Five workplace Halloween costumes that will haunt your career

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ALT-FrolicHawaii-2015-10By Steve T. Yeti, ambassador of Real Jobs Hawaii

Getting into the Halloween spirit is a great way to shake things up at the office and bond with your fellow coworkers. It may also be a rare opportunity to break out of your normal work threads into something a little more fun. Just keep in mind that one bad costume could ruin your professional reputation and get you into hot water with management. As you decide what costume to rock at work this year, steer clear of these types of costumes as they may come back and haunt you.

The Sexy Costume: These days there seems to be a “sexy” version of almost every costume out there. But even if that racy Madonna outfit is a hit amongst your friends, it’s probably not the best costume choice for the office. Your coworkers shouldn’t see more of you than they would on any other day at work. Remember that you are in a place of business and general rules of decorum still apply.

The Religious, Racial, or Ethnic Costume: No matter how innocent your intentions, the pregnant nun or priest with a child on his nether regions will always be a workplace no-no. And it’s more than just a matter of decency and respect – it also poses legal risks to your employer, who has a legal obligation to provide a safe, non-hostile work environment.

The Overly Gory Costume: A little blood might be appropriate, depending on your workplace, but it’s safe to say that the menacing blood-thirsty zombie should stay home for the day. Not everyone is comfortable with gaping wounds and gashes, even if it’s fake.

The Look-a-Like Costume: Dressing up as Super Woman or Batman – yes. Dressing up as your boss (or anyone else you work with for that matter) — no. Seeking to get a few laughs at someone else’s expense is never okay. In the end, the only one who will look foolish is you.

The Over-the-Top Costume: Work still has to get done, even on Halloween. If your costume has 10 pieces and requires the help of two people to get in and out of, consider scaling it down. Being creative doesn’t mean you have to go overboard. Make sure your costume is practical for your workplace and your job duties.

Every workplace has varying levels of conservatism, so choose your costume accordingly. It’s a good idea to ask your employer about any costume rules ahead of time and to bring a change of clothes with you in case something unexpected comes up during the day (i.e. a wardrobe malfunction or a last minute client meeting).

I hope you have a safe and fun Halloween! If you’d like to share some of your workplace costumes with the Real Jobs Hawaii team, send us your images via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Hashtag #RealJobsHI.

Steve T. Yeti is the ambassador of Real Jobs Hawaii, a free, online job board for both Hawaii employers and job seekers. If you’re ready to connect to your dream job, go to