For some, Halloweeen is about cute children in adorable costumes.  For others, Halloween conjures up images of witches, ghost, and goblins who, in the words of Shakespeare “Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

30992649_sFor others, Halloween is simply about getting the best candy and treats.  For employers, Halloween can be a minefield.

Every year there is no shortage of offensive Halloween costumes.  This year, one of the most offensive ones I saw on Facebook was a child wearing black face dressed as Ray Rice dragging an African American doll by the hair.  Costumes not only take aim at ethnic groups, a lot of them are downright indecent.  If you do not think that is the case, just Google “sexy Halloween costumes.”  I just did and in .35 seconds Google came back with approximately 26,100,000 results.

Halloween can be a fun a holiday and an opportunity for employers to boost employee morale with costume contests.  For example, our office is having a Halloween social where employees’ costumed children and leashed pets are welcome to attend.  But, before allowing employees to dress up or decorate their cubicles, employers should set ground rules regarding permissible costumes and decorations.  Employers should also not hesitate to send home employees who violate those basic ground rules.