Ghouls in the workplace? Businesses, schools vary on office spirits on Halloween

Wesley Clark takes an order Saturday at Triangle Park Bar and Grille while wearing some beach attire. Other staff were also dressed in costumes. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Peter Marks works at a table Saturday at Triangle Park Bar and Grille while sporting a squid hat. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)

As Peter Marks cleared a table at Triangle Park Bar and Grille on Saturday night his green-and-blue “head” kept hitting the lights. Meanwhile, a waitress’ “horns” sparkled as she serviced tables at the restaurant, 3010 Trier Road. Marks had on a squid hat, a waitress a devil outfit and server Wesley Clark had a bit of a beach theme for his outfit.

With Halloween falling on Tuesday, a normal workday, some employees will be dressing up, depending on their company’s policy. However, don’t expect to see a skeleton in the emergency room. And, according to The Associated Press, some universities are urging students this Halloween to pass on sombreros, Native American headdresses and blackface so their costume choices don’t offend their classmates.

Here’s a look at some Fort Wayne employers’ policies in response to email inquiries:

*Lutheran Health Network: “Generally speaking, Halloween costumes tend to be inconsistent with the type of soothing experience we strive to deliver,” wrote Geoff Thomas, spokesman. “The last thing we’d want to do is have a patient become confused or agitated in any way because someone they see is dressed in something other than standard hospital attire. However, Lutheran Children’s Hospital has a long tradition of wearing special costumes throughout the year to help make that environment warmer and more comforting to young patients who may view a trip to the hospital much differently than an adult. The themes chosen for LCH activities obviously emphasize fun while avoiding scary.”

Lutheran Hospital’s Employee Advisory Group is hosting a contest this year in which employees can submit photos of themselves and family members trick-or-treating, which is 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Fort Wayne.

*Parkview Health: “Parkview Health does have a policy on workplace attire but it does not specifically address Halloween costumes,” wrote Jessica Miller, spokeswoman. “We allow our non-clinical teams to dress as they wish for Halloween, as long as it is appropriate. Our clinical teams must still wear scrubs or clinical attire so they are easily recognizable by patients.”

*At Sweetwater Sound: “If employees want to wear a costume to work that day we are OK with it, so long as it doesn’t interfere with their performing their job function and as long as it’s not offensive to others,” wrote Jeff McDonald, senior vice president, Human Resources. The business, 5501 U.S. Highway 30 W., showed a free movie, “Hotel Transylvania 2” in its Performance Theater on Oct. 21 for employees and their families.

*“Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus traditionally has a Halloween Costumes ‘N Carry-In,” wrote Andrew D. Welch, executive director of marketing and communications. “Everyone is invited to participate in the casual, progressive carry-in lunch. Costumes are not required, but they are encouraged in order to add more fun in the workplace. As it relates to limits, the college expects costumes to be family friendly in nature as well as within the framework of appropriateness per the employee dress code. Some offices and departments participate in friendly decoration contests, which in turn creates a more lively and engaging environment for our students on campus.”

*The city of Fort Wayne: “There are some city of Fort Wayne departments and employees who like to participate in Halloween,” said John Perlich, city spokesman. “Department leaders and staff have open communication on what’s appropriate and allowed in a work setting.”

*Fort Wayne Community Schools doesn’t have a districtwide costumes policy, said spokeswoman Krista J. Stockman. “Some schools likely will have teachers in school-appropriate costumes; others won’t.”

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