10 Work-Appropriate Halloween Costumes

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Let’s get this out of the way from the get-go — If you’re thinking about going to work on Halloween with a full-blown Miley Cyrus “twerking” look, well, think again.

Miley shocked and offended during her VMA performance, and there is every reason to think you would do the same at the office. Definitely not a wise career move.

The reality is when it comes to work-appropriate Halloween costumes, the hard-and-fast rule is better to be safe than sorry. So think cute not sexy; funny not gory; practical not political. In short, you want to make sure that the costume you choose will in no way offend or embarrass co-workers, diminish your professional reputation, or earn you a trip to HR for violating dress or decency codes.

So here, in no specific order, are 10 costumes that will make for a fun day at the office on Thursday, Oct. 31. 

10 Work-Appropriate Costumes for Halloween at the Office

1. Sleepyhead: Simple and fun, heading to the office in a bathrobe, slippers, bedhead and a big coffee mug is a solid old standby that provides the added bonus of saving you a good half hour or more on morning prep time.

2. Twinkie: One of America’s most iconic sugary treats made headlines this year when production was halted, only to be revived again. Creative types can craft a Twinkie outfit or one can be had at Wal-Mart for a reasonable price.

3. Duck Dynasty: Today’s most popular cable television show should be a safe and popular choice. A touch of camo, a full-length beard and an hunting cap and you should be good to go.

4. Trekkies: The recent release of the movie, Star Trek Into Darkness, has generated renewed interest in the Enterprise crew. Affordable Star Trek costumes are easy to come by, or a costume can be created with relative ease.

5. 80s retro: Big hair, neon colors, shoulder pads for women and the “preppy look” for the men. The 80s are always good for a laugh, and plenty of folks in the workplace can relate to the decade.

6. Hippie: It’s gotten to the point that the we’re far enough removed from the 1960s that the hippie look is generally devoid of any political baggage. It’s an easy costume to create that can be a particularly big hit for a more conservative worker who wants to show his or her lighter side.

7. Athlete: Sports are typically a safe zone – as long as you don’t wear a Yankees jersey in Boston. A football uniform is always a hit, and a baseball or hockey player works too. Going as an over-the-top golfer provides the opportunity to wear some fun and flashy looks.

8. Cowboy/cowgirl: Simple and safe. Grab the flannel shirt, throw on weathered jeans and a pair of boots, top it off with a cowboy hat, and you’re ready to ride.

9. Vampire/witch: Most likely the safest and simplest of the “scary costumes” vampires and witches never go out of style. Just lean toward a more whimsical look, and show restraint when it comes to fake blood.

10. Group effort: Get together with a couple fellow employees who work near your cube or office to create a multi-person costume. Some ideas include a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a box of crayons, M & Ms, or salt-and-pepper shakers.

These are just a sampling of costumes that should be “safe” in a range of work places. Again, use your own best judgment — every culture is different and what might cut it at a high-tech startup would not work at a button-down bank. Just make sure the risk, doesn’t outweigh the reward.

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