesome stuff in the 90s as a kid. It’s all what you’re exposed to.

    6. Observer*

      but the way Halloween has become this gruesome, over the top celebration of horror and fear has changed the event.

      This is not a new thing at ALL.

      When I was in HS, most of us walked home at the end of the day – and w finished close to 5:00 which meant that it was either dark or close to it. For the most part, it was fine although we generally tried to walk in pairs or groups. But on Halloween, the school made us all go home by bus – getting eggs and even rocks thrown at us as a “Halloween celebration” was a real issue. And this was not about someone going into a panic about an imagined threat – we had LOTS of eggs and some rocks thrown at our bus.

    7. Raven*

      Hallowe’en is literally meant to be scary/ghoulish.*
      I don’t get people trying to continually sanitise a festival that fundamentally isn’t about bumblebees and princesses. Of course kids can do whatever they want, but it’s just plain wrong to pretend it was ever anything else.

      * Hallowe’en is a pre-christian observance, meant to recognise the time when the veil between this world and others was at its thinnest. It was thought that creatures such as witches etc. could come through and that dressing up as them would hide your mortality and protect you. Not how it’s seen now but interesting nonetheless.

    8. CheetoFingers*

      As someone who grew up near Detroit in the 80s, I have no idea what time you’re referring to. Halloween was quite literally lit.

        1. CheetoFingers*

          I was shocked when I moved out of state and no one knew about Devil’s Night. We had a gentler version where I lived-mostly TPing friend’s houses or putting random things in mailboxes. On Halloween itself people went all out but it was still a festive atmosphere, and trick or treating was on Halloween proper whenever it got dark. I did know some very religious folks that didn’t celebrate amd they would leave their lights off so kids knew to pass by. No one minded-to each his own.

    9. It's Always Been About Horror*

      Horror and Halloween have *always* been an interconnected thing.

      “The witch is dead, and this is her head….”

      –The October Game, Ray Bradbury (1948)

      (Highly recommend reading this short horror story, which is easily searched up. Just be aware that it is rather disturbing, and that people love to completely misinterpret this tale. It literally opens with the husband choosing not to murder his wife with a gun because he wants her to suffer first, yet multiple reviews have posted it’s a story about a man who truly loves his family and just feels a bit overwhelmed. The story leans heavily on implying that he forced himself on his wife to get her pregnant, but since it doesn’t use the word “r*pe,” it seems like almost no one picks up on that, either. Nope, he’s just a good hardworking American family man with a bit of seasonal depression! /s)

  16. EPLawyer*

    Alison, why the different advice for 1 and 4. While agree the cube neighbor could tone it down, it really seems more of an attitude about what Halloween decorations should be in the office rather than creeped out by the decorations. OP1 thinks it should be pumpkins and garland and rather sedate. The rest of the office has a different idea. They aren’t client facing and they aren’t inviting the kids in, why shouldn’t OP1 also not be too judgmental of what others choose to do? Just because OP thinks it should just be pumpkins because its a PROFESSIONAL OFFICE does not mean they are the sole judge of how to decorate.

    1. Nikki*

      LW1 said they found the decorations disturbing and didn’t want to spend weeks working in that environment. That’s more than being judgemental about decorating choices, that’s feeling uncomfortable to the point that it’s difficult to work. If someone’s decorations are affecting a coworker’s ability to focus on their job, something needs to change. LW4 was not having trouble doing their job, they just didn’t want to be forced to participate. That’s why the advice is different.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        There’s a world of nuance between severed heads and a culture of office costumes. I don’t think Alison would have included both letters if she disagreed with one of them now.

        1. MCMonkeyBean*

          I agree. I do think LW is being a bit too judgmental with “what is wrong with these people?” but I also think that over-the-top gruesome Halloween decorations that any reasonable person may find disturbing don’t belong in the office. Especially at a place that decorates for weeks and not just a day or two. Their letter has at its core beneath the judgment a real issue that needs addressing. LW4 has already been handling things reasonably with their witch hat so there isn’t much advice needed on that one.

      2. Librarian of SHIELD*

        No. It’s the difference between someone who doesn’t care what their coworkers do for the singular day of Halloween and just doesn’t want to participate herself, and someone who is actively disturbed and upset by gory decorations that are going to be up in the office for a minimum of several days, possibly even weeks. The two letter writers had different levels of discomfort so they received two different answers.

    2. Lilo*

      I can’t be the only person who was in a bad accident and doesn’t like gore as a result. Expecting someone to work around genuinely upsetting decorations is not okay.

    3. Shiara*

      LW1 does not think gore and hanging bodies belong in a professional office for an extended period of time. They’re largely right, as different people have different levels of comfort with that sort of thing, and that’s without someone having a really tragic reason to be deeply uncomfortable with it and not comfortable sharing.

      LW4 thinks costumes for one day are inherently unprofessional, but has a work around that works for her. If her problem was that everyone was dressing in really gorey or work inappropriate costumes that would be one thing, but she sonce she doesn’t specify it seems like her problem is with pumpkin decoration level costumes.

      1. Antilles*

        Exactly. The tl;d summaries of each question would go something like this:
        OP1: I don’t want to be forced to stare at terrifying gore for weeks on end. What can I do to not be horrified in my office for 30 straight days?
        OP4: I don’t want to wear a costume for a single day in the entire year. I don’t mind the rest of the office doing it, but do I have to participate myself or can I just repeat my already-existing solution of carrying a witch’s hat?

        The situations are noticeably different, so the advice is different too.

    4. I am Emily's failing memory*

      I almost read it the same way you did – the LW spends more space in their letter focused on how it’s not appropriate or professional that you must almost miss the part where they called it disturbing to have to work around for weeks.

      I think maybe LW chose to go with “it’s not professional” rather than “it disturbs me” as sort of a appeal to authority that makes it not about them personally, which may have felt like stronger ground to stand on, because people might care to respect universal professional norms more than they would care to cater to her individual tastes.

      In reality, it’s the fact that they really find it disturbing and difficult to work around that makes it an issue worth raising. If they were simply judging all their coworkers as unprofessional and looking for someone to validate that belief then the answer would just be, “It’s okay for people to like things you don’t like, just let it go.” It’s only because/if it genuinely upsets someone that something is an issue.

    5. Ask a Manager* Post author

      OP1 doesn’t want to work around horror and gore, which is reasonable. OP4 doesn’t think anyone should wear costumes to work (no mention of gore). Two totally different things — one person is uncomfortable having to be around dark, macabre stuff this month. The other is focused on what is/isn’t professional and could be talking about bunny and pumpkin costumes for all we know! (Pumpkin was my best costume as a kid. My mom made it!)

    6. Observer*

      The issues with #1 and #4 are fundamentally different.

      Yes, #1 does seems to have a more sedate attitude than the rest of the office, but what they do describe is legitimately enough over the top that there is a good chance that they are not the only one bothered by it – especially since there are sounds and lights involved as well. What’s worse is that the #1 has no choice in the matter – they are being subjected an uncomfortable situation that they can’t get away from.

      If the only question in #4 was “Do I need to dress up?” I think that answer would be different. As it is, Alison is pretty clear that the OP doesn’t need to dress up, and that there is no reason why it should be a problem in any reasonable workplace. The reason There is a bit of a “party pooper” vibe to the answer is the extent to which the OP is on their high horse about their “principles” and how it is UNPROFESSIONAL to ever wear a costume, etc.

  17. Workerbee*

    #5 I was thinking for this one, the amount of corporate Christmas cards I’ve saved from companies is exactly zero. (Cards from coworkers or my team are different; those are personalized.) I am not even sure why corporations do this, now that I’m thinking about it. Though if it is also delivering a $ gift card in the envelope, fine! :)

  18. Oryx*

    I went to Starbucks drive through yesterday and after I placed my order I heard him randomly say to the woman behind me “Welcome to Starbucks my favorite movie is Black Swan. Go ahead when you’re ready.”

    When I finally got to the window I noticed he was wearing a black-feathered mask with a black beak and he then said to the person several cars behind “Welcome to Starbucks. My favorite movie is the Birdcage. Go ahead when you’re ready.” I don’t know how long he was planning on keeping the bit up but it made me chuckle.

  19. IndustriousLabRat*

    With regards to the Halloween decorations – We used to have an admin who did the totally over-the-top grisly stuff, including styrofoam meat-trays with severed hands. I had to take this directly to HR for a very good reason: I had recently been witness to a gruesome fatal car vs. bicycle accident, and could literally not even enter the admin office to retrieve items from the photocopier without going into a panic attack. HR immediately had the most offensive items removed. That admin was soon let go for (surprise) further massive lapses in professional judgement.

    You never know what might actively harm a colleague; I will always believe it best to keep decorations to the same G-rated level that one might hang in a Kindergarten.

  20. Bexy Bexerson*

    “for example, if you’re a doctor, you shouldn’t be giving patients bad news about their health while dressed as a giant banana or something”

    As a patient, I’d actually find this hilarious…but I’m also the type to crack jokes with my doctors and nurses, and even the worst news I’ve ever been given by a doctor was, although serious, not life-threatening.

    If I ever get super duper serious bad news from a doctor, I hope they’re wearing a banana costume.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Same. With all the bad doctor experiences I’ve had, that would make me so much more comfortable having a difficult conversation.

      1. Bexy Bexerson*

        It’s been awhile since I’ve rewatched Community…I might need to watch that episode with my teenager tonight. He loves the show even more than I do.

    2. Bunny Girl*

      I used to work in Vetmed and they allowed us to dress up for Halloween one year. I was assisting a doctor who had to go in and tell an owner her cat had cancer. The doctor was dressed like Scooby-Doo. She was head to toe dressed up. She didn’t bring anything to change in to.

      1. Bexy Bexerson*

        Oh man…there wasn’t even a spare set of old scrubs laying around somewhere that she could change into? I mean, if I had to get bad news about my dog, I’d be more than fine with the vet being in costume…but I totally understand that not everyone feels that way.

        Now I’m kicking myself for scheduling my dog’s grooming appointment for later this week instead of today. The staff at our vet clinic/grooming salon are a super fun bunch of folks, and I bet they’re rocking some cool costumes.

    3. Anonymous, colleagues who read here will recognize it*

      My son spent many halloweens at a pediatric day hospital. Silly costumes were *perfect* for that setting. I was ok discussing my son’s allergy to the chemo drug with a 6 foot tall chipmunk. Really, the allergy was the scary part…

    4. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

      I had a very severe illness that could have killed me and my doctor had to inform me on Halloween that I was being transferred to a different hospital and directly to ICU. His “costume” was a bow tie. I would have *loved* to have heard this news from a big banana. Partly because I’m a weirdo but also partly because I would have loved to have seen him squirm in the situation. This was over 20 years ago now and we have a good relationship. He’d probably agree- now- that it’d have been a hoot. Though, there are probably people who don’t want that news while their doctor is dressed as David S. Pumpkins, so it’s probably best to error on the side of caution.

      1. Cassandra Mortmain*

        Yeah, personally I love a costumed doctor, but if you’re the kind of doctor where giving Bad News is even a slight possibility that day, it’s probably a good idea to wear a costume you can quickly change out of.

      2. H2*

        I think that the thing is that the doctor being in costume really highlights that while for the patient this is a tragic, life-altering moment, for the doctor it’s a Monday and they’re going to step out of the room and drink punch and b!tch about the potluck with their coworkers. You know logically that it doesn’t have the same impact on both parties, and life goes on, whatever, but you don’t really want to be confronted with that.

  21. fort hiss*

    It’s always funny to me that Halloween is so completely embraced by American culture that we act like it isn’t a Christian religious holiday. At least most people will ruefully acknowledge ‘oh yeah, not everyone is Christian, not everyone celebrates Christmas’.
    Hell, Christians around here (I’m in the south) act like it’s an affront to them personally when it’s *their* holiday! I know the celebration of All Hallow’s Eve is not what it once was, and even that original holiday’s practices were largely taken from other religion’s celebrations like Samhain, but it’s been a Christian holiday for hundreds of years. Has the focus on costumes, candy, and horror outstripped the religious nature of it?

    To be clear, as a Halloween-loving atheist, I’m all for this. But it makes me wonder about public-facing jobs all dressing in costumes and things like that. How DO people of other religions feel around it?

    1. Lady_Lessa*

      For Catholics, Nov. 1 is actually a Day of Obligation when we are supposed to go to Mass to remember all the saints in heaven. So the religious aspect is still there.

      For evangelicals, they either forgot, never knew or it is part of their anti-Catholicism strain, so they think that Halloween is strictly pagan/demonic. (Yes, demons may be involved, but they should be running from the sword yielding saints).

      I enjoy the non-gory aspects and even well done gore. One of my neighbors, on a fairly busy road always has excellent decorations for those who drive past them. In past years, it included skeleton dogs treeing a skeleton cat.

      This year, they have skeletons decorating a Christmas shaped tree with pumpkins

        1. Lady_Lessa*

          Halloween is the Eve of All Saint’s day. After sunset, it is All Saint’s Day.

          FYI, Liturgically, Catholics follow the Jewish way of thinking of days, so it starts at or about sunset.

          1. nona*

            uh…I must have missed that day in CCD. Tho, I suppose that’s the justification for letting Saturday evening mass count for the Sunday obligation. Except, in the summer, the time isn’t adjusted to account for the longer days, so I’m giving this a little bit of side-eye.

            Are there any churches that actually over an evening mass on Oct 31 that satisfy the Nov 1/All Saints day of obligation?

            1. doreen*

              Actually, the rule ( in the US) is that the Mass must start after 4pm to count, not sunset and Masses after 4 pm on Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation still count toward the obligation, so it’s not exactly sunset-to sunset or even 4 pm to 4pm. I’m sure some parishes do have a vigil Mass on Halloween , and if they don’t it’s for practical reasons rather than because it’s not permitted. I don’t know if my parish had a vigil Mass on Halloween when I was a kid – but for other obligations, there was a Mass the evening before and a Mass the evening of the actual day. Now it’s one or the other, not both.

          2. NotMy(Fancy)RealName*

            Exactly. Back in the day when I went to a Catholic college, a lot of us went to Mass on Halloween and that fulfilled the Day of Obligation.

          3. Colette*

            I’m Catholic, and All Saint’s Day isn’t a day of obligation here.

            But the thing is that Halloween – as it is celebrated in North America – is not a religious celebration in any way. It’s possible that that’s how it started (putting aside that christianity took over the holiday from older belief systems, as they did with many holidays), but there’s nothing religious about dressing up as Sponge Bob and asking for candy.

            All Saints Day is religious. Halloween is not – and going to mass on Halloween does not make Halloween religious any more than going to mass on your dog’s birthday makes that a religious holiday.

    2. birch*

      This framing confuses me a bit… the current practice of Halloween has no religious symbology or practices and has even been forbidden by some of the more intense Christian sects. Sure, *some* people will “ruefully acknowledge” that not everybody celebrates Christmas, but pretty much all winter festivity has been absorbed into the mainstream Christian celebration, so it seems obvious why people object to Christmas parties rather than Halloween costumes on religious grounds. You don’t see people arguing that Christmas ISN’T religious because it was once banned by the church–at some point it doesn’t matter where it came from, it’s about the current practice.

      Moreover, I think the root issue in #5 is that they probably shouldn’t be sending out Christmas cards in the first place unless they’re a religious organization.

    3. Happy meal with extra happy*

      As a Jewish atheist who abhors the secularization of Christmas, I find this take a bit odd. I would wager that, for the vast majority of Americans, there is absolutely zero connection between Halloween and the original holiday. Perhaps one day, Christmas may become like that (though I doubt it), but right now they’re two entirely different things.

      1. Lady_Lessa*

        I quite agree about the secularization.

        Not even my priest makes it easy to go the Mass, but I admit this is a busy week for me, after work. 2 book clubs and a church meeting. (I go to one that meets the last Monday of the month (assuming no major holiday) and one that meets the first Wednesday of the month)

    4. Tesuji*

      High marks if this was a troll post. Weird frame if this is legit.

      All Hallow’s Eve was a Christian attempt to hijack existing pagan festivals. The idea that Halloween is primarily a “Christian holiday” is nonsensical. The most you can claim is that everything about it is a blend of various traditions, some of which are faith-based.

    5. Moira Rose's Closet*

      I am a religious Jew, and I do not consider Halloween to be even remotely religious. I think this is an odd take. It’s not even in the same ballpark as Christmas or other religious holidays — and, as you said, the people who act like it’s an affront to them are typically the more religious Christians, at least in my area, which lends further support to the fact that it isn’t religious. I’ve never heard another Jew say that Halloween is a religious Christian holiday, ever.

      1. Aunt Piddy*

        Yeah, my SO is a fairly observant Muslim and also doesn’t consider Halloween to be even a little religious. We just carved pumpkins and roasted the seeds, and will be handing out candy.

      2. HannahS*

        Yeah. I know Jews (including relatives) who won’t celebrate Halloween because it’s not a Jewish holiday and it has ties to other spiritual and religious traditions. I’ve never thought of it as explicitly Christian; more pagan with an overlay of the Catholic church and then morphed into what it is now.

        I grew up trick-or-treating in non-scary costumes. I have mixed feelings about Halloween as a religious adult, but I also sent my kid to daycare in tiny little surgical scrubs. Shrug.

        I do find the compulsory aspect of Halloween irritating. Like oh great another majority-culture *thing* that I get accused of being a Grinch for if I’m not into it. Not that everyone is like that, but you know.

      3. turquoisecow*

        I have heard of religious Jews not celebrating Halloween, but not because it’s a Christian holiday.

    6. NotRealAnonforThis*

      Having been raised Catholic and nominally practicing to this day (best described as believe in the trinity, but have serious issues with the structure of the Church and some of the acts done in the name of that have been swept under the rug), I’d argue that the Christian Holiday was simply a holiday absorbed by the early Church in order to expand itself. If the local pagans wouldn’t give up their beliefs and traditions about Samhain, then the Church was just going to absorb them into the lead up to All Saints Day so that it all seemed more familiar and palatable.

    7. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I was raised in a Christian offshoot that found Halloween to be satan worship so you’re losing me there.

      But as a secular adult who is very sensitive to such things (for the reason above) I don’t think it’s culturally religious at all.

    8. I am Emily's failing memory*

      It’s been a minor Catholic holiday since the 6th century, and originally it was celebrated on May 13. The Roman Catholic Pope moved it to November 1 in the year 837 to better line up folk traditions that called for a feast on November 1. The Orthodox Church still celebrates it on May 13, and protestants outside of the Episcopal/Anglican Church ignore it entirely. It’s also not a day steeped in religious mythologies that are central to the religion the way Christmas and Easter are.

      To say that one branch of Christianity moving their minor holiday to this date makes it “a Christian holiday” as actually a somewhat insulting erasure of the older pagan traditions that were much more central to ancient peoples’ lives than All Saints Day was to early Christians. And really, the modern celebration of Halloween is pretty far removed from either of the early traditions at this point, and has developed a fully secular mythology and set of traditions in its own right that are neither Christian nor pagan.

    9. Critical Rolls*

      Christians throwing a blessed lampshade on a pagan holiday doesn’t make it an inherently, irrevocably Christian holiday. In this case, that argument sounds more like erasure than reality.

        1. Raven*

          Yes… Many non-Christian’s celebrate Christmas. Even if they don’t refer to it by a different name, they’re not celebrating for the same reasons as Christians.
          It’s a tradition that’s rooted in pre-Christian beliefs and both views are valid.

        2. Critical Rolls*

          Christmas no, Yule yes. Christmas, well, it’s the birth celebration of the central figure of the religion, with pagan appropriations incorporated, but you can’t really escape the central conceit. Yule is a good example of reclamation starting to take place, as a hastily repainted solstice celebration rather than something that has actual significance to the Christian religion.

        3. Calliope*

          Yes, but some people don’t. It’s ok for the day to have different significance for different people. And since it does, that’s the reason not to assume it’s secular for everyone you meet or in public places. (Similarly I’d like people to stop telling me that MY personal celebration of Christmas is not actually secular; the holiday can have a different significance for me than you and that’s fine.)

          That said, when I was growing up we didn’t celebrate Halloween in school because some of the kids weren’t allowed to celebrate it so that was exclusive too. (Jehovahs Witnesses especially at my particular school). So I do think depending on where you are that’s something to think about too.

    10. Raven*

      Hallowe’en is *not* Christian. It’s a pre-christian observance that was co-opted by some sects.
      Just because something was taken by one faith does no mean it loses it’s orginal significance.

    11. Esmeralda*

      Halloween is one of those pre-christian holidays the catholic church co-opted. I mean, maybe not, there isn’t any evidence of a Pope saying, glom onto the winter solstice and call it christmas! But there are a number of such holidays that are awfully close in time and focus not to think so.

  22. Mostly Managing*

    My husband had a job interview on Halloween one year.
    He was warned by the recruiter that “Those guys take it pretty seriously.”

    He thought about it, and decided to wear his usual suit and tie. And was interviewed by a vampire, a clown, and a superhero!

    1. Wear the Goofy Outfit*

      I think for reasons like this, if I ever had an interview on Halloween, I would at least wear my super cute skeleton earrings from Claire’s, and probably black, orange, purple or silver on my clothes to go with them. I’ve had the earrings since I was 9, they are not gruesome skeletons – the only time I’ve felt a bit weird about wearing them was when I was a secretary in an ICU, and all the nurses thought it was awesome and not off-putting despite the content of our work.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        I think a small piece of jewelry or some tasteful orange clothes or something else that indicates you’re excited about Halloween but isn’t a giant banana costume is perfectly fine. I wouldn’t do costume makeup or wear anything ostentatious, but these things seem fun and professional. Others might disagree but I think it also depends on what kind of job you’re interviewing for and what kind of culture you hope to join.

      2. Me*

        Yeah, I wore my adorable ghost earrings all weekend, and I would absolutely wear them to an interview on Halloween. But that’s probably as far as I’d go.

      3. Sandgroper*

        I was coming to say “Token earrings or a bangle” could be appropriate. Great minds think alike!

  23. Hound Dog*

    LW1 is in the wroooooong office. Firstly, since management approved and encouraged the decorations, it’s not a question of professionalism but instead your fit in the office culture. Secondly, your manager is correct, there are not dead bodies hanging over your head. Of you had gone with “I find these these decorations to be unsettling” you may have had better luck, but instead you went with hyperbole, undermining your argument. Thirdly, “satanic symbols”? Really?? Ain’t no such thing except for what Christian Right keeps trying sell.

    I’d tell you to go work for a church if you want gentle, wholesome Halloween decorations that won’t upset your delicate, professional sensibilities, except the Baptist, Catholic, *and* LDS churches near me all have some pretty fantastic haunted houses and graveyard mazes set up. Including skeletons with teeth!

    1. Happy meal with extra happy*

      I think it’s pretty disingenuous to not acknowledge that extreme gore is a specific subcategory of Halloween decorations that many people would not be comfortable with and that there are many other work friendly options.

      1. Hound Dog*

        If management’s approved it, then LW1 only has so many options. And management approved the decorations. She can certainly trying appealing again and this time focus on “I find it unsettling” but if management keeps them up, well, she’s down to two choices: figure out how to cope, or go to HR – and possibly become the office killjoy in the process.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Management approving it does send a message about the culture, I don’t disagree with you. But you can’t hire and screen for “comfortable working around excessive gore” as a job requirement. Any office needs to know they have staff with diverse needs and “tone down the decorations a tad” is not the most egregious request.

          1. KateM*

            Well, “comfortable working around excessive gore” could be a job requirement maybe if you worked in ER or as a murder scene photographer.

            1. Eldritch Office Worker*

              Valid. I wonder if you’d be more or less excited about fake gore if you had to deal with real gore daily. That would be an interesting survey.

              1. Gallows humourist*

                Based on my decade of experience in frontline healthcare, gallows humour / high tolerance for upsetting stuff is pretty prevalent. But not everyone feels that way of course. Healthcare workers are people and have the normal amount of variation in preferences.

        2. Observer*

          Sure, if management approved it and won’t listen to anything anyone has to say, that says something about management.

          But your framing it as “management is right and you are a speshul snowflake that needs to grow up” is wrong. And to be honest, I home you are not in management yourself.

          1. Hound Dog*

            I’m not saying management is right, I’m saying they’ve approved it. Which *does* limit her options, particularly if the rest of the office is fine with the decor. She either needs to adjust how she’s asking for changes – which I stated – or she can try going to HR, which can be a very mixed bag. Because there’s only 3 outcomes if she goes to HR: 1) they agree it’s over the top, tell people to scale things back, and LW1 gets labeled the office killjoy: 2) HR is neutral on the issue, maybe issue an email reminding people to keep things work appropriate, and LW1 gets labeled the office killjoy; or 3) HR disagrees with LW1 and sees nothing wrong with the decorations, and LW1 gets labeled the office killjoy.

            And yeah, I side eye the description of the grisliness of the decor given LW1 calls out *skeletons with teeth* as grusome. And satanic-looking symbols, which aren’t a thing.

            1. Jackalope*

              Or option 4: HR takes action, keeps the person who requested that the decorations be changed confidential like they should be doing in situations like this, and no one labels OP a killjoy because HR did their job correctly. Or even option 5: people find out that OP didn’t want to be looking at hanging, gory corpses for a month, think that’s reasonable, and the decorations are changed without someone being labeled a killjoy at all, either OP or the decorator.

      2. Jackalope*

        Yes, this. There are many people in threads above this pointing out good reasons that people might not be comfortable (or may be freaked out to the point of having a hard time working) due to gory decorations at work. There are all sorts of spooky decorations someone could put up that don’t involve gore and it would be much more considerate to keep the gore out of the workplace.

      3. Allonge*

        Exactly. Also, as they have cubicles, the gory stuff does not need to go on the ceiling, in view of everyone. What’s wrong with keeping the office decorations PG-13 anyway?

    2. lost academic*

      This is uncalled for – there are a huge range of great Halloween decorations that are both far from “gentle, wholesome” and “you’re actually in the Walking Dead”. I agree that most of those decorations sound pretty normal (minus the head) but the extent to which the space was decorated seems to have really gotten to the OP especially since it sounds like she can’t avoid any of it. Many workplaces would consider it over the top but there are clearly plenty that don’t and this is one of them. I get annoyed when (old firm) a particular person decorated the entire office, including everyone’s personal desk space, to the hilt with Christmas stuff the instant Thanksgiving was over, but it’s also a cultural fit issue and I knew better then to complain.

      1. Hound Dog*

        I mean, I do get it to an extent, I have seen some pretty grisly decorations in my time, but I also think her sense of “grisly” may be off-center to the average, given that *skeletons with teeth* somehow made the ranks. The severed head could be one of those cheap Walmart ones that’s almost funny in how cheap it looks.

        OTT decorations for any holiday can be a nuisance, but like you say, it can be culture fit issue, and in this case, it definitely is.

        1. lost academic*

          She’s bothered by it. A lot. And that’s what matters. People often try to find other ways to justify a change when they don’t feel like “this is deeply upsetting to me” will help them – we’re often taught that in many ways, that how we feel doesn’t matter at all and you have to find some other Real Reason to justify something. Which is kinda crap.

          People should not necessarily have to work in Halloween Town – unless they knew (or could have known) what they were getting into per that other post, which is the opposite. Management was wrong in this case. Mocking the LW about it is just mean and not helpful.

    3. STG*

      This is kind of where I’m at. This seems like an office culture fit issue and not a Halloween specific one.

    4. CharlieBrown*

      I also wondered if there were other things that were not a good fit for LW, but this was the one that was so over the top that it made her write in.

      Because if there are other things, then yeah, it’s probably an issue of overall not being a good fit. But if it’s just this one thing, then no.

      But agreed, LW is being a bit hyperbolic (not every symbol that isn’t a cross is a satanic symbol — thank you, 1980s America) and comes across as a bit prudish.

    5. Allonge*

      Oh come on. OP is in finance, not in horror movie props or Halloween decor.

      Nobody should have to screen their job for ‘will I be subjected to gore-y, noisy deco for a month before each Halloween’?

      1. lost academic*

        This. And they shouldn’t have to contend with a response to their objecting to the decorations being essentially “F U” from management and some commenters. People get to be upset by things THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO BE UPSETTING. OP is at work, not in a haunted house or other Halloween event.

  24. Risha*

    For LW4, couldn’t this be considered religious discrimination if the manager is letting people who wear a costume go home early? There are some religions that do not celebrate halloween or any holidays for that matter. Giving some employees a perk that others may not have based off (possible) religious beliefs can’t be right. I’m not sure about that, just wondering if it would be discrimination if someone who was Muslim or Jehovah’s Witness worked there and wasn’t able to leave early while those who do celebrate halloween got to leave. Especially since halloween is based off a pagan holiday and some people aren’t ok with that.
    As a side note, any time my job has wanted to do something for a holiday, I’ve always used religion as an excuse (I’m an atheist). I say my religion forbids whatever goofy thing they want to do and no one ever argues with me.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      It would only be religious discrimination if they didn’t make an accommodation. If someone says they aren’t wearing a costume for religious reasons, they should still be allowed to go home early. But that can be the exception as opposed to the rule.

    2. CharlieBrown*

      Although modern-day pagans consider Halloween to be a religious holiday, overall, it is not. Therefore, as a non-religious holiday, there is no discrimination involved.

      I don’t know of any religion that requires you to dress up as a banana once a year, and I don’t know of any religion that forbids you from dressing up as a banana once a year.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        “Therefore, as a non-religious holiday, there is no discrimination involved.”

        There are absolutely religions that don’t let you celebrate Halloween, as a banana or otherwise. People who raise an objection on those grounds should be given consideration. But that’s on an individual basis.

        1. CharlieBrown*

          Those religions also don’t let you do a lot of other things. Are they supposed to get an exemption on all of this?

          At some point we have to draw a line. We can’t accommodate every single little thing. And these people aren’t being allowed to go home early because they are celebrating Halloween; they’re being allowed to go home because they’re wearing a costume. That is a different matter.

          1. Jennifer Strange*

            This is REALLY splitting hairs. And while I’m not religious, I think that religious accommodations should be made as long as they aren’t onerous. Letting someone go home early despite not wearing a costume due to religious reasons doesn’t place any unnecessary burden on anyone.

          2. Eldritch Office Worker*

            Those religions also don’t let you do a lot of other things. Are they supposed to get an exemption on all of this?

            …Yes. That’s how religious accommodation works. It’s a legal requirement, you don’t get to decide it’s too onerous.

            1. Eldritch Office Worker*

              “We can’t accommodate every single little thing. And these people aren’t being allowed to go home early because they are celebrating Halloween; they’re being allowed to go home because they’re wearing a costume. That is a different matter.”

              But they’re not wearing a costume because they don’t celebrate Halloween, and you’re giving a special privilege to the ones that do. This isn’t an opinion I’m being stubborn about, this is what legally needs to happen. Perhaps you’re not in management and HR and you don’t have to deal with these things, but that doesn’t make them less real.

          3. Dahlia*

            Wearing a costume on Halloween is celebrating Halloween. It’s not “you get to go home early if you wear a costume on June 25th”.

          4. Observer*

            At some point we have to draw a line. We can’t accommodate every single little thing.

            Wait. Are you REALLY claiming that not penalizing people for not dressing up on Halloween is a burden?! Obviously, we’re not talking about people who are acting a part in a “haunted house” or who work for a company that specialized in Halloween stuff. But in a standard office?

            Yes, there are religions that forbid “a lot of things”. And whether a business needs to, or should even just be nice about those things, is often a tricky question. But when the “accommodation” is simple as “don’t make people dress up in costume” it really sounds quite precious to complain about being “too accommodating”.

            In fact, this is such a weird hill to make an issue that, I would say you should even “accommodate” someone just does not want to dress up.

  25. Eldritch Office Worker*

    My traditional christmas card is a picture of our Halloween costumes! I think it’s fun.

  26. Tesuji*

    LW #2: I don’t consider a work Halloween party in which “kids and significant others are welcome” as being at all the same thing as “this is completely kid-friendly and safe for 2-year-olds.”

    To me, an office party is a party primarily for the employees. Being welcome to bring others isn’t the same as saying that the party is now designed for them. If a parent wants to bring their kids, that’s 100% on them to make sure that the kids are at an age where they’d enjoy it.

    > I am also really really not okay with the company saying this is a bring your kids event and then having something like this happen

    If I were the type of person who cared about Halloween parties, I would really really not be okay with the company restricting things on the basis of what might scare someone’s 2-year-old.

    To me, this is a messaging thing. An event for employees to bring their kids to (oh, and also, employees can come to, so long as they stay kid-friendly) is a different thing from an event for employees (oh, and also, you can bring your kids if you want).

    I don’t know which they intended, but if you go to HR, you shouldn’t be surprised that the outcome isn’t that they make everything safe for 2-year-olds, but rather than they clarify that “you’re welcome to bring your kids” isn’t the same as being “kid-friendly for 2-year-olds,” and that parents are expected to use their discretion as to whether the party is suitable for their particular kid, as opposed to management using their authority to make sure the party is suitable for all kids.

    1. Jackalope*

      How exactly were they supposed to make sure beforehand that it was kid-safe? The LW says that she’s fine with the party not being okay for kids, she just wanted to know up front so she wouldn’t bring her kids. The easy solution here would have been for someone to say something like, “Suitable for kids ages X and over,” so parents with younger kids could opt out. Otherwise, it’s reasonable for someone to bring their kids to a party specifically advertised as being kid-friendly.

      1. KateM*

        And it’s much more reasonable to expect that people would bring their younger kids who’d need daycare as opposed to teens who often aren’t that excited about hanging out with parents.

      2. Pescadero*

        “How exactly were they supposed to make sure beforehand that it was kid-safe?”

        Ask detailed questions?

        Because nothing she mentions would have bothered my kids at 2, nor would it have bothered me for them to see it… but I also know people who won’t let their teenage kids watch something like the Addams Family – because it isn’t appropriate for children.

        There is such a WIDE range of definitions for “kid appropriate” that all you can assume it means is “nothing illegal for minors to be exposed to”

        1. Jennifer Strange*

          Or the company could have just chosen either a kids party or a non-kids party. Things mentioned would have bothered most kids at 2. If a job is opening up a party to kids, then it’s in their interest to err on the side of caution. If they want something super scary and grotesque that’s fine, but then don’t say to bring the family.

          1. Pescadero*

            I’ve raised two kids… been through all this lots and lots of times.

            “kids and significant others are welcome” DOES NOT equal “kid friendly”.

            “Kids welcome” (in my experience over 20 years of raising two kids) means – this party isn’t intended for kids, but you won’t catch a child endangerment charge for bringing them and the host won’t be angry about it.

            If a job is opening up a party to kids – then management gets to do whatever they’d like with their party.

            As a parent – I’d say you have to be really new and inexperienced to read “kids welcome” as anything more than “kids tolerated” and it definitely does NOT imply “kid friendly”.

            1. Cassandra Mortmain*

              Lots of parents of preschool kids are, by definition, inexperienced, though!

              Personally, I would interpret “kids welcome” as “we aren’t doing anything FOR kids, but this is a fine environment for kids to be in.” So a kids-welcome wedding might not offer any kid entertainment, but it’s reasonable to expect the toasts won’t be too sweary or ribald. I think where gory Halloween decor falls on that spectrum depends a lot on the kid and the parent.

              1. Eldritch Office Worker*

                Yes! I don’t have kids but I know my friends who do have kids 5-12 who are constantly asking for clarification on what is and isn’t appropriate for the age their kid is, particularly if it’s their first kid. Everything is new, a lot of things don’t get easier. Clear communication benefits everyone, not just parents. If there are clearly upset children at a Halloween party I’m going to be worried about them, want to help, and simultaneously annoyed. Not at the parents, at the organizers who didn’t prevent this situation. Because now I’m not enjoying the party.

                Just…say what you mean.

            2. Jennifer Strange*

              “kids and significant others are welcome” DOES NOT equal “kid friendly”.

              Actually, that’s exactly what any sensible person would think it equals. If it’s not intended for young kids then it should say something like “Kids and significant others are welcome (not recommended for kids under [age]”.

              1. Pescadero*

                I’ll just have to disagree with that.

                I’ve raised two kids – and in my experience, “kids are welcome” pretty much always means: “this party isn’t intended for kids, but you won’t catch a child endangerment charge for bringing them and the host won’t be angry about it.”

                If folks mean “kid friendly” – they say “kid friendly”, not “kids welcome”.

                1. Jennifer Strange*

                  This is quite some hair splitting here. If a party isn’t intended for kids, say that. Don’t expect people to be psychic. In my experience folks just say what they mean.

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I think the OP also sees it as a messaging thing! The issue isn’t that the part was creepy, the issue is they read the invitation to mean that kids were welcome and the party would be appropriate for them. An addendum like “party may only be appropriate for children 12+. parent discretion advised” or something simple would solve the problem.

    3. Jennifer Strange*

      If they said invite kids then they need to make the party okay for kids. If they want a really gruesome Halloween party that’s fine, but be clear about what is to be expected. The company dropped the ball in either not being upfront about what the party would entail or not taking charge of monitoring the decorations when they knew people would bring kids.

    4. TrixM*

      I’m not at all a kid-centric person myself – don’t have ’em, never wanted ’em – but by saying “bring the kids!”, they are in fact implying the event will be “kid-safe”. I don’t blame the parents at all for being annoyed by the overly scary stuff.

      If the employers hadn’t said kids were welcome, fine, there was zero need to keep it G-rated (although I personally think that’s safest for the office in general). But as it was, they had some level of responsibility to keep it appropriate.

      They have plenty of options for subsequent occasions – say “not suitable for kids, sorry about last year”, indicate that it’s a teen-rated event, ensure it’s G-rated for all ages, have a “no kids allowed” separate area (although I’d argue the latter is way too much trouble).

      Me, I have a pretty low tolerance for creepiness myself, due to some specific childhood stuff. There’s no way I’d want to see Bob’s puppet in the office at all, frankly. If it’s more sinister than Count Von Count from Sesame Street, just keep it for the party at home, please.

    5. Critical Rolls*

      This is a very strange attempt to dissect the language to make the parents at fault for not being psychic. How on earth should they have divined that “you’re welcome to bring your kids” did not actually mean they should bring their kids if they wanted to? It was up to the company to note any age restrictions or other conditions that would contradict the “bring your kids” message. Also, I would argue that actually scary, gory, or gross stuff just does not belong at any work event, which is meant to be a fairly neutral gathering because… work. Maximum inclusiveness, minimum offputtingness.

      1. Pescadero*

        The company doesn’t, and cannot, know the “age restrictions” for any particular child/parent combo – and there is definitely nothing at all societally standard.

        1. Allonge*

          Of course not, but once you open an event to kids, you need to consider what that means. Provide more specifics, have a contact to ask questions to etc.

          1. Pescadero*

            “Of course not, but once you open an event to kids, you need to consider what that means. ”

            No, you don’t.

            You probably SHOULD, and maybe your employees would appreciate it… but no, the company doesn’t need to consider what that means.

            1. Allonge*


              Of course it’s not, like, illegal not to think about it, but chances are good it will be a pretty crappy party (or other event) of you don’t. And possibly dangerous.

              E.g. are the decorations fixed enough that kids who try to climb them are likely to survive? Is there a place to separate for the non-kid-having adults who don’t want to hear (happy or not) screams? Are the wine-filled glasses at a height where kids cannot get a sip by accident?

              Yes, thinking is in 99.999% of cases preferable to non-thinking.

        2. Willow Pillow*

          There are certainly societal standards for what’s appropriate for certain ages – that’s why we have movie ratings. They may not be universal (i.e. one 10-year-old might be okay with a certain PG-13 film, or a 16-year-old might not be okay with it)… but then parents can make an informed decision based on what their child can handle based on the standards.

        3. Critical Rolls*

          The company CAN reasonably be expected to know that what Bob brought to the party was completely inappropriate for many — I might go so far as to say most — children. It is the event organizer’s responsibility to give attendees enough information to make a good decision. And let’s not pretend that they couldn’t have stuck to pumpkins and witch hats if they were serious about being welcoming to the little kids. Your argument is wandering into “not all kids can eat sandwiches” territory, in service of a company that fundamentally failed to be reasonable about this.

          1. Pescadero*

            No… my argument is:

            1) Reasonable is super subjective and almost impossible to define

            2) The company doesn’t have to be reasonable about this. There is no legal onus. They can (like many companies do about many subjects) choose to be “unreasonable” if they like Halloween.

            1. Jennifer Strange*

              1) Reasonable is super subjective and almost impossible to define

              So if you’re inviting children it is better to err on the side of caution. Otherwise, be upfront that it’s not a party for children.

              2) The company doesn’t have to be reasonable about this. There is no legal onus. They can (like many companies do about many subjects) choose to be “unreasonable” if they like Halloween.

              Just because there isn’t a legal onus doesn’t mean they shouldn’t take care when involving children. As is obvious to anyone who has frequented AAM, just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s okay. Either tell employees their kids can come to the party (and make sure the party is appropriate for kids) or let the party be adults-only.

              1. Pescadero*

                “So if you’re inviting children it is better to err on the side of caution.”

                Eh… If I’m planning the party, I’ll err on the side of information… but whoever is planning the party is free to do as they wish.

                “Just because there isn’t a legal onus doesn’t mean they shouldn’t take care when involving children.”

                They SHOULD – but they don’t need to.

                1. Jennifer Strange*

                  Then whoever is planning the party should make it clear it’s not okay for kids. That’s not hard.

            2. Critical Rolls*

              I do not understand why you are so devoted to lawyering ad nauseum an obviously bad decision on the part of the company that I think you even agree was bad. The comment section isn’t a legal document, although “reasonable” is actually a pretty common legal standard, and it is bizarre to suggest the thing Bob brought to the party shouldn’t have been obviously excluded from a gathering that young kids had been invited to, especially if parents weren’t notified about its presence. You seem to be of the opinion that companies ought not be expected to use a single neuron to consider their actions beyond what is legally required. What an absolute hellscape work would be if we went by that metric.

      2. Tesuji*

        “You’re welcome to bring your kids” means that you’re welcome to bring your kids. There are no age restrictions on what kids you bring. Any kids you have, you are welcome to bring them.

        Aside from such variations of that phrase, however, it doesn’t mean anything else.

        It is not a guarantee that your kids will have fun or will not see things that you personally might not want them to see, that there will be food or activities that are designed for kids, or that anyone has done a sweep to ensure that nothing that hits your kid’s specific triggers will be present.

        Yes, if parents assume all of those things, then it is 100% their fault.

        1. HannahS*

          That is your reading of what “You’re welcome to bring your children.” The phrase itself is ambiguous. It could either mean “You can bring your children if you want to,” but a more typical reading when someone says “You’re welcome to bring children/partners/pets” is to understand that this is a setting that will at least somewhat welcoming to THEM.

          This is like if you invited your employees to a restaurant and said “You’re welcome to bring your partners,” and when they got there you proceeded to have a business meeting that socially excluded everyone’s partner. Presumably they would feel misled. It would be ridiculous to say that it was 100% the employees fault for thinking that their partners would be, you know, welcome.

          1. Willow Pillow*

            “A more typical reading when someone says “You’re welcome to bring children/partners/pets” is to understand that this is a setting that will at least somewhat welcoming to THEM.”

            Having to think otherwise really feels like a setup for failure on the employer’s part, too. I would feel pretty distrustful if this was presented as my fault for not understanding their unsaid meaning, especially as an Autistic person.

            1. Splendid Colors*

              I agree, and I’m Autistic too. It’s exhausting having to nitpick people’s exact wording. It’s exhausting having to track down the right person to ask “what exactly did the phrase on the invitation mean?” and also risk being made fun of for not knowing what it means, duuuuhhhh. “Gosh Splendid, do we have to explain *everything* to you?” (and if I don’t ask them to explain “everything” then it’s on ME if I misread “welcome to bring kids” as “won’t have R-rated gore and will have appropriate snacks/drinks.”)

        2. Jennifer Strange*

          That’s such a willfully obtuse reading of that statement. Children not having fun and having decorations/costume that are generally going to terrify them are two different things.

            1. Jennifer Strange*

              I’m a parent and that’s not how I would interpret it, nor is it how anyone I know would interpret it. Then again, folks I know (parents and otherwise) care about other folks and don’t feel it’s a burden to simply be clear about expectations.

        3. Allonge*

          That’s an interpretation that might come up as a legal defence, not in a reasonable discussion. Yes, I suppose the food is ok for people with allergies (the salt and pepper at least). I imagine we could provide a quiet place for people who get overwhelmed by noise (we are not going to, though).

          It’s a hellish world to live in. Why do you encourage this? Seriously, just say the party is for adults only instead of playing mind-games.

    6. Caramel & Cheddar*

      This is about where I land, though with the caveat that it wouldn’t kill the employer to specify an age range for the kids. If you work with or adjacent to kids, you’ll find lots and lots of language doing precisely this for kids events, e.g. “Recommended for ages 6 and up.” This allows parents the flexibility of deciding if their kid is old enough to handle whatever it is, while also having the workplace acknowledge that maybe what’s appropriate for a ten year-old isn’t appropriate for a toddler.

    7. Luca*

      OT, but @Tesuji’s comment reminded me of a small museum I visited whose nature wasn’t kid-friendly, and couldn’t be made such. (An analogy would be classic cars.)

      The museum must have caught some flack over this, because they advertised that young children were welcome to visit. They also had a kid activity or two, but realistically they couldn’t do much in that regard.

      During my visit I saw a young couple who couldn’t enjoy themselves because their two children became restless and fussy. Then as I was leaving, I saw a grandmother run up to the front desk and ask the staffer, “Have you got anything fun the kids can do?”

  27. I'm just here for the cats!*

    What is with offices going overboard with the decorations at Halloween. I worked at a call center and each team had their own cubial row. For Halloween their was a decorating contest and this team completely covered over their desks with a black tarp to make a cave. I had to go down the cave one time to find the supervisor, since she was the one on duty at the time, and I could not see anything. even with the computer screens on it was almost pitch black. I have problems seeing in low light so I tripped on a chair. No one thought “Oh it might not be a good idea to block out the light with a black tarp.” Or “this might be a fire hazard”. And I can only imagine the chaos if the thing fell down while people were on calls. Knowing that toxic call center they would have still demanded that people continue with their call as the ceiling was falling down around them. (We once had a tornado touch down a few miles away and people were forced to still take calls the entire time. No one was allowed to seek shelter.)

    1. Not Your Admin Ass(t)*

      We once had a tornado touch down a few miles away and people were forced to still take calls the entire time. No one was allowed to seek shelter.

      This is the true Halloween horror, right here. The real monster is pretty much always humankind.

  28. SomethingCleverHere*

    Remember that secretary who forced her entire company to color turkey pictures for Thanksgiving? I wonder what she’s making them do today.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I would love to be coloring today lol. Hand me a pumpkin drawing and crayon I’m in.

  29. Morticia(she/her)*

    My late husband once had a job interview on Halloween. He didn’t wear a costume, but he did get the job; as a funeral director’s assistant.

  30. Diatryma*

    My go-to work-appropriate and/or lazy costume is a “Hello my name is” sticker with whatever I want to be on it. Also works for pre-costume babies (“Hello my name is THE PATRIARCHY change me!”).

  31. Mbarr*

    Most of my office is still WFH. There are about 7 of us here today (out of an office of 60). I’m all about the low/no effort Halloween costumes, so my costume is an “Identity Thief.” I just have a bunch of “Hello my name is” stickers with random team member names on my shirt.

  32. Chilipepper Attitude*

    I actually enjoy Halloween but am so happy that it is such a non-event at work that I did not know it was Halloween this weekend!

  33. Keymaster of Gozer*

    I’m normally not at work on Oct 31 (normally out with my pagan friends with our own Samhain rituals) but I am today due to staff shortage (there is a very, very nasty respiratory virus doing the rounds – not covid but still quite capable of knocking healthy 30 somethings out for over a week).

    In the UK we have a different halloween atmosphere to the US in general, but dressing up and some office decorations still happen. I have had to ask (actually tell) a few people that their decorations are not appropriate and go too far into offensive/triggering and to remove them but overall it’s been low hassle. (I work in heavy engineering, the plastic skeleton in full PPE was exceptionally well done and frankly I wanna keep it in my office forever).

    The only rules I have regarding dress up is that if you’re likely to go to site it has to be something that PPE will fit over/not hamper your ability to get out of the way of a train. I personally don’t dress up but given I wear head to foot black all day anyway…

  34. Critical Rolls*

    I see we’ve got some echoes of the original comments on the party letter, wherein a section of the commentariat thought the parents should have *known* that “bring your kids” had a bunch of invisible qualifiers on it. If you’re planning an event, either make it suitable for all ages, or don’t issue a blanket invitation to all kids!

    1. Ghoulia Yelps*

      Yeah, I find the people saying that “bring your kids” just means “all we’re saying is we won’t have your toddler arrested for trespassing and you’re an idiot if you think we meant anything else” bizarre!

  35. Vice President of Monitoring Employees’ LinkedIn and Indeed Profiles*

    My office had a “Halloween party” this morning, consisting of candy and chips (individual “fun size”) plus donuts. We paused work at 10:00, had some treats, admired a few people’s costume elements and decorations, and then went back to work.

    The handful of “costumes” included a Charlie Brown shirt (me), a skeleton shirt, cowboy hats, a leprechaun hat and beard, and a butterfly shawl. Nothing over the top, nothing cringey or gross.

  36. The Person from the Resume*

    It seemsl ike this is very much, there’s two types of people in the world.

    People who love halloween or costumes or both seem really fail to appreciate how hard a time non-creative people, non crafty people have when forced to participate. Luckily I’ve never been even encouraged to dress up for work and now I work from home. I am a bit of a perfectionist so it’s frustrating to try and fail at a costume.

    I was a bit resentful when a friends’ anniversary party was a scary costume party. I was annoyed that I had homework to figure out a costume and when I do costume it’s usually not horror. Of course it wasn’t mandatory to attend the party, but costumes were made a big deal on the invite. I don’t think that costume loving/halloween loving people appreciate that for some of us it’s not fun and actually an unpleasant chore.

    1. Russian in Texas*

      I am not crafty or imaginative (decorations and costume-wise) at all. I don’t mind when people do it, but I don’t wanna, and I am not gonna. The older I get, the more I am not gonna.
      Most of the time I needed a costume, I would just go to a Spirit Halloween store and buy a witch costume.

    2. I should really pick a name*

      Not really?

      There are also non-creative, non-crafty people who are happy to purchase a costume, or cut
      two holes in a sheet and drape it over their heads.

      There are creative, crafty people who are happy to purchase a costume, or cut
      two holes in a sheet and drape it over their heads.

      There are also people who are completely capable to making a fancy costume, but don’t feel like participating in hallowe’en events.

      I could go on…

      If you find it a chore, don’t do it. You say of course it wasn’t mandatory, so don’t dress up. If you feel like it’s actually mandatory, but hold yourself to a high standard for your costumer, just don’t go. You’re putting this pressure on yourself.

      1. Russian In Texas*

        Yeah, I’ve been to a costume parties, and while I never have any ideas, a store bought costume always worked. I may not win any prizes for creativity, but whatever.

    3. Jenna Webster*

      Cat ears is as much as you’re going to get from me – and I am really not likely to attend costume parties if that’s an option

  37. Skytext*

    I like Halloween, but I agree with those that say corpses and dismembered body parts are inappropriate for offices and other public spaces (and I’m using the word “public” loosely to mean a place that’s not your home or something like a private club, i.e. a place where people are coming for a different purpose, not to enjoy Halloween decorations).

    I think vampires, zombies, mummies, Frankenstein monsters, witches, ghosts, and skeletons are scary enough but traditional enough that it should stop there. Things that could be “real” like blood and body parts is going too far.

  38. Essentially Cheesy*

    I understand what LW #4 was getting at. I take care of front desk/reception duties and I get it. However there is also the team-building and coworker connection times that matter too. I have dressed up as a confused elf today (think Hermey from Rudolph) that really wants to be a chef. I’ve had no issues with the public. In fact, people think it’s cute. It’s okay to loosen up a bit.

  39. three soft tacos*

    What gets me about the grisly genre of Halloween decor: it’s all really junky looking! Like on top of just being kind of unpleasant, none of it goes together, random body parts are sized differently, and so on. So you got like, over here is a bleached skeleton for someone that I guess was 4 feet tall. Then over there is an enormous skull that’s incredibly filthy and weathered. Open a drawer…surprise! Filled with tiny rubber hands. There’s a house near me that goes all out with this stuff, and it’s just chaos. There’s body bags all over the place with big inflatable dinosaurs as well. Like what is going on here?

  40. bratschegirl*

    Re #2: the NY Times has revived an opinion piece that originally ran in 2020 and was repeated last year, by a guy whose entire goal for Halloween is expressly to spend it frightening children who have not necessarily volunteered to be scared like that. The comments are about evenly divided between “wow, you’re a horrible person” and “you go guy! Anybody who objects to this is a snowflakey killjoy.” Full disclosure, I’m a lot closer to the former; I’m frankly creeped out by his emphasis on frightening kids specifically. Link included here, but the piece itself may be paywalled.

    1. lilsheba*

      I don’t believe it’s a good idea to go out of one’s way to scare kids, that’s just mean. But on another note my youngest daughter was freaked out by anything other than a pumpkin on halloween when she was a baby and I kinda took the attitude of “deal with it” …and now she loves halloween as an adult.

    2. Observer*

      The piece is paywalled. But I would not want to be anywhere near anyone who thinks this is OK.

      I get it, sometimes people misjudge what will scare a young kid. That’s not great, but we all make mistakes and misjudge situations on occasion. But deliberately scaring anyone is not OK. When it’s adults doing it to kids? And trying to take it up a notch to “terrifying” them?

      Sorry, no.

  41. mdv*

    5. I think a black pant suit and a witches hat is the most ideal nod to Halloween possible. My work Halloween “costume” is a Red Riding Hood cape that I can throw on over my clothes when the preschool brings their kids through for trick-or-treat, together with a stuffed wolf hanging out on my desk… It was quite a hit this morning. And for all my co-workers, I’m getting a good laugh from just having it hanging on the coat hook the rest of the day.

  42. sparklefarm*

    ahahahaha …. “for example, if you’re a doctor” on #4 – I just saw a new doctor for the first time today and she came into the exam room in a unicorn onesie. It was fantastic.

  43. Aglet*

    My kids’ orthodontist dressed up as Thor one year, and I couldn’t even recognize him. (Everyone else in the office was dressed up as well, but in ways that I could still recognize them.) I spent a lot of time staring at him and trying to figure out who this guy was and if it was time to ask my questions or if I should wait because he was one of the assistants.

  44. no one reads this far*

    I am so glad we’re encouraged to dress up for Halloween at my job. Some of you sound dull as hell.

    (Agree that gory decorations at a kid-friendly event is a step too far though)

  45. nozenfordaddy*

    I went to the orthodontist on Halloween one year, and he was dressed as a Minion. I told him, I’m not sure this costume engenders confidence in your teeth straightening skills. He replied: Banana.

  46. Justin*

    I don’t have a problem with Halloween but I feel like it’s almost a little contrived and forced sometimes.

Comments are closed.