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Ghastly One
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5,896 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Okay, I've got a bit of a Halloween dilemma going on and I need some fresh, outside of the box thinking....which with everything going on this year I don't seem to be able to do myself.

First of all, I'm Travis. Looooong time straggler around these hallowed halls. Let me say Hello and Thank You to anyone who reads this and mulls it over, let alone starts throwing out ideas. I wouldn't trust this with any other group of people on the web but you all.

Anyway, let's begin, shall we?

I work at one of the greatest places ever for having celebrations to blow off steam, Halloween being one of the biggest celebrations to look forward to during the year, which is one of the main reasons why when they offered to buy out my contract from the temp agency I worked for and hire me I had no complaints. It's also what eventually led me to finding this place called Halloween Forum, but I digress. Halloween here begins with every department setting up what we call a 'Grazing Table'. An area in the department filled with food and candy donated by the members of that department and typically (hopefully, depends on how busy that department is) decorated to the nines with all sorts of scary stuff. And then at like 10:00 am people start 'grazing' from department to department, some in costume, some not, and getting treats. Plus there is a contest where everyone votes on the best table/ area and that group gets a prize.

But that's not all.

During the lunch hour, the Recognition Task Force Committee (A group of employee volunteers headed up by the HR dept) would put together a full on Haunted House for the employees to walk through, or for the last 5 years, the Pumpkin Olympics, which was a group of contests centered around pumpkins obviously, like speed JOL carving, pumpkin shot-put and the like. (There were a couple of years where we did them both. Talk about crazy busy) About 5 years ago due to the loss of our HH space we went solely to the Pumpkin Olympics, which was fun for a while. The last couple of years though the idea grew tiresome to us on the committee and, it seemed, to the rest of the office. So talk had started (instigated by me) to bring the Haunted House back from the dead. After last fall it looked like this was going to be the year, and then the economy tanked, the architecture industry got hit hard, there were massive layoffs, and all of a sudden things that were office traditions were not just scaled back, but some of them were cut out all together. (there is a strong group around here that now opposes about every form of steam releasing, morale building activity regardless of how much they might cost) Add on the fact that my HR sources now tell me it's going to be a rough fall with more lay-offs possible and I don't have to tell you the HH idea is sunk this year. Which I must admit, with everything else going on I wasn't really looking forward to spearheading anyway. But on the other hand I feel like there needs to be ....something.

So now finally, the challenge (point). There is going to be an RTF meeting in a few weeks I'm sure to start talking about the fall things. (or lack there of) Halloween is definitely going to come up and the whole table is going to look at me since I'm "the Halloween Guy". I would love then to be able to lay an Idea on them (or 2) that would A; Be fun for the whole office (100+ people), new, yet respectful of the current situations going on in the office (i.e. just completed or looming layoffs, tight money, etc.) and B; To keep a tradition going that hopefully will give folks a little of the comfort that tradition can bring during trying and uncertain times, especially since it's something everyone looks forward to around here.
So, criteria- It needs to cost very little to preferably nothing in HR dept overhead.
It needs to use very little volunteer man hours in set up, maintenance (performance or whatever) and take down.
It needs to be something that 100+ people can enjoy either all at once or individually
It needs to have a little 'wow' factor without drawing too much attention from the 'stick in the muds' and them saying "Who did this?" "How much did this cost?" "This isn't a time for celebration" blah blah blah.
And, although I know it's impossible to please everyone, I would like most people to walk away thinking, "Hey, that was kinda fun" at
least. I'm not looking to take the Haunt world by storm with this, just to have a place holder until times get better.
Anything more is gravy.

The only thing I've been able to come up with so far is reserve one of the medium size conference areas and make it up like a little movie theater and just run old monster movies from like 11:00 to 1:00 with a popcorn machine in the corner (I think I know someone who's got one) and people can take a little break around lunch and watch 'Vampires From Mars' or something.

I don't know. In rereading all this, is it even possible? Should I just let them pack it up for a year. I worry that once things get put off, sometimes they never come back and all of a sudden it's 5 years later and people are saying "Remember when we used to do that."

Once again, thanks in advance for even looking at this. I look forward to any ideas you can come up with.
Sincerely,

Sivart Yabb
 

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Registered
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576 Posts
Sounds like many things are possible, even with the black cloud of dread looming overhead.

- Costume Contest: Since everyone has their own Halloween at home, they should at least have their own costume. No cost, lots of categories, a few cheessy prizes, maybe some old b&w horror movie DVD's.

- Grazing Table: I like that idea - that's cheap, easy, and something your office already knows how to do. C'mon, how much does it cost to bake up some cupcakes!

- Secret Reaper Gift Exchange: Do it with Pick or Steal rules, max value $5.

For those that claim, ...this is not a time for celebration..." I say quite the opposite. Even if times are hard, that does not mean we have to walk around angry and sad and gloomy. How did people in the Great Depression treat holidays? They worked with whatever they had and made the best of it. So please tell those sticks-in-the-mud to lighten up, give people a break, and put some cheer back into the work place.

And frankly, do you need anyone's permission to put up a Grazing Table? If you bake it...they will come.
 

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Shadow Crosser
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741 Posts
One thing you can do that won't cost the company, is to have a cubical decorating contest. Have each employee decorate their own cube or office. The company could offer for a prize, a choice parking spot for a month or something like that.
Also, hold a Halloween raffle. That way those that want to participate, do. Keep the costume contest, but add a couple of categories: scarest, funniest, most original etc. The awards can be hand made and inexpensive. (There are some great threads here for home made awards.)

How about an office scavenger hunt. Schedule a specific time for each department.

Since you guys do food tables, have contests on best display, creepiest food or best Halloween desert.

Initiate a "You've been boo'd" (see threads here) the week before Halloween to get everyone in the mood.

Hope these help get your creative juices flowing.
 

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AKA - S.M. Barrett
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1,084 Posts
Aside from cubicle decorating (which people will do if you give them the whole month of October to prep) on the final week keep the offices dim, using table lamps and such, no overheads except where needed, and crank in some creepy music, like Midnight Syndicate or Nox Arcana.

On the big day, have the costume contest, but also play Bug Collector -

Everyone gets two small plastic bugs (worms, spiders, roaches, whatever). Throughout the day, you lose a bug for everyone who startles you. You win a bug from anyone you startle. Just before end of work, bugs are counted. Most bugs wins a prize (a gift card for Amazon.com or a discount at a local eatery, etc.).
 

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Ghastly One
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5,896 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
- Costume Contest: Since everyone has their own Halloween at home, they should at least have their own costume. No cost, lots of categories, a few cheessy prizes, maybe some old b&w horror movie DVD's.
Actually, this became part of the Pumpkin Olympics last couple years, a 'Best costume' and a 'Speed costume relay'. I don't know how much of a 'prize budget' we're going to have to work with. I'll find out at the meeting.

- Grazing Table: I like that idea - that's cheap, easy, and something your office already knows how to do. C'mon, how much does it cost to bake up some cupcakes! .
One thing you can do that won't cost the company, is to have a cubical decorating contest. Have each employee decorate their own cube or office. The company could offer for a prize, a choice parking spot for a month or something like that. .
Well that part of it will probably live on regaurdless, heck besides the cooler of pop it's mostly bragging rights for the floor who wins anyway. Even if there was an official declaration by the higher ups that we weren't doing anything period this year, I would bet money that some people would "Forget" and bring something anyway.

As for cubilce decorating, interesting thought. Though that type of decorative energy usually goes into the Grazing Tables themselves. Plus due to our open design our areas aren't your standard 'cubicle' type stalls. Not impossible though. Storing for later use.

- Secret Reaper Gift Exchange: Do it with Pick or Steal rules, max value $5.
Hmmmm, interesting. Gonna mull that one over too

For those that claim, ...this is not a time for celebration..." I say quite the opposite. Even if times are hard, that does not mean we have to walk around angry and sad and gloomy. How did people in the Great Depression treat holidays? They worked with whatever they had and made the best of it. So please tell those sticks-in-the-mud to lighten up, give people a break, and put some cheer back into the work place..
Well first let me say I agree, and I'm sure the head of HR agrees to a point. Sadly some of the stick in the muds are fairly important people in the company, y'know...like the COO and stuff.

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And frankly, do you need anyone's permission to put up a Grazing Table? If you bake it...they will come.
Too true. You've heard of the 'Freshman 15'? Around here it's the 'HGA 20'. Sharks with thier crazy sense of smell got nothing on these people!

How about an office scavenger hunt. Schedule a specific time for each department .
We do a treasure hunt around here on St. Patrick's Day, but I was wondering if something couldn't be retrofitted. Interesting.

Initiate a "You've been boo'd" (see threads here) the week before Halloween to get everyone in the mood..
I'll check it out, thanks! Keep em Comin!
 

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The Goddess of Screams
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518 Posts
First, I wish like hell I worked with Travis.

Second, I wish like hell, I worked with anyone as into Halloween as me!

Here's what my list of suggestions would be (mostly what's already been said)

Food
Costumes
Cube/area decorations
I think the BOO'd idea would be PERFECT for you!
Scavenger Hunt

Or how about....you get one of those small pumpkins, paint it ugly or a mean face - call it something like Pumpkin Head - and put it in someone's area, discreetly....then they have to give it to someone else on the sly....the person with it at the end of the day loses - kinda like hot potato but with a pumpkin! I dont know....you might be able to work that into something keeping every one hopping all day.
 

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Ghastly One
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5,896 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Aside from cubicle decorating (which people will do if you give them the whole month of October to prep) on the final week keep the offices dim, using table lamps and such, no overheads except where needed, and crank in some creepy music, like Midnight Syndicate or Nox Arcana.
Sadly that won't fly, we're a little too big and corporate for that. Most floors here can't even play music at thier workstations (we're lucky being in the basement. Out of sight out of mind) And people aren't supposed to use thier headphones, but they do.

On the big day, have the costume contest, but also play Bug Collector -

Everyone gets two small plastic bugs (worms, spiders, roaches, whatever). Throughout the day, you lose a bug for everyone who startles you. You win a bug from anyone you startle. Just before end of work, bugs are counted. Most bugs wins a prize (a gift card for Amazon.com or a discount at a local eatery, etc.).
That's a cool idea. I wonder if we could make that work around here. We still might be a little big for that..

Thanks.
 

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Ghastly One
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5,896 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
First, I wish like hell I worked with Travis.
Aw. It's an architecture firm, how are you at drawing fancy buildings?


Or how about....you get one of those small pumpkins, paint it ugly or a mean face - call it something like Pumpkin Head - and put it in someone's area, discreetly....then they have to give it to someone else on the sly....the person with it at the end of the day loses - kinda like hot potato but with a pumpkin! I dont know....you might be able to work that into something keeping every one hopping all day.
That sounds really funny! Keeping this one around too. Thanks a lot!
 

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The Goddess of Screams
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518 Posts
Travis, can't draw building, but I can account for every dime!! :D

Your pictures are GREAT!! I HAVE to ask - those full size pictures with the face cut out - WHERE did you get those??? I am looking for a photo op to set up at my teen boys party - that might work out good!
 

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Ghastly One
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5,896 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Travis, can't draw building, but I can account for every dime!! :D

Your pictures are GREAT!! I HAVE to ask - those full size pictures with the face cut out - WHERE did you get those??? I am looking for a photo op to set up at my teen boys party - that might work out good!
Oh, sorry. We work in the print shop of this firm and one of the guys down here has taught himself to be a photoshop master in his off time. Those were all done specifically for the day. The leatherface one is me, the Mike Myers one is Pete from the model shop...who also made the frame for the third one out of gator board. Then since we use large format printers we just print them out. We still have to pay for them though.
 
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