When it comes to picking an outfit for your office's annual Halloween event, the minefields are many. The half the costume shop marked 'Slutty X' is instantly out for obvious reasons. Add to that the difficulty of picking an outfit that will be recognizable to (nearly) everyone but still shows some creativity, plus the whole comfort issue, and you're often left wracking your brains for ideas. .

But help is at hand. The internet is thankfully full of creative but lazy Halloween enthusiasts willing to share their best ideas for work-appropriate costumes. Here are a few of their most fun (and also easiest to accomplish) suggestions that, as an added bonus, won't end up with you getting a scolding from HR.

1. Any (fully clothed) Game of Thrones character

Walter Cronkite used to bring America together. In today's partisan world, Game of Thrones does. Pick basically any character and you'll get nods of recognition and a built-in conversation starter for even your hardest-to-talk-to office mates.

Just make sure the "character is fully dressed and not a prostitute," cautions Quartz's Catherine Baab-Muguir, who is among the many suggesting you head to Ikea to express your inner Jon Snow. "If you really don't feel like racking your brain, just go ahead and order an Ice King mask already. It's unoriginal, but recognizable--and no one can see the real face you're making inside it," she adds.

2. Grace Hopper or Katherine Johnson

Are you a woman interested in making a subtle political statement at your office Halloween get together without anyone complaining to HR? Then Girls Who Code has a suggestion for you -- why not go as one of the many great under sung female tech innovators who rarely get the attention they deserve?

OK, sure, not everyone will recognize your costume right off the bat, but that's even more reason to consider dressing as Grace Hopper or Katherine Johnson. You can spend the event educating your co-workers about the contributions of these female pioneers.

3. Rosie the Riveter

Along similar lines but way easier is Rosie the Riveter. Pick up the right head gear and a short sleeve shirt, do a few pre-party push-ups the week before the event, and you should be all set. No explanations required.  

3. Grunge rocker

If you're either a noted procrastinator or a natural slob, Baab-Muguir has a low-effort suggestion for you. "All you need are ill-fitting pants, an old flannel shirt, and stubble. It's actually a good idea if you don't shower, because you'll have the requisite greasy hair, and if you spill coffee on yourself at work, it will only add veracity," she hilariously points out.

Plus, if your look baffles the youngest members of your team, you can also accomplish a bit of intergenerational outreach at the event.

4. Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz

Looking for an equally easy but slightly more feminine option? Wear a full blue skirt to the office and all you'll need to do to transform into Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz is add a basket, some pigtails, and a pair of red shoes, the fashion experts at Vogue point out. (I'm not endorsing their other suggestion of dressing as Lolita though.) Extra bonus points for effort if you also bring in a Toto-esque stuffed - or real - dog. 

5. Dana Scully and/or Fox Mulder from The X-Files

A couple of different lists included this suggestion, and it's not hard to see why. All you need to pull off Scully is a fake clip-on FBI badge, a wig (unless you're a natural redhead, in which case the internet totally agrees you should just go as Joan Holloway from Mad Men) and a serious pout. Mulder is even easier -- just clip on a badge and stand next to Scully.

6. Clark Kent

Step one: put on a superman T-shirt under your suit. Step two: don adorable dorky glasses (if not already wearing), loosen tie, and unbotton suit shirt. You're now good to go. Thanks for the suggestion, Pop Sugar.

7. FedEx Guy

This final suggestion from Baab-Maguir is perfect if you're the type who loves to sow confusion. "You can scoop up a delivery-guy costume on eBay with disturbing ease, so you don't need much lead time for this one," she notes. "Also, you will confuse people all day long and, should you so choose, you can ask people to sign for your package."

8. A Post-It Note

Forgot about the party entirely until someone sent you an 'Are you going?' email at 4:30? No worries. With a little creativity, the makings of a great (ironic) costume are just a trip to the office supply closet away. "You're in the prime spot for office-supply-based humor right now, so I say, roll with it," quips Bustle, which illustrates the Post-It note suggestion with a photo of a trio of ladies rocking ensembles made entirely of tape, colored paper, cardboard, binder clips and snark.

How to Stay Productive During the Holidays
Published on: Oct 16, 2017