Corporate Halloween mp3
Yesterday I received a memo from the office's fun committee indicating an upcoming Halloween celebration. All employees are encouraged to do any of the following: create a spooky drawing on the communal white boards, bring in a carved pumpkin, or dress in costume. Of course, since this celebration is within the corporate realm, it is not without ground rules: drawings, carvings, and costumes must be work appropriate and within the bounds of published corporate celebration guidelines. In other words, boring.
I'm not the type who celebrates Halloween for a couple reasons. First, Halloween has become an over-capitalist holiday to me, particularly in the wake of seeing every abandoned Circuit City and K-Mart building become a Halloween store for two months a year, and after seeing pseudo-creepy decorations pop up in every generic discount store in July, a month ahead of Christmas trees. Second, Halloween fare has become too predictable; is seeing yet another ghoul, zombie, or creepy clown shocking or scary anymore? Events playing out in the general election are much more horrifying.
Regarding the specific workplace activities, I don’t care to draw a scary image on the community white boards since everyone ignores those boards anyway. I’m not into the pumpkin carving thing; the last time an employer handed out small pumpkins to carve, I chose to let mine rot. (I was disappointed when, over time, it simply dried out.) The only part of the fun committee’s request that appeals to me is to don a costume.
But it is the boundaries the company places on the celebration that forces my non-participation. Costumes need to be fun, unique, a bit scary, and perhaps make a statement. Ghouls, zombies, and creepy clowns do not meet any of these prerequisites except the scary one, and is really only chilling if the costume wearer was frightening to begin with. Dressing up as a cat, a popular celebrity or movie character, or a superfan may be fun, but these costumes are not scary or unique and make no attempt at social commentary. The unique costumes I’ve seen are either goofy, too obscure to recognize, or too esoteric to understand, such as the silly “hotdog on a stick,” the unknown “Uncle Silas” from the eponymous novel, or the incomprehensible “Doctor Who in a Shriner’s cap” (though I admit all three are in a way scary). The corporate mandate kiboshes all the normal costume necessities except “fun,” and even “fun” is watered down to a level where such fun does not affect an iota of anyone’s work output.
So, this Halloween, you will not see me dress up at the office as “active workplace shooter.” I will not wear my outfit proclaiming “misogynist groping political candidate.” I will not don my attire representing “bullet-riddled, unarmed minority.” Nor will my choice of costume depict “science denier,” “sovereign citizen,” “heartless business mogul,” “penniless recession investor,” or even my most innocuous of choices “everyman crushed by the weight of his own bad decisions in a society he feels he cannot control.”
Instead, I’ll be portraying another person eschewing the boring rote of another Halloween. In which case, I’ll be wearing what I always wear.