Skeletons at a party, one with a surprised face

Halloween has the potential to be the perfect bridge between summer and Christmas workplace festivities. Candy, decorations and silly costumes! What more could you ask for to lighten the mood around the office? Well, for a few misguided individuals, the traditional approach wasn’t enough and they found themselves in serious trouble in the workplace…

Reckless Halloween Pranks

In 2010, high school teacher in Taunton, Massachusetts, landed himself in hot water after a Halloween prank went horribly wrong. While in class two days before Halloween, a 15-year-old student followed his teacher’s instruction to answer a knock at the door. Moments later, the boy was seriously injured after he turned to flee what he uncovered behind the door: a teacher wearing a mask and wielding a chainsaw. Unsurprisingly, as a result of the student’s injuries, his parents sued the school board for damages.

Thoughtless Halloween Presumptions

In another incident that wound up in the courts, an employee who identifies herself as a Wiccan was awarded 15,000 GBP after her bosses fired her in the wake of Halloween 2013. After returning to work in a UK convenience store, the 45-year-old told her employers that she had attended a Halloween ceremony. Upon learning that the worker self-identified as a Pagan witch, the owners, apparently, began to discriminate against their employee. While the witch was fired for an alleged theft, the court upheld her case for discrimination. To some, Halloween celebrations are no joke.

Ruthless Halloween Costumes

In a story that almost defies belief, a woman posted a picture of herself posing with two men dressed for a 2013 Halloween party. The men were dressed as the shooter and the teenager who he shot, George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, respectively. Zimmerman had been acquitted three months before Halloween in a racially charged case that had provoked protests across the US. Incredibly, all three of the Halloween pranksters were white, and the man dressed as Martin wore a black face. While the woman was not in costume, she posed smiling with the men, then posted the picture to Instagram. As soon as her employers got wind of the picture, she was fired.

Bad taste and bad judgment don’t belong anywhere near your work life. Traditional candy, jack-o-lanterns and decorations might feel somewhat uncreative as an office Halloween celebration, they are unlikely to land you in court or the morning papers!