Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween in Higher Ed

Every year, our faculty support office holds a Halloween party complete with costume and pumpkin decorating contests. It's a blast to observe, though it usually appears that there is only 10-15% participation in the costume contest (and I'm not in that group).

In a law school where professionalism is paramount, it's easy to see why the holiday isn't widely observed during office hours. Our dean has been known to visit offices with treats (God bless her!), but our communications office has remained firmly in the no-costume camp. One year, I tried to go as our events coordinator since people frequently mixed us up, but alas, our campus was hosting a moot court competition that day and she wouldn't let me borrow her name tag.

For those of you who are considering dressing up for work (or perhaps managing the fall-out by others who do), here are some interesting resources:
  • What costumes might breed fear in the hearts of faculty? Check out what the staff at Inside Higher Ed compiled a few years ago from academics across the nation.

  • The Society for Human Resource Management recommends that organizations set costume guidelines, enforce dress codes and discipline when necessary for costumes that are too revealing or offensive.

  • What better way to celebrate Halloween at work than by using it as an excuse to preach your brand? Last year, D.W. of the Old College Try blog dressed as her school's official color, Pantone 281. I'm considering printing sandwich-board-sized versions of our incorrect inverse logo (aka "Halloween tower") to educate the campus on what not to do.

  • Author/blogger Michael Stelzner offers three simple marketing lessons from Halloween:
    1) if you want someone knocking on your door, turn on the light, 2) be prepared to give something away, and 3) engage visitors and they will love you. His readers offer some other great takeaways in the comments section.

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