With many companies deciding to switch to remote work models after the pandemic, it can sometimes be challenging to find ways to ensure employees are connecting and forming relationships. One of the best ways to do this virtually is by celebrating holidays with your staff. With October well underway, now is the time to come up with great ideas for your virtual Halloween festivities. Here are some of our favorite remote company Halloween ideas and tips to make them successful.
The Benefits Of Celebrating Holidays Remotely
Building a solid company culture is already challenging when you work in person. When you work remotely, encouraging your staff to socialize and get to know each other can be even more difficult. That’s why setting aside time for your employees to celebrate holidays and have a good time together matters.
But not all virtual celebrations are created equal. Many unique factors and circumstances must be considered to plan a successful remote holiday event.
Things To Keep In Mind
Like any event you do at the office, you should keep in mind specific parameters. Here are the do’s and don’ts of celebrating Halloween with your coworkers, whether you are in the office or not.
- Consider what your coworkers would enjoy
- Include everyone
- Get feedback from staff members on what they liked, disliked, or would want to see in the future
- Make sure you have a backup plan in the event of technical difficulties
- Ensure you have an objective system in place for gauging who “wins” contests (at Newsletter Pro, whoever types trivia answers into the chat first gets the point)
- Keep things lighthearted and fun
- Humiliate, degrade, or otherwise antagonize your coworkers
- Do anything illegal (e.g., vandalism, harassment, or theft)
- Do anything that can’t be cleaned up within 5–10 minutes
- Do anything that could result in injury or damage to property
- Use aerosol substances like stink spray, perfume spray, sneezing powder, etc., as this can cause allergies and, in extreme cases, visits to the hospital
- Tamper with food
- Show, present, or say anything obscene
By following these simple guidelines and using some common sense, your Halloween celebration will remain fun and not devolve into chaos or cause upset.
Start A Halloween Movie Viewing Party
One of the easiest ways to connect with coworkers during the Halloween season is through a festive movie viewing party. Depending on your company culture, these movies can be charming, chilling, or even downright scary. Just make sure you consider everyone’s feelings before making a selection so people are generally happy with the selection.
Some great office-friendly Halloween movies include:
- “The Corpse Bride”
- “Hocus Pocus”
- “The Addams Family”
- “The Addams Family Values”
- “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”
If your workplace is OK with it, you could also show classic horror movies like “Halloween” or “Scary Movie.” Just avoid gory, obscene, or disturbing films. For highly professional workplaces, we don’t recommend showcasing anything over a PG-13 rating. You can also mitigate the issue of people not enjoying the same movie by offering separate Zoom showings so people can select the movie they want to watch.
Play ‘Tricks’ Or Send Out ‘Treats’
While some in-office companies might elect to do an office trick-or-treat event, work-from-home companies don’t need to miss out. Bring the festivities into your remote celebration environment! Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Organize a Halloween-themed jump-scare during a company wide meeting.
- Have several people take pictures of themselves in their Halloween costumes and edit their Slack profile to match. If done correctly, this should confuse people as they attempt to discern the true identities of “The Wicked Witch of the West” and “Mario.”
- Create a Halloween parody video for your coworkers and show it under the pretense that you are having a meeting to discuss “the budget.”
- Pretend to transform into a werewolf or vampire during a companywide Zoom meeting. Bonus points if you can get people to participate along with you.
- Start a choreographed Zoom “flash mob” to a popular Halloween song.
- Mail out little treat bags in advance of your remote party to all of your employees (be sure to remain conscious of food allergies).
- Email everyone a $5–$10 gift card to spend on a treat of their choice at their preferred retailer. We use Giftogram at Newsletter Pro so our employees can choose where they want to redeem their gifts.
- Mail your colleagues some festive Halloween cards they can hang on their fridges or pin on their walls to feel more connected to their coworkers. You can add flat presents like Halloween bookmarks and stickers to your letters to make them extra special.
You can see a longer list of potential remote office pranks here.
Putting effort and thoughtfulness into your “trick” and “treat” selection will show your coworkers you care and leave them feeling valued.
Build A Joint Playlist
One of the best ways to connect with your staff during Halloween is to allow them to build a collaborative playlist where everyone contributes a Halloween-themed song. Your employees can listen to the playlist during the Halloween season and appreciate everyone’s contribution.
Here are some of our favorites if you need inspiration for which songs to pick.
- “The Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett
- “Time Warp” from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” official soundtrack
- “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.
- “The Addams Family Theme” by Vic Mizzy and his Orchestra
- “The Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley
- “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow
- “Spooky, Scary Skeletons” by Andrew Gold
- “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult
- “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell
- “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon
- “Oogie Boogie’s Song” from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” official soundtrack
- “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
- “Love Potion No. 9” by The Clovers
- “This is Halloween” from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” official soundtrack
Not only does a Halloween playlist provide the perfect soundtrack for getting your work done during the month of October, but it also gives employees a chance to share their favorite songs and build something together. What could be better than that?
Start A Scavenger Hunt
An “at home” scavenger hunt might be just what your office needs to get excited about Halloween. Typically, you create a list of festive items an employee might have in their house and give staff members 60 seconds to find the item and present it on Zoom. At the end of the game, whoever has the most items wins. Here are some suggestions for items to add to your scavenger hunt list.
- Halloween candy
- Witch hat
- Fall leaves
- Any Halloween movie
- Frankenstein’s Monster
- Specific candies
- Anything “pumpkin spice” flavored
In the interest of a casual game, the criteria for having an item that “counts” should be reasonably low. For example, someone may have a witch doll with a hat on, and we would count the hat itself if someone used it for the “witch hat” hunt. The game should also primarily function based on the honors system, so if something looks vaguely like an item (for example, a poorly frosted and vaguely ghost-shaped cookie), it would still count as a “ghost.”
Organize A Murder Mystery Game
Games like “mafia” are perfect for larger groups — or smaller teams — because the more people there are, the more exciting the game becomes. To put a Halloween spin on the game, you can always switch up the village terror to be a werewolf or vampire. Watch as alliances form, coworkers turn on each other, and accusations fly — all in good fun, of course.
You can also host a more elaborate murder mystery game with a storyline. While this will take some more advanced planning, you can utilize the talents of people on your team to create a memorable experience that promotes collaboration and teamwork. Not to mention the opportunities for social media content creation that could arise from working on and executing such a project. You could inspire other remote companies that struggle to come up with fitting Halloween ideas for their work-from-home employees.
Host A Halloween Trivia Event
Halloween trivia is a great way to get people in the holiday spirit. It also gives the history buffs a chance to shine and showcase their knowledge. Here is how we run holiday trivia games at Newsletter Pro.
We start by selecting trivia questions and coordinating them with an online “Jeopardy” board. Whoever answers the question correctly in the chat first wins the points and gets to select the next question. This cuts down on the issue of people being afraid to speak up and interrupt. The winner is given a gift card to the retailer of their choice!
Have A Costume Contest
At Newsletter Pro, this is one of our favorite Halloween activities. Every year, our staff gets dressed up for our virtual Halloween party, and afterward, we vote on who had the best outfit that year. We even get pets involved! Here are some of our favorites from the 2021 Halloween costume content.
We would also advise any company wishing to host a costume party to specify costumes they may find inappropriate for the workplace. This could mean prohibiting the use of fake blood or disallowing props that look like weapons. Every workplace is different, so please communicate your expectations with your staff in advance.
Share Spooky Stories
There’s nothing quite like a good spooky story around Halloween. While you can always opt for the classic “around the fire” method of storytelling, where people take turns sharing their favorite tales of ghouls and ghosts, you can also make the process more formal. You could host a scary story-writing contest with fabulous prizes for the winners. What better way to get your office in a festive mood while promoting your staff’s creativity and giving them a chance to shine?
You can also read tales from the following books if you’re struggling to find inspiration but still like the idea of sharing scary stories.
- ”Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”
- “More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”
- “Scary Stories 3: More Stories to Chill Your Bones”
- ”More Bones: Scary Stories from Around the World”
- ”Terrifying Tales to Tell at Night”
However, like with most things, this activity is not going to be appropriate for every workplace and might isolate some people who do not like the horror genre. One way to mitigate this concern is by making the “scary story sharing” event voluntary and hosting a separate Halloween party for employees who do not wish to participate. That way, everyone can still feel included in the festivities.
Partying The Newsletter Pro Way
At Newsletter Pro, we like to celebrate any holiday with our team — but Halloween is one of our favorites. Since working remotely, we have had to come up with different ways to get people to feel excited about our Halloween celebrations. Whether it’s playing a game of Halloween trivia, dressing up our pets, or creating a spooky playlist, our Pros are always finding fun ways to connect with their coworkers and enjoy Halloween together.
Here is some of the feedback we received from our staff after our virtual Halloween party last year.
“I love participating in our Halloween costume contest every year. It’s so much fun seeing everyone dressed up on Zoom, hearing about their costumes, and voting on the photos we send after the virtual party. In particular, I look forward to the pet costumes. You wouldn’t believe the outfits my coworkers have coaxed their dogs and cats into over the years!”
–Lex Flamm, Special Projects Lead Writer
“We always throw a virtual Halloween party with trivia games, costumes, and prizes! One year, we had to fill out a form in advance for one of the games, and we were asked to pick our favorite Halloween/spooky song. On the morning of the party, all our submitted songs were curated into a playlist on Spotify and sent out to the whole company to listen to throughout the day. That was a blast! Plus, it got me excited for the party and trying to guess which coworker had picked each song.”
–Karli McNamee, Executive Assistant
“I LOVE remote celebrations. In lieu of in-person ‘watercooler’ chats, these events provide an opportunity to get to know colleagues better. Learning about my colleagues strengthens our relationships because I learn what we have, or don’t have, in common. Seeing employees’ creative sides or penchant for historical/holiday facts is a lot of fun. I’m convinced these celebrations propel employee engagement!”
–Liz Scavnicky, Client Success Manager
“NLP has always been big on Halloween. We brought that passion to the remote world with fun costume contests (employees, children, and pets!), trivia games where a certain unnamed employee ALWAYS WINS, and spooky good times. Those who love Halloween really show up and show out. It’s always fun!”
–Katie Leoni, Marketing Designer
We’re so thankful to have such an incredible team here at Newsletter Pro, and we are so excited to see what they have planned for our 2022 Halloween celebration.
So, whether in-office or celebrating this Halloween remotely, it’s a great time to help your staff feel special and appreciated. You will create trust, a positive company culture, and fun memories for years to come.