Halloween is right around the corner, which means Thanksgiving and Christmas are only a few months away. Yikes! As we all know the holidays can get pretty busy. Before the holiday season starts, take some time out to celebrate your team and give them a chance to have some spooky virtual Halloween fun.
Halloween can be a great opportunity to bring everyone together unexpectedly and with a little less pressure. While it’s not an official holiday, chances are many of your team members will already be planning to go trick or treating with their kids, stocking up on spooky candy in bulk at CVS, or working on their spooktacular costume for an epic dress-up party.
A themed Halloween virtual holiday party is a great way to help improve morale, create more team engagement, increase productivity, and also, be an important vehicle for the team to celebrate recent wins and recognize effort. Encouraging teams to celebrate success helps reinforce the behavior you want when they face a new challenge or opportunity and also be up to 2.7x more engaged and connected to their team and work.
Research from Deloitte also shows that companies with positive work environments have 31% lower voluntary turnover than companies with poor recognition cultures. And what is one of the main contributing factors to a positive work environment? You guessed it… appreciation!
So next month, use Halloween as a fun catalyst to recognize and celebrate your team’s efforts and achievements. Sometimes even the mere act of investing time during the busy workday to have some fun can be enough to show your team you care about them and all the work they do.
These activities can be adapted, mixed, and matched to meet your team’s needs and personalities. The trick is to start planning now!
1. Pumpkin Carving Or Decorating
The pumpkin is one of Halloween’s most iconic symbols. Why not get in the spirit by organizing a team pumpkin carving contest?
Great for in-person, hybrid, or remote teams, everyone can carve their pumpkins while chatting over Zoom or an in-person happy hour. People can carve individually or work in groups, and even include family members. At the end, everyone can present their creations and win prizes for the most creative, scariest, weirdest, and more!
If safety or mess is a concern, you can always decorate pumpkins with art supplies instead. And while shipping pumpkins to remote employees may be a bit excessive, you can always consider reimbursing them for their pumpkin purchases and/or sending them any necessary supplies!
Add Some Team Building
To make this more of a collaboration and communication exercise, set your team up into groups. Have them designate one carver or decorator, one designer (or group of designers), and one instructor. Only the carver/decorator can touch the pumpkin based on guidance from only the instructor. The instructor must follow the finalized designs from their design team. The designs cannot be altered once the carving or decorating has begun. Once the pumpkins are complete, see how close the final results are to the original design. This can be especially fun and challenging for hybrid or remote teams.
For inspiration, check out this collection of 50+ creative pumpkin-carving stencils, or a few of our favorite candy and chocolate-inspired stencils:
2. Play Dress Up!
For many people, it’s fun to dress up for Halloween at work. You get to mix up your regular workday, potentially do some fun team activities, and bond with your teammates.
This holiday party idea can take many forms. You can simply encourage team members to wear a costume or scary accessory to work for the day or make it more elaborate by holding a competition and parade. For larger teams, you might want to consider assigning a theme like superheroes or celebrities to each team or department to boost the inter/intra team competition. Team members can vote for a variety of prizes like the funniest costume, best homemade costume, scariest costume, best theme, and more.
Source: Daily Mail UK
Add Some Company Culture
Do you specialize in a certain type of product? Ask team members to dress in their best interpretation of your merchandise or brand. Does your organization have a lot of partnerships? Challenge employees to represent their favorite organization. We’ve seen some pretty creative stuff! One duo dressed as a barn and a noble at an event to represent a partnership with Barnes & Noble. Now that’s clever! It may feel a little too company-centric, but if you’re cultivating a fun work environment teams tend to really get into the challenge after some initial brainstorming.
As a word of warning, if you’re organizing the party, remember to remind everyone to keep their outfits appropriate for the workplace. You don’t need any unnecessary wardrobe scandals on your hands!
3. Make Halloween Candy Together
Some of the best team building activities out there are the ones where team members can create something easy (and preferably edible) together!
As much as we all love our regular store-bought candy, why not challenge your team to make a Halloween treat together in person or virtually! Your team members will be fully immersed and engaged in the activity, all while building stronger ties with their team and satisfying their sweet tooth! Just make sure the ingredients are easy to source, the recipe is foolproof, and it doesn’t take too long. Here are some recipe ideas from Spruce Eats.
Source: tinyB Chocolate
Add Some Authenticity
Celebrate this season of scare by making your own Brazilian chocolate truffles! If you’re looking for an even more grand and easier option, check out tinyB Chocolate for a virtual chocolate party event of any size. We’ll provide everything you need to make delicious chocolate brigadeiros (Brazilian truffles) and a chocolatier to guide your team through a delicious, memorable, story-telling experience. Learn how to combine flavors and create colorful Halloween-themed treats that are both delicious and fun.
4. Decorate Your Workspace
Some team members love to decorate their workspace for Halloween. Whether everyone is in the office or working remotely, they can still jazz up their work area with some spooky decorations. Think cobwebs, pumpkins, fake blood, plastic insects, and more. Here are some great ideas from Homedit.
If in-person, organize an office tour to see everyone’s creations, or if virtual, get everyone to take a moment to explain their inspiration and execution. To take it up a notch, add a competition element. However, be sure to include prizes for those who are a little less creative. You don’t want anyone to feel like they don’t have a fighting chance.
Make It A Family Affair
If most of your team is virtual or hybrid, you may be able to generate more excitement and engagement by involving family (and friends or roommates!) in this activity. Also, some homes may have limited space for decorating. An alternative to is accessible to almost anyone is creating a mini-museum. Individuals or families can create their own display of a spooky setting, interpretation of their favorite scary cartoon or movie, or even highlight a historical figure relates to Halloween. Once they are complete, host a live showcase (in-person or virtually) and have everyone take photos you display on an internal (or external) website for everyone to enjoy throughout the month.
5. Organize An Escape Room
Increasingly popular for virtual teams, escape rooms are great for building teamwork skills under pressure. Teams have to work quickly with each other to solve a series of problems and activities to avoid a loss and escape the room. Plus, they’re even more fun when planned around a spooky Halloween theme.
Your team could solve a murder mystery, embed themselves in a world of wizards and magic, or try to discover a magic potion before it evaporates.
For virtual events, it’s best to leave the organizing up to the professionals for maximum fun. Here are six virtual escape rooms recommended by Martha Stewart, including the ever-popular Escape Game. Sure to be a hit with everyone!
6. Host A Halloween-Themed Breakfast, Afternoon Tea, Or Happy Hour
At the simpler end of the scale, consider hosting a Halloween-themed team break. With a lot of creative license, you can get team members to dress up (Activity #2), decorate their workspace (Activity #4), and even play a couple of Halloween-themed games (Activity #12).
While apple cider doughnuts and cinnamon rolls (or any of Martha Stewart’s favorite Halloween potluck dishes) may work a little better in person, you can also host a virtual BYO break. Just encourage everyone to bring their favorite Halloween-inspired dish, candy, or cocktail to share as well as their best Halloween-themed Zoom background.
7. Tour A Haunted House
Haunted houses and Halloween go hand in hand. If your team is up for a truly spooky Halloween experience, consider organizing a virtual tour of a haunted house. It’s a great chance to test your nerves, get the heart pumping, and maybe even share a scream or two.
While there are lots of haunted locations you can visit in-person, some of the top-rated virtual tours are of the Paris Catacombs, the Eastern State Penitentiary, and the Winchester Mystery House. There are also a variety of virtual ‘hosted’ tours - however, it’s a bit harder to switch the tab when you get scared!
Source: Eastern State Penitentiary
8. Hire Some Halloween Entertainment
If you’re hosting a team Halloween holiday costume party, consider hiring some virtual entertainment. You could delight your team with a live magic show, mind-reading session, or tarot card reading. Thanks to the pandemic, there has been a massive surge in highly-rated, high-quality virtual events through platforms like AirBNB experiences.
Pair it with an in-costume happy hour for an extra fun factor. Not only will you be giving your team members a little extra treat, but you’ll also be supporting entertainment industry members who likely taken a big hit over the last 18 months.
Source: AirBNB experiences
9. Murder Mystery Game
A murder mystery game is one your whole team or company can play, and Halloween is quite possibly one of the best times of the year to host one.
It’s also a great team building game as it requires everyone to work together to figure out the murderer. Make sure you encourage people to get in character and even dress up!
You can design your own or use one of many free scripts out there or hire some Murder Mystery experts to run a dedicated session for your team. Guaranteed to be a fun session for all!
10. Volunteer For The Day
If you’re looking to give back this fall, Halloween can be a great time to volunteer as a team for a local charity, soup kitchen, or animal shelter. You could either dress up while volunteering or consider doing a very Halloween-specific activity, like making costumes or distributing gifts and candy to less fortunate children via a local charity.
Whether it’s one hour or the whole day, research has shown that allowing team members to volunteer their time and skills will often increase overall engagement and improve team morale.
11. Halloween Games
As another way to keep things simple, you can mix up your regular office day and allow your team members to get into the Halloween spirit by playing some simple Halloween-themed games.
You can choose one game, a series of games, play individually or as a team… the options are endless.
Here are a few ideas for inspiration:
Source: Play Party Plan
12. Participate In A Wine And Chocolate Pairing Event
If you can’t go out trick or treating, then the next best thing can be to indulge your team in a grown-up Halloween experience.
Using inspiration from a classic wine tasting event, we suggest removing the cheese and swapping in chocolate and candy. Vivino has put together a fun Halloween candy and wine matching chart as a guide. Who would’ve thought that Skittles and Sauvignon Blanc went well together?!
For remote participants, you’ll need to send your team members everything they need or reimburse them for their purchases. If that all sounds like too much effort, you can also bring in the chocolate experts to host a hybrid or virtual wine and chocolate experience. tinyB Chocolate hosts popular virtual wine and chocolate brigadeiro tasting events. Their chocolatiers can even make the event Halloween-themed on request.
Source: tinyB Chocolate