Halloween in the office: costume creativity at lunchtime

Halloween's just around the corner and the good news is: kids aren't the only ones allowed to have fun these days! Whether you're two or ninety-two, what's to stop you dressing up and making the most of this once-a-year opportunity for mayhem, mischief and all-round costumed merrymaking?

While we're at it, what's to stop you using a lunch hour or two to get your costume ready?

If you spend a large chunk of your waking life sitting in an office, here's our guide making the most of your (limited) free time, so you're not racing home on Wednesday to throw together a last-minute Halloween costume.

Be your own weapons master

Does your office have water coolers? Those big bottles come in handy for all kinds of things. Stick one on each end of a broomstick, cover them in masking tape and hey presto: your own pugil stick, as seen on combat and gladiatorial shows.

Bring on the knight

If you dream of chasing imaginary dragons and performing daring feats all over the place, what could be better than your very own suit of chainmail?

A box of 1,000 paperclips shouldn't cost more than a couple of pounds (and your company might get them for a lot less). With any luck, your friendly manager could spare you a box if you don't have time to get to the shops. If you're lucky enough to have a choice, remember: the larger the paperclips, the easier it'll be...

Then it's over to you and your sewing skills. Stitch them all over a plain T-shirt and you're ready for battle. If the IT department have any old mice they don't need, see if you can attach one to a stick and make a morning-star to set your costume off.


On Halloween, even daddies can be mummies. All it takes is a few rolls of toilet paper, a cooperative colleague and a bit of time with some sellotape. If you work in a very informal office - or your company's hosting its own Halloween on Wednesday afternoon - you could do this at lunchtime. If not, you might need to wait until hometime for this.

Either way, you're saving yourself a trip to the shops - and you get to arrive home all dressed up and ready to go.

Make a display of yourself

When the Teletubbies hit the screens in 1997, TVs and monitors were chunky things with a fat box behind them. Fast forward to 2021 and 7-inch 'tablets' are available for well under 100.

If you already have one, it could add that extra touch of realism to your Tinky Winky costume (without the screen, it'll just look like what it is: a purple tracksuit). Just download some suitable content, attached it to the front of your costume and make sure it's fully charged before you hit the party.

Printed horrors

As so often happens, the internet comes to the rescue. Just type something like 'printable masks' into a search engine and see what pops up.

All it takes is a printer, some elastic, a pair of scissors - and a manager who doesn't mind the occasional use of office resources for this kind of thing!

Get spotty

Do you or your kids have any white pyjamas / tracksuits - and an obsession with a certain kind of spotty dog that stars in a famous film?

Most offices have a few black markers lying around, so half an hour in the canteen should be all you need to get that costume spotted up and ready to go - along with half a pair of white tights for a tail and a hat with some cloth ears on the sides.

Zombify yourself

One great thing about zombies: they're not very picky when it comes to outfits. Just grab your oldest, tattiest clothes and make them even tattier. 20 minutes with a pair of scissors should do the trick, so it's the kind of thing you can fit into the shortest lunchbreak.

For added realism, add a few blood / ketchup stains - and take them outside and find some dirt to rub in.

A note for parents

If you're a working parent, you're facing a double challenge: cooking up ways to frighten the family without bleeding your bank account dry. Most of these ideas work as well for kids' costumes as they do for your own (except the Teletubby one, since over-excited kids and LCD screens aren't a particularly good combination).

Remember: a pre-warned manager is a calm manager

A friendly word of warning for office workers everywhere. Bosses don't tend to appreciate people 'wasting' (!) office supplies any more than they like the idea of lost man-hours.

So, whatever costume ideas we've managed to inspire, remember it pays to have a chat with your manager before you start emptying the stationery cupboard.

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