Halloween is a fun holiday, but it doesn’t always get the attention it deserves — especially if it falls on a weekday when most people have to work. Fortunately, there is still a way to indulge in the spooky holiday while in the office — dress up and join your office’s Halloween festivities!
How many days of the year are you encouraged to dress up and goof around at work? Probably just one — Halloween — and even then, it can be hard to know what’s office-appropriate.
We want you to have fun this year, so we’re taking the work out if it for you. We’ve compiled a list of DIY Halloween costume ideas that are easy to put together, inexpensive, and perfect for the digital marketer or tech professional.
If your family and friends don’t get your costume, your colleagues definitely will.
Here’s what you’ll need:
This costume is great because you can either dress up as your favorite web browser on your own, or you can have your friends join in on the fun and make it a group costume.
Either way, it’s a simple and cost-effective costume for your next office party. Just print the browser logos, cut them out, and wear them around your neck with a string or ribbon. For the rest of the outfit, you can color coordinate using the clothes you have at home.
Alt text isn’t just the metadata of an image published on the web — you could also say it’s an “alternative” fashion statement with the text to describe the era. It’s great because you don’t even look dressed up if you have a casual office dress code, so you can just blend in.
To dress as alt text this Halloween, break out your best 90s alternative garb — like black jeans, combat boots, and a flannel. Then, tape hyphenated text that best describes what you’re wearing, much like an image of your outfit would do online to help search engines read the file.
We edited a sash of alt text onto the alternatively dressed girl below, just to help you picture your awesome costume.
Wander around holding an appetizer — candy, cheese and crackers, chips and dip, or whatever you have on hand — and you can call yourself a mobile “app.”
This costume also doubles as a great way to introduce yourself and make friends at a party.
Have you ever written something for somebody else’s byline? Such is the life of a “ghostwriter.” Turn your author-less accomplishment into this year’s office Halloween costume.
To dress up as a ghostwriter, grab a white sheet and cut a hole for your head and arms. Dab some black ink spots on the sheet, get a book and one of those feather quills (or just get a feather, I suppose), and boo — you’re a ghostwriter.
Whitespace on the internet might just denote all the blank space you use to help your design stand out, but on Halloween, “whitespace” isn’t just the absence of space.
You’ve most likely encountered a funny error 404 page before, and you can make it a funny costume, too. Grab a sheet of paper, write “Error 404: Costume Not Found,” and tape it to your outfit.
If you’re into programming code, British comedy, and low-effort costumes, being (Monty) Python is perfect. Dress up in anything remotely snakelike in your closet: olive green clothing, snakeskin accessories, and fake vampire teeth that can serve as your fangs.
Grab face paint or eyeliner and write “book” across your cheeks. Just like that, you’re the world’s biggest social network for Halloween.
And for your sake, we hope your colleagues actually get it:
Phishing emails are nothing to joke about — they can seriously threaten your technology and data security. But on Halloween, you can dress up as a play on phishing emails for an easy DIY costume. All you need are a stick, a piece of string, and an envelope. Bonus points if you own a bucket hat and vest to complete the ensemble. Check out an amusing version of this costume below.
“CNTRL + C” is the popular keyboard macro allowing you to copy items from one place to another on your computer. Well, here’s a technology spin on a classic Halloween costume. All you’ll need are cat ears, eyeliner-drawn whiskers, and a sheet of paper. Write “CNTRL + C” on the paper, tape it to your outfit, and you’re a “copycat.”
You know the screen, even if you don’t know the morbid nickname the tech world has given it. This classic error screen is known for signaling the end of a computer’s useful life, and you know it when you see it. It causes so much stress on site, in fact, that the color alone is scary enough for Halloween.
This will work best with two people. You can cut a Point A and Point B pin shape out of cardboard, paint them red, and write A and B on both pieces. From there, you can personalize the costume however you’d like. You can even get more intricate by finding a T-Shirt with a map on it.
Nothing is more terrifying than a dead battery or no Wi-Fi. This costume brings every techy’s fears to life. It’s also pretty simple to create. Just tape or glue images of dead Wi-Fi and low battery signals onto a black shirt. To emphasize the low-connectivity fears, put on some zombie or skeleton makeup.
Although this can work as a couple’s costume, this could also be a fun option for office colleagues. Since both costumes within the set don’t rely on each other to be understandable, an individual could also wear either the Dead Battery outfit or the No-Wi-Fi suit and still be easily recognized.
This genius professional found a golden (or, rather, purple) opportunity to be the information desk emoji — the many gestures that we’ve all come to know, love, and use at some point in a text conversation.
The best part about this awesome tech reference is that you don’t need to alter your regular attire to make it work. As Naomi shows us below, it’s all in the hand gestures.
Are you just in love with Halloween? Prove it with this passionate emoji face. You don’t have to paint your entire face to get the Heart Eyes Emoji just right, but it certainly helps. It’ll also disguise your stress when you’re at your most focused during the day.
“This employee just seems to love her job, I can’t put my finger on why,” your manager will think. See how to paint this emoji onto your face below — you’ll need some help with this one.
You can never go wrong with the classics. Minnie Mouse is a timeless, simple, and inexpensive costume that never goes out of style. And if your Halloween office party allows for a plus one, you can invite your spouse or significant other to dress up as Mickey. Who doesn’t love a cute couple’s costume?
Top Gun-inspired costumes will likely see a boost in popularity this Halloween thanks to the 2022 sequel “Top Gun: Maverick.” While you can find the signature green jumpsuits online for a decent price, you can also put the outfit together at home if you have jeans, a white shirt, a jacket, and sunglasses lying around.
Ever bought formal attire for a special occasion and never worn it again? Well, now you have an excuse to bring your formal pieces out of retirement. Dress up as a “formal apology,” because nothing says “quirky office party” like a good play on words. Simply dress up in your formal dress or suit, and have a sign or sash that reads “apology” or “sorry.”
This is a great costume to pull off with your best friend at the office, especially if you already have a suit lying around.
At work, “fully vested” usually refers to one’s ability to earn all matching funds of a 401(k) retirement plan. But for some, you just can’t help but picture someone wearing lots of sleeveless jackets at the same time. Now’s the time to personify that image.
If you work in a company where people would get the joke, put on a bunch of vests (at least three, but even more is encouraged), and that’s about it. You’re fully vested.
What I love about the nerd costume is that it’s effortless and always unique — there are many ways to be a nerd in this day and age. Are you a tech nerd, a video game nerd, or a book nerd? The sky is the limit with this costume. Show up wearing glasses with your favorite accessories — such as a magic wand, book, or lightsaber — to complete the effect.
The Sanderson Sisters made a comeback in Hocus Pocus 2, which streamed on Disney+ this year — so they’ll likely be a popular costume this Halloween season that will be easy to find at any costume store.
Go to your local paint or hardware store and buy 50 grey paint swatches. Then, tape them to a black shirt and tell your colleagues you’re, “50 Shades of Grey.”
If you’ve been on social media at all, you’ve likely noticed old red-carpet photos of Disney Channel stars like Ashley Tisdale re-circulating online. Early 2000s Disney fashion was interesting, to say the least, and would make a fun nostalgic costume.
The best part about this idea is that there is a lot of room to improvise. The wilder the accessories the better — and you can likely use almost anything from your closet. Want to wear a skirt over jeans? Or add a chunky belt to the ensemble? The possibilities are endless.
Eleven from Stranger Things is universally beloved, and it’s a bonus that her signature look is a comfortable and easy-to-assemble costume. Rock your best Eleven with a dress, a denim jacket, and a box of Eggo Waffles.
Since it’s a pretty generic sailor uniform, you might be able to easily find one that’s similar in a variety of Halloween shops. This costume could work for both individuals or two colleagues.
At HubSpot, we love embracing team costumes. A few years ago, a handful of HubSpot employees grabbed some T-Shirts and wrote the stages of the sales lifecycle on them. Then they lined up accordingly and passed a fake prospect listing around to symbolize the process of making a sale. This was such an easy costume to coordinate that the team could even include an out-of-office employee over a video call.
While this Pinterest image shows classmates posing as major social media networks, this could easily be modified to fit the office setting.
Simply pick out a solid list of the hottest social networks, then buy blank T-Shirts that match the colors of each platform. From there, you can either draw, tape, or glue the logos onto each shirt. If you’re not interested in the tutus worn below, you could also find matching pants, or just wear jeans and keep things simple.
Here’s another group costume idea that pays tribute to Snapchat’s filters feature.
Put a marketing spin on a classic Halloween costume by arriving as a Snapchat ghost. All you’ll need is a white sheet and to pick which ghost you like the most.
Here’s yet another awesome ghostly costume idea your whole team at work can get in on. Have your team lead wear the yellow pie-shaped garb of PAC-MAN, with each team member dressed as the multi-colored ghosts that roam the screen in this vintage arcade game.
Just make sure the team lead doesn’t actually try to eat the ghosts — you’re in an office, and you’re all technically on the same team.
The clothes don’t make the marketer, but the costume can certainly make the culture at your company. Now that you have plenty of ideas for fun, work-appropriate Halloween attire, you’re ready to wow your coworkers at your next spooky office party.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published October 21, 2018 but was updated in October of 2022 for comprehensiveness.