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13 Iconic and Spooky Halloween Contest Ideas For Work

Looking to celebrate Halloween at your office in a unique way? Check out these 13 Halloween contest ideas for work that everyone can enjoy!

So you’ve entered the real world and have a “real” job now, huh? With Halloween coming up, you may not be sure if it’s acceptable to show up dressed up in a costume or not. It’s not much fun to be the only one dressed up!

Or maybe you want to be the “fun” boss, the one who wants to celebrate the holidays with their employees in the office.

Do you want to change work culture, or connect your remote team, and bring some fun to the workplace because you know it’ll boost employee morale and experience?

Or maybe you’ve found yourself on the social committee, wanting to do really fun break room holiday activities with your colleagues – ones they’ll actually want to show up to.

No matter which of these categories you fall under, or if you fall under another one, the bottom line stays the same – we all want to celebrate Halloween at work but we don’t want it to be cliché or boring or the same old office Halloween party.

So what does that leave us with for Halloween celebrations that are fun and office-friendly? Make it into a contest! Contests are a great way to include many people—Everyone gets super competitive, especially in the workplace.

By having a Halloween costume contest – or multiple ones – you’re more likely to get more team members involved. But what should these Halloween contests be?

Not everything is acceptable in the workplace – drinking games are most likely out of the question. But there’s still a ton of fun Halloween contests for you to pick from. Let your employees enjoy spooky season with these contest ideas for Halloween festivities!

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halloween contest ideas for work

13 Halloween Contest Ideas For Work

Costume Contest

Topping our list of Halloween contest ideas for work is the costume contest! People can be a bit weary about showing up to work on Halloween dressed up. Is it acceptable or isn’t it? Will I be the only one dressed up, or not?

By having a costume contest, you’re reassuring everyone that they won’t be the only one showing up to work in Halloween costumes. Plus, you’re giving them an incentive to do it, which makes it more likely that more people will come in costume.If you’re part of a big team in the office, you may want to come up with a group costume for your team.

Don’t make the costume contest just for “best costumes,” either. With this idea, you can have different categories too like “best overall costume,” “best group costume,” “most creative costume,” “scariest costume, “funniest costume,” and more, this way multiple people win! Make it even more fun by giving out custom awards!

Trick Or Treat In The Office

Who says trick or treating is just for kids? Adults love candy, too, especially at 3 PM on a workday—the perfect time for a boost of sugar. Encourage everyone to bring in candy and have it in a bowl on their desks.

Then throughout the day have people trick or treat around the office! If you’re a big company, you can have different teams or lines of businesses go at different times. Then spend the last half hour or hour of your day enjoying your candy all together!

halloween contest ideas for work

Desk Decoration Competition

Since you can’t really turn your office into a haunted house, have people decorate their desks and show off their Halloween spirit. With this idea, you are going to need to start before Halloween.

Encourage your employees at the beginning of October to start to bring in decorations and to decorate their desks just like they’d decorate their homes. Tell them the last day they can add to their desks is on Halloween.

Then have “judges,” like the CEO, go around and choose their favorite desk. Or have everyone spend an hour walking around and ranking their favorite decorated desks and see who wins via vast majority!

Note: If people don’t have desks because you have more of an open office plan, split up the common areas and let different teams decorate different sections! The winning team can celebrate over apple cider!

Photo Contest

If your company has the budget, bring in a photo booth so your employees can have memories forever! Everyone loves posing with some props, especially when they’re in costume. For the crafty team members, you can easily create your own photo station and order some Halloween themed props online.

Come up with a hashtag for your employees to use when posting like #HalloweenFunAtCOMPANYNAME. To turn this into a fun contest, give a prize to whoever comes up with the wittiest social media post or to whoever posts the most!

Horror Movie Marathon

If work’s on the slower side and you can give your employees a fun, “free” day, why not have a Halloween movie marathon! Think back to the days when you were in school – didn’t you love when the teacher would roll in a TV set or put a movie on? Let’s be honest – we’d still love that.

Promote the movie marathon in advance and ask your employees to guess which movies will be part of the marathon. Whoever gets the most guesses right can win a prize!

Or you can share the movies that are part of the marathon with everyone in advance. Encourage them to dress up as a character in the movie, and whoever comes in the best costume that most accurately matches the movie, wins!

Note: it’s a good idea to offer warnings ahead of time if a movie is going to be scary or maybe just keep it on mute with subtitles…

jack o laterns

Pumpkin Carving Contest

This is the OG of Halloween contests isn’t it? For good reason, too! Show off your creative side with this competition.

Up to you whether you want everyone to carve whatever they want or you want to have some sort of theme. Some companies will share a picture of what the pumpkin should look like and everyone follows that; whoever has the one that looks most like the picture, wins!

If your company has a distinct logo or symbol that isn’t too difficult to carve into a pumpkin, encourage everyone to do that and then post them on your company’s social media pages!

Pumpkin Painting

If carving a pumpkin is just a bit too much work for work (see what we did there?!), pumpkin painting is a fun and great alternative.

You can do whatever you want with this – give people the freedom to paint whatever they want, give them a theme to stick to, or have a sample of what it should look like and have everyone copy it. You can also even use this super easy pumpkin decorating kit to make it simple!

Or again, if you have a logo or symbol you want everyone to integrate onto their pumpkin, go for it!

Bobbing For Apples

Another OG Halloween contest, and one that works great in the office…assuming you’re not scared about getting a little wet! Bobbing for apples will definitely make you feel like a kid again and bring lots of laughs to the workplace.

If you don’t want to use a tub of water or you can’t have that in your office, you can shake things up a bit by dangling apples on a string. Then have people try and get the apple in the mouth while it’s swinging on the string, but they can’t use their hands!

Mummy Making

Who doesn’t want to turn their colleagues into a mummy?! Split everyone up into pairs, give them some rolls of toilet paper and give them no more than 5 minutes to wrap each other up as mummies.

Whichever pair looks the most like mummies when time’s up, wins!

Halloween Potluck

Why should Thanksgiving be the only holiday where companies have potlucks? Sure, Halloween is synonymous with candy and sweets, but there are tons of fun Halloween-themed food you can make for the day – think pigs in a blanket mummies.

Have people bring in a Halloween-themed food and have everyone vote on which is the most Halloween. Then enjoy the food all together as a group! Have a Halloween playlist on in the background and whoever starts singing along to the monster mash first gets an extra prize!

halloween cookies for a halloween contest

Murder Mystery

There’s just something about a murder mystery game that goes so well with Halloween, right? Have a fun (and entirely fake!!) murder mystery at the office.

You’ll need someone to be the narrator that gives everyone playing their character assignment. The participants then ask each other questions to try and figure out who the murderer is.

Whoever guesses correctly, wins! Or if the “murderer” is left standing at the end, they win! This is an way for an entire team to have a good time together while still being competitive.

Most Festive Background

If your company is remote, or if you have remote workers, you can still get into the Halloween fun. Have all your remote employees use Halloween themed backgrounds for any calls and meetings they have that date.

You can also schedule a company wide call where everyone shows off their backgrounds, and maybe have a virtual costume contest! It’s an easy way to band the whole office together, especially if you have a small budget during the Halloween season.

This is such an easy Halloween contest idea for work – you could easily do it every year!

Have A Guessing Game

Place candy corn in a bowl or container and have employees guess how many pieces are in there. If candy corn isn’t your choice of candy, use whatever candy you want, just make sure it’s Halloween-esque.

This is a fun and easy contest idea that you can do more than once – you can have a container of candy corn, a container of tootsie rolls, a container of Reese’s, etc. Have the containers be different shapes too, to really shake things up. Whoever guesses the number closest can win all the candy in that container!

Final Thoughts on These Incredible Halloween Contest Ideas For Work

All of these are great standalone Halloween contest ideas. But if you’re able to, have a whole day of Halloween fun at work. Try more than one of these ideas.

Your employees will be so happy, and grateful! Prizes can be something simple like a gift card or something more special. Or, let them out a little early, this way if they have kids at home – or maybe a niece or nephew – they get back in time to go trick-or-treating with them.

If you don’t want to stick just to a halloween theme, many of these Halloween contest ideas for work work well for fall themed options instead if you’d rather avoid Halloween. Have fun!! Let us know your favorite way to celebrate in the comments.

About the Author

Michelle Ioannou

Michelle graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelors of Arts '13 and a Master of Arts '14. She's currently working in corporate America with a side of freelance writing. She wants you to learn from her experiences and mistakes so your 20s can be your best decade. When she's not working, she's likely planning her escape to a tropical island.