Your organization’s annual Halloween costume contest is always a fun time. What are you planning to wear?

Friendly reminder: A costume with a label that starts with “sexy” won’t win Best Costume. Neither will a costume that aims to shock or is grotesque – so you may want to pass on wearing the flesh-eating Zombie costume to work. Instead of a prize, expect raised eyebrows and a meeting with Human Resources. Halloween should be fun, not offensive!

At Spencer Crane Etiquette, we show the young professional how modern business etiquette can boost her confidence and give her an edge over the competition.

Your colleagues should smile, not cringe when they see you in your costume. Fair or unfair, your costume will be seen as a reflection of your judgment – good or bad. Save sexy and shocking costumes for after hours. Your professional reputation will thank you.

“What you wear is how you present yourself to the world . . .” – Prada

To keep your reputation intact, consider these dos and don’ts for office Halloween costumes:


  • Make sure your costume doesn’t violate your organization’s dress code.
  • Accessorize your normal work attire with removable props like hats, headbands, wands, or wings.
  • Participate in a group costume. It’s generally a fun and safe choice.


  • Don’t paint your face. Should you need to meet with a customer or client, you don’t want to be caught wearing cat whiskers. 
  • Don’t wear anything tight or revealing. You’ll be uncomfortable and tragically unforgettable. 
  • Don’t wear a costume that makes you hot and sweaty. You won’t be able to focus on work.

Have fun, but protect your professional reputation. Halloween comes and goes, but an inappropriate costume can stay with you forever! For more topics on business etiquette, read our blog posts here.

Stayce Wagner is the author of Modern Business Etiquette for Young & Fabulous Professionals, available at,, the iTunes Store, and other major outlets. Stayce is the founder of Spencer Crane Etiquette, LLC, where business etiquette and authenticity are partners, not rivals. Our many services are designed to help you achieve success on your terms. We invite you to contact us today to discuss how we can help you with your business etiquette needs.