20 Spooktacular Ideas to Celebrate Halloween at Work

Looking for ways to celebrate Halloween at work? Here are a few ideas suitable for in-person and remote teams!

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

Illustration of pumpkins on strings and bats flying in a forest in the background during Halloween

Halloween is one of the most exciting holidays of the year. When else is it acceptable to waltz into the office dressed up in costume and stuff your face with inexcusable amounts of sweets and chocolate?

It’s also a good opportunity for co-workers to have some fun and mingle in the workplace. Celebrations of any kind increase employee morale and help them feel more valued and motivated at work.

So, if you’re in charge of arranging this year’s Halloween celebrations at the office, take a look at these fun options below.

1. Hold a desk decorating competition

Whether your team is working from home or in an office, you can host a desk decorating competition. You can give each employee a small budget to purchase decorations for their desk and gift a reward like an Amazon Gift Card (paid link) for the person with the most creative desk.

2. Order some spooky deliveries

Surprise your employees by ordering some spooky deliveries. These could be tasty treats, gift vouchers or any other parcel that will get them in the holiday spirit! To bring back fond childhood memories, you could even have a cauldron full of sweets!

3. Arrange a murder mystery game

Have you always wanted to host a murder mystery party? Well, now is your chance! You can split your employees into different groups and make them compete against each other. And if you’re working from a remote setting, don’t fret! There are plenty of online murder mystery games that you can participate in virtually.

4. Make a spooky breakfast

Themed breakfasts are always exciting; whether you’re getting catering or making a team effort to create delicious treats, this can be an excellent way for your office to spend their morning. Each team member can be tasked with making one Halloween-themed recipe, and you can vote on the most creative breakfast item!

5. Hold a pumpkin-carving contest

Pumpkin carving can be fun for creative and crafty people; however, some colleagues will be more of a hazard when it comes to a carving contest! A good idea would be to split the office into teams and have them pick a pumpkin design they need to do out of a hat. Have your employees work together to make the best version in 30 minutes and offer the winning team a prize.

6. Award the best costume

Kudos to the workers who get on public transport dressed in bizarre outfits, all for their love of Halloween. To encourage employees to wear their costumes to work for the day, host a costume parade and offer prizes for the following categories: best costume, funniest costume, most sophisticated costume, a costume that took the most work to make, scariest costume and most creative costume. 

Advertise the awards in advance to entice your co-workers. Prizes could include a Starbucks gift card, paid lunch or an afternoon off.

7. Host a horror movie marathon

What’s more of a treat than taking a few hours away from your desk to watch a movie? This doesn’t have to be compulsory, but you can set up a movie screen on a projector, decorate that area with pumpkins and spooky décor, and put on a Halloween classic like Hocus Pocus or The Addams Family. 

Ensure there is plenty of popcorn, sweets and chocolate to go around!

8. Have a potluck lunch

To get everyone into the Halloween spirit, host a potluck lunch and ask all employees to partake. If making your own dish doesn’t go down well, you can opt for pizza and finger food and encourage employees to socialise for an extra-long lunch break.

9. Make festive cocktails

While you’re in the festive spirit, why not have a cocktail-making session? You can give everyone a list of ingredients and see who makes the most creative and festive cocktail. The winning team can win a prize of your choice.

10. Arrange themed games

Bobbing for apples is a tradition many of your employees would rather skip, but offer an appealing prize for those who decide to partake. It’s also heaps of fun for those who are just watching. Other games include candy counting (trying to guess how many sweets are in a jar).

11. Trick or treat

Who said that trick or treating is just for children? You can make this exciting in the office. Instead of allowing employees to think of their own tricks, give everyone a list of ‘tame’ tricks they’re allowed to dish out. Everyone must have a surprise treat station on their desk, too. It’ll get colleagues walking around and mingling throughout the day.

12. Arrange philanthropic activities

The importance of a holiday is about giving to someone that needs your help. You can arrange to go to a children’s hospital dressed in costumes offering treats, face-painting and other fun activities. You can also have employees volunteer to work by visiting an animal shelter or a soup kitchen for the day. To get inspired, here are the most philanthropic companies in the world

13. Host a bake sale

In every office, there’s bound to be someone who bakes just as well as Mary Berry. Host a bake sale and give all the donations to chosen charities. A little does go a long way!

14. Play themed music

You can bend the rules a little for the spooktacular holiday and have an hour or two where someone’s Halloween playlist can be played. This can be during the party hours where you host the adventurous games listed above.

15. Hold a pie-baking contest

Pumpkin pies are traditional to the Halloween season, but can your co-workers get more creative than that? Host a pie-baking contest for people that are interested, and, again, offer a desirable prize!

16. Rent a photo booth

A good photo booth will surely be a treat. If you don’t have the budget to splurge on a professional one for the day, you can opt for a make-shift photo booth. Ensure you have lots of props, including masks, wigs and face paint, and have a designated photographer. Encourage your employees to post on social media with your company hashtag!

17. Hire an ice cream van

Although it’s October, it’s never too cold for ice cream. Have an ice cream van turn up at your workplace and let employees choose a dessert of their choice.

18. Give team members the rest of the day off

It’s safe to say that all employees would be happy to leave the office early for the day. Whether they have children who want to go trick or treating or want to go and get ready for their own Halloween party, it will be appreciated. 

So, if everyone’s workload allows it, get them to shut down a few hours early. You’ll be surprised at how productive they will be in the morning!

19. Listen to true crime podcasts 

With so many working in a remote setting, connecting and celebrating Halloween with our colleagues can be hard.

And, if you’re strapped for time, then options can be fairly limited - this is where true crime podcasts come in - forget made-up ghost stories! True crime podcasts usually analyse the thrilling events of real-life horrors. 

You can have a streaming session or simply recommend your favourite podcasts to your team and discuss it on a group call. Better yet, you could have your team deliver their own true-crime podcast based on a spooky story or event that they find fascinating.

20. Play Halloween trivia 

Hosting themed events can be difficult for remote teams, but not impossible! A good idea for virtual teams is to test each other’s Halloween-related knowledge with a game of trivia. 

All you need to do is split everyone into teams and write up some trivia questions. Have everyone join a call and designate someone to be the host who will be asking the questions. Whichever team gets the most correct answers at the end wins! You could even offer a prize for the winning team to encourage them to play.  

Final thoughts

Halloween celebrations at work are a popular way to mark the occasion and will encourage employee morale and motivation, regardless of if it’s an in-office activity or online. Taking the time to bond with your co-workers is a great way to build trust and stronger relationships, which in turn, will create a healthier and more enjoyable workplace. 

Join the conversation! Have you celebrated Halloween in the office before? If so, what did the festivities involve? Let us know in the comments section below to share your ideas and experiences!

This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 9 October 2017.