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5 Rules for Halloween in the Canadian Workplace

Posted by: Sana Arshad Date: October 31, 2019 Category: Blog

Halloween is quite the Canadian tradition, that many newcomers and immigrants might not have heard about before coming to Canada. Traditionally on Halloween, people used to wear frightening costumes to scare off ghosts. Over time, it morphed into All Hallows Eve or the day before All Saints Day (honoring saints).

For newcomers and immigrants, it can be quite challenging to learn the fine balance between going all out, and doing just enough. We have broken down some of the factors you should consider before participating in Halloween at your workplace.

1) Awareness:

If you are new to the workplace, ask about Halloween traditions from before. You might have spent an all-nighter getting your costume right, but if you are the only one dressed up in the office, you will likely feel awkward.

2) Moderation:

If your office has encouraged staff to come in costume, make sure you are not wearing any provocative or sexy costumes. Also, base your costume on the basis of the services you provide. For example, if you are dealing with babies or young infant, it probably isn’t a great idea to dress as a zombie with fake blood and realistic makeup. Since Canada is such a diverse country, be sensitive to costumes that might unintentionally or blatantly mock a colleague’s culture, race, or religion. Be diligent about considering if your costume is reinforcing a negative stereotype

3) Functionality:

Many costumes come with a headpiece or mask, but ensure that at all times, your costume will not prevent you from completing your everyday duties. Let’s say, you get called into a meeting with your company’s department head. Would you be comfortable attending a meeting dressed this way? How about if you are a tradesperson, and the costume could potentially be a work hazard (for example, loose parts or hanging bits)?

4) Respect:

Halloween is not everyone’s cup of tea, and some people prefer not to celebrate. Since we Canadians are known for being polite, don’t give your colleagues a hard time about not dressing up. Enjoy the costumes of those who did dress up instead and be sensitive to those who might not celebrate Halloween for personal reasons.

5) Interference:

While holidays like these are a good opportunity to mingle and catch-up with colleagues, do ensure that you are not being too loud. Move to an informal area like the pantry, so that you are away from the general work area.

If you do decide to decorate your work station, think carefully about creating obstacles or safety hazards with your decorations. If you are in customer service, avoid decorations that will hinder customers from reaching you.


While these are general guidelines, try to ask your colleagues how is Halloween normally celebrated in your workplace. Be safe, respectful, and enjoy the candy!

Also check out these links for costume ideas:





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