From scarfing down caramel apples to watching reruns of your favorite horror movies and trick-or-treating with the kids, Halloween has an almost spooky ability to entertain just about everybody.
As it turns out, Chicago tech companies also have a few festive tricks up their sleeve to keep their culture thriving and their employees smiling. We asked a bunch of Chicago companies to share with us how they celebrate Halloween, and these 17 companies really know how make the most of a monster mash.
UrbanBound’s annual Halloween celebration is called UrbanBoo — complete with snacks, drinks, and even “spooky surprises.” Their typical afternoon is replaced with everything from contests and games to good ol’ fashioned socializing, and it all ends with — you guessed it — a costume contest with prizes.
ContextMedia takes its halloween celebrations seriously. Their annual festivities include a costume contest, with nearly 100 percent of the company participating. (And there are no shortcuts — employees are encouraged to wear their costumes with pride, from the second they step off the elevator to the moment they leave). After the winners of the costume contest are revealed, ContextMedia hosts a talent show with a judges panel made up of senior leadership.
kCura’s annual pod-decorating contest has been the highlight of Halloween since 2011. Teams compete with themed costumes and decorations to create the best trick-or-treating zone for the company. Past pods have recreated Jurassic Park, Willy Wonka, Shark Week, and Beetlejuice.
At Solstice, creative costuming is highly encouraged. In the past, group costumes have often triumphed, including groups that dressed as the Solstice CEO, emoticons, and hipster Disney princesses. And Solstice's celebration is a family affair, too, as spouses and children are invited to come to show off costumes. One of Solstice’s project teams even made an app just for the day to share pictures of Solstice employees in their Halloween costumes as kids.
Even the founders get into the Halloween spirit at GoHealth, whose annual Halloween celebrations include a party and costume contest. The best part? Whichever Halloween costume receives the loudest applause during the contest is awarded a generous $500 gift card.
Signal means business when it comes to Halloween — especially when it means getting to socialize with people you might not get to work with every day. Their celebrations have got it all: monster drawing contests, team trick-or-treating, an annual potluck, and themed cocktails. Scary movies are played throughout the day, and their costume competition ends in a epic walk-off.
VelocityEHS says the company’s enthusiasm for Halloween reflects the type of dynamic corporate culture that drives the company to success. Their annual Halloween Costume & Cube Decorating Contest is a point of pride for many of the company’s employees, and involves fierce, fun competition. You might see a radioactive material tent draped over the cubes in the chemical authoring area, or a WWE wrestling ring in the sales department complete with fighters and fog machines. Watch out for body-slams!
Rise celebrates Halloween each year with spooky decorations, a party, and, of course, an agency-wide costume contest (bonus points for the digital marketing-inspired costumes!) Even their CEO gets in the Halloween spirit. And this year, they’re stepping things up a notch: besides endless bowls of candy and punch, they’re also offering a Halloween donut bar with scary movies playing all day in their lounge.
Gesture CEO Jim Alvarez might take the cake when it comes to going all in for Halloween. Alvarez owns Amhurst Asylum in Valparaiso, Indiana, and says he always looks forward to this time of year. "It is frightening how much fun we have in October,” he said. “We partner with hundreds of charities and we let the crazies out over at Amhurst."
PowerReviews is known to host random spirit days where employees don any number of fun outfits, and as a result, they’ve become a sort of expert on dressing up. That’s why Halloween at PowerReviews is extra exciting. Besides their awesome costume competitions, they also have cross-departmental trick-or-treating, “Haunted” beer pong, Harold’s Chicken, and Monster Mash playing on loop.
At Centro, employees are encouraged to bring in their kids for some office trick-or-treating. Employees can bring in their cute little rug rats to show off their costumes.
Every year, VISANOW hosts its annual VN Monster Mash bash. This year, they’ve introduced a new element: employees are encouraged to bring spouses, kids, and friends — with costumes for all highly encouraged.
At Fieldglass, Halloween means getting your creative juices flowing and wowing everyone at the office with an elaborate costume (which is shown off during a parade through the office). In the past, employees have dressed as everything from the seven deadly sins to Hunger Games character Effie Trinket.
Jellyvision’s Halloween party is also kid-focused, and employees are encouraged to bring in their children for entertainment and fun. Jellyvision provides games, costumes contests, and crafts (all the while getting them hyped up on sugar).
Civis Analytics loves Halloween. Every year they host a costume contest, and the running gag is to dress up as their coworkers — to everyone’s delight. Besides costumes, they also enjoy a bunch of Halloween-themed snacks and treats.
At Performics’ costume contest, things can get geeky. The biggest award goes out to the best group costume, and last year that included teams dressed as Excel formulas and a 404 error.
For the second time, Enova is hosting its annual pumpkin carving competition with a tech twist. Twelve teams of five work together to create a pumpkin masterpiece brought to life with inspired tech. After three hours of carving, employees gather for a happy hour and vote on the best pumpkin in three categories: most creative, spookiest design and best technology. Last year's winners included a "Merpumpkin" whose tail moved to the beat of a mermaid tune.
Have a tip for us or know of a company that deserves coverage? Email us via [email protected].