Halloween—A Time for Team Building?

It used to be that Halloween was a holiday only celebrated by children but it has now become one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the US (and it’s catching on in other countries as well).  I remember when I moved from Chicago to Los Angeles and was absolutely amazed that pretty much everyone dressed up on Halloween.  Even the bank tellers and the grocery checkout clerks were in full costume and I don’t mean they just put a mask on with their work uniform —they wore amazing costumes that took great creativity to put together!  I remember driving to work on the first Halloween in Los Angeles and almost driving off the road when I looked to my right at a stop light and saw someone dressed like a bear in the car next to me!

So, my first Halloween in LA was pretty amazing for me!  Our office had over 200 employees and there was a contest for the best individual costume and another competition for departments—and that is where it really got interesting!  One of my favorites was the year the accounting department came as the “fruit” from the Fruit of the Loom logo.  Picture the very conservative CFO wearing 20 inflated balloons to replicate the grapes in the logo!  

As you can imagine, not much work was accomplished on Halloween but it was a huge amount of fun and it was a team building day as well.  Putting together a departmental theme took a lot of time and effort and everyone had to participate.  The best part of this story is that EVERYONE participated—even the top executive staff.  Imagine coming to work and seeing the CEO dressed as Dracula—you have to laugh at that sight!

Celebrating Halloween at work has caught on across the US and now many organizations encourage people to come to work in costume.  I share this with you because, if you are a long-time reader of this blog, you know that we think lightening up at work can have a positive impact on productivity, engagement, and retention.  Halloween give you a perfect excuse to have some fun at work and for your employees to work together on something a little more creative and enjoyable than their usual projects!   It may be too late this year to put team costume competition together but think about it for next year!

What will you be for Halloween this year?  Come on—have some fun and see how your employees respond! You may discover Halloween is a great way to strengthen your team

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