2019 Update: Don't want to wear an actual costume to work. Check out our newer post on costumes for work. It's a collection of alternative options to costumes for work.
Back when costumes were just for kids, showing up to the office wearing a costume on Halloween or for any costume party would garnish you with more than just a few strange looks and awkward conversations. Now that generations of Halloween trick-or-treaters have grown up, it’s no wonder that everyone wants to cut loose at work by reliving the days when you could wear a cape or tiara in public without people thinking you’ve escaped from the loony bin. Even your boss is liable to show up wearing a Stormtrooper costume to work.
These days, you can find a whole plethora of adult costumes (some of them VERY adult), but still, selecting a costume that you can wear to work can be difficult. You have to be careful not to offend or shock anyone, since it is still a professional setting. For those of you who would like a little guidance on choosing a non-NSFW costume to wear at your work event, here’s a list of some costume ideas that will guarantee a good time without upsetting your co-workers.
Costumes You Can Wear to Work
Ah, the pirate costume. It’s hard to beat a classic, but with so many choices out there for pirate costumes, from sexy, to gritty, selecting the right one can be a bit daunting. This pirate costume will give you a bit of a Pirates of Caribbean feel, without revealing too much skin to the co-workers. Besides, what kind of girl doesn’t want to walk around the office brandishing a pirate sword?
(Womens Authentic Caribbean Pirate)
They always say you should dress for the job you want, rather than the job you have, so why not show everyone at the workplace that you’re still shooting for the stars? Literally. The temptation to turn the office into mission control for a day yields an appeal for the inner kid in everyone. Just be warned: putting “Space Ship Pilot” on your résumé after wearing this costume to the office may not fly over so well when you shoot for that big promotion.
(White Astronaut Suit)
Not only does a Star Wars costume give you the chance to give a big up to the feisty girl who tamed Harrison Ford, but it also gauges just how nerdy your co-workers are when you say phrases like, “I really don’t think it’s fair for me to be on a jury since I’m a hologram.” These days, being a girl and a Star Wars nerd no longer carries a bad stigma with it, so wearing this will just give you some respect from all the other nerds at the office. Just make sure to get the classic Leia costume and not the Slave Leia costume—unless you work on Jabba’s sail barge, it’s better to leave that outfit in the closet for after work!
(Deluxe Princess Leia Costume)
New Wave Keytar Player
Everyone already knows you’re a rockstar at work, but a little reminder never hurts! Of course, acting like certain rockstars might leave you with severe damage to your liver, a one way ticket to the unemployment office, or even worse, a jail sentence. So what rocker can you choose that doesn’t have the inclination to smash electronics and tip over the company water cooler? Enter the keytar player! Keytar players are notoriously known for being the most sensible of rockers, like Michael Score from Flock of Seagulls and Edgar Winter. Besides, the 80s were the best and it’s about time you reminded everyone in the office how much they love the song "I Ran (So Far Away)."
(80s New Wave Singer)
Animal costumes can be fun at work, but they have the reputation of not being very girl-friendly, unless you’re the type of girl who likes looking like a burly ape or a giant penguin. These kangaroo pajamas change all that. Not only will you look adorable with a little joey peeking out of the pouch at work, but you can be comfortable, too! How many days have you walked into work, wishing that you could have just stayed in your pajamas? This cute costume provides you with the perfect excuse!
(Kangaroo Pajama Costume)
Do you ever hear strange noises in the office? Do other paranormal activities occur at work, like how the coffee pot is magically empty every time you go to get a refill, or how that lunch you left in the breakroom refrigerator vanished into thin air? Now you have the chance to investigate further with this Ghostbusters costume. Not only do you get to dress like one of the best movie characters ever created, but you get to finally crack down on all the mysteries ghostly activities going on at work. Plus, you get to shoot other people with a Neutrona Wand.
Wait, wait, wait. Lady Gaga and "work appropriate" being said in the same sentence? That can’t be right. But it is! Gaga has a style all her own and, although wearing a meat dress or a see through bubble suit may not be appropriate for a work, you can still bring your favorite music star’s look to the office. This Lady Gaga tuxedo captures one of her many looks from the "Born This Way" music video and allows every to enjoy your Gaga appreciation.
(Lady Gaga Tuxedo Costume)
Waldo is like that one friend that no one can ever say anything bad about, no matter how hard they try. The only people who hate Waldo are the poor kids who never had a chance to find him amidst his crazy adventures in the books. Since Waldo has such a “best pal” appeal, he’s always a pretty safe choice for any occasion. You’ll also be a lot more popular at work with everyone going out of their way to find you all day long.
(Where's Waldo Costume)
Little Red Riding Hood
Storybook costumes have always been big, but a lot of the current costumes that are based on children’s stories cross the line of being too risqué for the workplace. However, you can find a fairytale-inspired costume that is alright to wear around your co-workers if you try! This Red Riding Hood lets you bring story time to work with a touch of cute, minus any suggestive sexiness that might go too far.
(Little Red Riding Hood Costume)
If you work at a job that makes you wear a monkey suit all day, it’s about time that you wear a REAL monkey suit. Anyone who loves a good play on words can appreciate the humor in wearing this costume to work.
(Adult Monkey Costume)
There's a time and a place for every costume. These costumes are NOT RECOMMENDED for the office!
The party animal costume is great for frat parties and heading out to the bars, but your boss probably won’t consider a 6 pack of brews around your waist as an appropriate accessory. It’s best to just save this costume for occasions where you won’t have to explain why a drunken monkey was terrorizing Bill from accounting.
(Party Animal Costume Costume)
You might make one sexy Catwoman, but Catwoman has never belonged in the workplace. Unless of course you’re job is cat burglar, which in that case, this costume is so highly impractical for your thieving needs. This costume reveals too much skin to not cause trouble at the office. The place to wear this sultry costume is somewhere that you intend to make some trouble.
Religion and politics are two easy ways to get you in trouble at the work place. Wear this Pope costume to the office and you’re almost guaranteed to offend someone. Any nun, Jesus, or Moses costumes are also included into this category.
No matter what you decide to wear to the office, remember the number one rule about costumes: have fun! The whole point of wearing a costume is to buy into fantasy and be a goof for a day. Just... don't lose your job over it!
This guide was put together by Ryan Heuer, who can assure you that he didn't learn any of these lessons the hard way.