Ghost of Halloween past

Costumes for Zoom times

We can take some educated guesses about Halloween trick-or-treating this year. Traveling house to house, crowding on the stoop, taking candy from a universal bowl: none of it sounds too prudent. And Halloween parties, even with masked attendees, are probably not such a great idea.

Likewise, the status of office Halloween events is shaky at best. It’s unfortunate for credit unions like ours. Financial services is a serious business (as are so many others), and Halloween can offer an opportunity to inject some levity into the works.

One of the most anticipated traditions at The Summit Federal Credit Union is our annual Halloween competition. Employees of several departments and each branch wear group costumes, decorate work areas and serve themed goodies. Everything is planned in secret and revealed the morning of the event. 

This isn’t a couple of Jack-o-lanterns, five people in witches’ hats and a pile of Snickers. The coordination and execution of the elaborate get-ups and displays are impressive to say the least, with some well past over-the-top territory. 

Imagine entering the HR department, now Rydell High from Grease. The space is populated by Sandy, Danny, Frenchy et al. Desks are cars at the drive-in. Platters are spinning rock n’ roll and a formerly mundane conference table has been transformed into Greased Lightnin.’ Another part of the building is an undersea aquarium, and upstairs a bunch of jailbirds sit in cells. My favorite: one year, the technology department were zoo animals, with the manager clad in a white hazmat suit.

At The Summit, we have a reputation for being friendly and human (under the costume), so our members are used to this annual goofiness; they don’t seem to mind speaking on the phone to Shaggy from Scooby Doo or having a payment processed by Michael Jackson, circa 1975. And there are usually treats on offer to whomever enters the branch, though this year, even individually wrapped ones are probably on hiatus.

Could a Zoom version of office Halloween work? Perhaps. But whether Zoom or in the flesh, if your credit union will observe Halloween in some distanced fashion, here are some ideas for group costumes.

Fauci and Scientists

This is probably the most obvious choice, and easy to do. One person wears glasses and a Nationals mask, everyone else dons lab coats. Beware, though, as there may be multiple Faucis and several armies of scientists wandering about. If someone insists, add Dr. Birx in a scarf.

Covid Tests

Imagine a cotton swab. Coat an old ski hat with spray adhesive and stick on cotton stuffing so it looks like a white version of the one atop Queen Elizabeth’s royal guards. (I haven’t tried this, so let me know if it works.) Wear all white and if you’d like, white face makeup. Now you’re ready to probe the daylight out of the next nostril you encounter.

Zoom Version of Yourselves

Take an eyeliner pencil and draw extra wrinkles. Swipe eyeshadow under the eyes for deeper bags. Fashion a triple chin out of a skin-colored sock. For extra effect, freeze every ten minutes or so in an unflattering expression.

Zoom Mullets

This one is easy. It’s business on top and a party (most likely a sleepover) on the bottom. Wear a nice button-up shirt and blazer with fuzzy pajama pants and slippers. Problem is, if your Halloween event is actually on Zoom, the party will be lost under the desk. Perhaps a reverse Zoom mullet: party on top and business below? Or never mind the business part and make the whole thing a party.

Package Delivery

Each person in your department could wear the uniform of a different delivery service. Or everyone wears the same uniform, except for a few people who are packages.

th-Century Plague Masks

Maybe you’ve seen these creepy things: they look like giant, terrifying bird faces, and doctors wore them during the European plague of the mid-1600s. Good news: they substitute for masks. Bad news: they’ll give the members nightmares. Plus, a pointy beak could injure someone–not such good member service. Add that you’ll sound like you’re talking from the bottom of a canyon, and this idea may not be the best.

Life Lines

This is quite nice. With initiatives such as emergency loans, extended payment deadlines and the like, credit unions have come to the aid of so many members during this time. Everyone can dress as a rescue team: EMT, Red Cross, etc. Or be lifeguards and hang flotation devices around the room.

Cynthia Kolko

Cynthia Kolko

Cynthia Kolko manages community involvement and public relations activities for The Summit Federal Credit Union, which serves members across Western and Central New York. She is also The Summit's copywriter, ... Web: Details