Know what’s scary? Figuring out Halloween costumes for work. You’ve gotta strike the right mix of work appropriate and creative — nothing that would freak out HR (or your coworkers with more delicate sensibilities).
While the stress of coming up with a costume is enough to make you just show up in your regular attire, you don’t want to be the office party-pooper. So I came up with some clever, cheap, pretty-easy-to-implement-and-HR-friendly Halloween costumes that are playfully tech- and marketing-related. Scroll for the section that applies to you: individual costume or group costume.
Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas for Individuals
1) The Scarf Guy From the Apple Announcement
Wear a purple scarf, short blonde wig, light lavender button-up shirt, and of course, bring out your iPhone. Or, you could just be the scarf — it did take on a life of its own — and wrap yourself in purple fabric.
2) Bono Forcibly Giving Away a Free U2 Album
Dress up like Bono — tinted sunglasses, black tshirt, slicked back hair — and hand out CDs with "Songs of Innocence" written in permanent marker on them.
3) Mobile App
Wander around holding a plate of chips and dip (or whatever your favorite app happens to be). Boom. You’re a mobile "app." You’re also probably the most popular person at the party.
Don a black bodysuit. If you’re not into wearing skintight onesies, an all black outfit would do, too.
Now, get ready for some light crafting: Acquire a round black paper plate, some white paint, and some string. Poke two holes on either side of the place to tie the string through — this is how you’ll affix the plate to your face as a mask. Paint a white semicircle on the bottom of the plate to mimic the Ello smile, don that face mask, and voila! You’re the hottest new social network to totally maybe make Facebook irrelevant.
5) Flappy Bird
Warning: This last-minute costume requires some more intensive crafting. You’ll need a duck bill, a cardboard box that fits around your body and some spare cardboard cut into squares, hot glue or another strong glue, and paint/brushes: yellow, light orange, white, and black.
If you look at the bird, he’s mostly comprised of large color blocks. Paint those color blocks on your cardboard box — light orange on the bottom, yellow on top, and white on the sides. Then, paint a black border around your cardboard box.
Now, it’s time to create that pixelated look on your flappy bird body — the cardboard squares will be used to achieve that look. Paint your cardboard squares in various colors, and affix them to the borders of the cardboard box to create a look of a pixelated border.
Now pop that cardboard box around your body (cut yourself arm holes or fashion some suspenders if you like) and put on your duck bill!
Dress up like a hipster, and hand out graham crackers really, really, fast. Boom. Insta-graham.
This is work appropriate for some offices — use good judgment to determine if your office is one of those. Grab a sanitary napkin and string it over your eye like an eye patch. Eye Pad. Get it? You can also sport something smaller and make yourself an iPad mini.
8) SEO Ninja
Dress in all black with a mask over your face, and tape keywords all over your body. It’ll be great for your next Halloween Party Halloween Gathering Halloween Festivities Halloween Bash Halloween Celebration.
9) Sharknado 2
Wrap yourself in a dark tulle to mimic a tornado, and staple little stuffed sharks all over yourself. Tuck your hand inside your shirt sleeve, and carry around that severed hand to mimic [SPOILER ALERT] Tara Reid’s hand being bitten off by the shark.
10) Google Maps
This one was sent to me by a TechnoBuffalo reader, who found the idea on their site. Find white masking tape and tape it over your clothes in long strips to look like roads. Write the road names there in permanent marker. Cut out a big red pin to hold up to or wear around your face.
Grab a white sheet and cut out a hole for your head and arms. Dob some black ink spots on the sheet, grab a feather quill, and you got yourself a ghostwriter.
12) White Space
Dress in all white. Add white face paint and a white wig if you’re ultra-committed. Then add a hint of color somewhere on the outfit — like a colored belt or tie, or just a paint splotch — to make the white space more prominent.
Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas for Groups
13) Series A Round of Funding
Great for the startup tech geeks — get a bunch of people together, write the letter "A" on a piece of paper, and staple it to your shirt. (You could do subsequent funding rounds using the same principle, too.)
14) Beats Commercial
Got a pair of Beats headphones? Dress in athletic gear, sport the headphones, and walk around like a boss.
15) BuzzFeed Reactions
Everyone dresses in yellow and writes one of the following in big black letters on their shirt. Be sure to put the numbers above each sentiment, too. Sign up fast, lest you end up with "trashy" or "ew."
16) Link Farm
Get a group of people to dress up like different farm animals, and link arms. If you’re really committed, buy one of those creepy chains you find in the decor section at Halloween stores, and link up that way. You can be the farmer since the costume was your idea.
17) Black and White Hat SEO
I think you can figure this one out. I recommend an all black outfit for one, and all white for the other — but the hat’s the most important part!
18) Google Algorithm Update
You’ll need three people for this one. One penguin, one panda, one hummingbird.
Get a group together to rock some popular emojis. Here’s a sampling I recommend due to their unique blend of easy-to-recognize and easy-to-execute.
For the purple devil ("Smiling Face With Horns") and the blue face ("Face Screaming in Fear"), most of your costume hinges on face paint. Paint your face accordingly, and for the purple emoji, put on a pair of purple devil horns.
For the heart-eyed emoji ("Smiling Face With Heart-Shaped Eyes") and tear drop emoji ("Face With Tears of Joy"), paint your face yellow, and cut out hearts or tear drops to affix to your face. If you’re the heart-eyed emoji, be sure to cut out some small eye holes for yourself.
Web 2.0. Ping. Cross-pollinate. You know the buzzwords. (If you don’t, here’s a big list you can pull from.) Cut out some conversation bubbles, write in the common buzzy words and phrases, and tape to your outfits. Each person should carry a buzzer and, when the buzzword is uttered, buzz at the offender. (Reserved for coworkers with a sense of humor.)
If you end up making any of these costumes — send pictures to @HubSpot!
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2013, and it’s since been completely updated to be more comprehensive and current. Happy Halloween!