10 Fun and Easy Work-Appropriate Halloween Costumes

Want to get into the Halloween spirit at work but don’t yet have a game plan? No stress. There are 10 great, last-minute options below.

First, a few key insights: steer clear of body paint. Changing your skin color to that of another race is offensive and problematic, and other color choices might have practical implications. Maybe leave the full face and/or body paint for your evening activity.

As pediatric emergency room doctor Meg Marino told me, whatever you wear should be “quickly and easily taken off in case you need to have an important conversation. No one takes the ladybug seriously.”

That said, creativity can be rewarded! Warby Parker actually has a job interview question dedicated to your last costume, which they use to evaluate how well you’ll fit in with what they describe as their fun, quirky culture.

If you want to keep it simple, here are 10 easy options for office-friendly costuming:

1. Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s

This Audrey Hepburn classic is a fan favorite every Halloween because it’s glamourous as all get out and pretty easy to execute.

Must haves: pearls, black dress, big sunglasses

Bonus points: tiara, black gloves, cup of coffee, long cigarette holder

Potential inspiration: Erin Currie Zacher’s Instagram post.

2. Rosie the Riveter

Another iconic option is this World War II era industrial hero. Feel free to roll up your sleeves and show off your muscles.

Must haves: blue button down, red bandana

Bonus points: “You can do it” signage

Potential inspiration (for both life and this costume): Beyonce

3. Cat burglar

With only two easy-to-procure accessories, this is an easy punny option. Most every drug store has cat ears this time of year, and hair buns in the shape of cat ears work too. For the second prop, grab a bag and paint a dollar sign on it.

You could wear all black, a black and white striped top, or a fun cat print. Add a bit of eyeliner for whiskers and a nose, and you’re all set!

Must haves: cat ears, bag with dollar sign on it

Bonus points: domino mask or scarf with eye holes, tail

Potential inspiration: Ashley Nicole on Instagram who went all out with a pink wig and ears.

4. Eleven from Stranger Things

Mimicking your favorite super powered tween from Netflix’s sci-fi hit is an easy win. Yoga instructor Tracey Duncan came to class as Eleven and even gave a brilliant dharma talk focused on Stranger Things.”

Must haves: Eggo waffles and a floral dress

Bonus points: nosebleed (as appropriate), blonde wig

Potential inspiration: Tracey Duncan on Instagram

5. Carmen Sandiego

If red is your favorite color and you happen to have a jacket and hat on hand, you’re all set.

Must haves: red hat, red jacket

Bonus points: Rockapella theme music

Potential inspiration: YesYeni on Instagram

6. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Repurpose your graduation robe and your grandmother’s doilies to emulate RBG.

Must haves: black robe, fancy collar/necklace, glasses

Bonus points: big earrings

Potential Inspiration: Kate McKinnon’s SNL impression

7. Morton Salt girl

If you’re going for a salty look and have a yellow dress or jacket on hand, you’ve got everything you need.

Must haves: yellow dress or rain jacket, umbrella, canister of Morton’s salt

Bonus points: salt trail

Potential inspiration: Emily Fox on Instagram

8. Doctor

For perhaps the comfiest of all last minute costumes, throw on a pair of scrubs and become a doctor. Throw on some red paint for blood if you want it to be creepy and your work is ok with that kind of thing.

Must haves: scrubs

Bonus points: blood, stethoscope, lab coat

Amy Hess as Tracy Flick.jpg

Potential inspiration: Andrea Lubana on Instagram

9. Tracy Flick from the movie Election

A deep cut from Reese Witherspoon’s early years, Amy Hess rocked this costume at her job in finance.

Must haves: plaid skirt, white button down, sweater vest, “Pick Flick” button.

Bonus point: cupcakes

10. Olivia Pope from Scandal

Everyone’s favorite “fixer” is an easy option if you want to rock a favorite glamorous work ensemble for Halloween.

Must haves: Fitted and fashionable business attire

Bonus points (as appropriate): goblet of red grape juice and bowl of popcorn

Potential inspiration: Fatimah Austin Hunter on Instagram


Whether you costume at work, save it for the evening hours, or opt out entirely, I hope you have a splendid Halloween!