Haunted meeting rooms and team costumes: Check out how 7 startups celebrate Halloween

by Liz Warren
October 31, 2017

People can be separated into two groups: Those who love Halloween and those who could live without it. The employees at these local startups fall into the first category. With team costumes, haunted houses and lots of drinks and treats, NYC tech celebrates this day hard.

 

Yext-Halloween
Image via Yext

The team at Yext takes Halloween costumes very seriously — an employee even dressed as the CEO one year. Associate Campus Recruiter Rachel Hirsch, who’s seen two Yext Halloweens, told us about some other award-winning costumes.

On a scale of 1-10, how highly would you rate your team’s Halloween spirit?

I’d say that we're at least a 17 out of 10.

How does your team celebrate the holiday?

People have a great time with the costume contest, and it can get pretty intense. The winner gets a prize and bragging rights for the year. Everyone, including our executives, participates. Employees even bring their kids to the contest! The winner of last year’s costume contest dressed as a chef and carried his baby, dressed as a lobster, in a pot!

What’s the best costume you’ve seen at Yext?

We’ve seen some amazing costumes over the past few years, from superheroes, to jelly beans, to employees dressed as our our CEO, Howard Lerman.

 

CB Insights-Halloween
Image via CB Insights

Market intelligence platform CB Insights celebrates Halloween with lots of sugar and costumes. Director of people ops Menaka Chang has helped the company celebrate three Halloweens so far, and let us know what it’s been like year after year.

On a scale of 1-10, how highly would you rate your team’s Halloween spirit?

8

How does your team celebrate the holiday?

The CB Insights team has a lot of fun on Halloween. There is a Halloween parade as well as a contest for best costume. In addition to costumes, there is also a Halloween-themed bake-off this year, where the top baker gets all the bragging rights.

What’s the best costume you’ve seen at CB Insights?  

Last year, one of CB Insights engineering teams called "Rebel Alliance" dressed up as Star Wars characters. It was a great group effort.   

 

DigitalOcean-Halloween
Image via DigitalOcean

Object storage service DigitalOcean gets into the Halloween spirit with a multiple-day celebration. The team decorates pumpkins in the days leading up to Halloween and then has a costume contest with themed catering and music on the day of. Office experience team lead Amanda Brazzell explained what else is involved.

On a scale of 1-10, how highly would you rate your team’s Halloween spirit?

8 — we’re a spirited bunch, but I’m deducting two points for procrastination.

How does your team celebrate the holiday?

DigitalOcean holds a costume contest every year. The contest takes place in our New York and Cambridge offices, and also extends to our remote employees who share their costume pictures on Slack. We vote on most creative, best overall and best overall pet. The winners are announced at our Halloween happy hour, when our local employees gather to enjoy a spooky experience with themed catering, activities and music in our private event space.

What’s the best costume you’ve seen at DigitalOcean?

Last year, a colleague wore a floral shirt with the alphabet painted on it and wrapped Christmas lights around their body to be the wall from Stranger Things season one. The timing was perfect because Stranger Things was so new and the costume wasn’t played out yet. It was awesome.

 

StackOverflow-Halloween
Image via Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow, an online community for developers, does all the typical Halloween activities — they paint pumpkins, compete for best costume and...play flip cup and beer pong. Office manager Ilana Yitzhaki told us what that’s like.

On a scale of 1-10, how highly would you rate your team’s Halloween spirit?

10! Of course...we always bring it!

How does your team celebrate the holiday?

I started off the day with a special Halloween prank. I hired a friend to dress up in a really creepy outfit and saunter around the office in character — it sure did the trick! The party started at 4 with a game to guess the weight of a gargantuan pumpkin. We also painted pumpkins, held a costume contest, ate and drank, and played flip cup and beer pong. This year was special because the Denver office joined us for the festivities via video conference.

What’s the best costume you’ve seen at Stack Overflow?

One year, a sales rep came in dressed as a very old man. His old age makeup was spot on. He came into the office hunched over with a walker and was almost unrecognizable.

 

Yotpo-Halloween
Image via Yotpo

The folks at Yotpo, a content marketing solution, know how to celebrate Halloween. Head of talent acquisition Sally Bolig explained to us that at Yotpo, it’s a day of creative costumes, Joe’s Pizza and lots of beer and wine.

On a scale of 1-10, how highly would you rate your team’s Halloween spirit?

8, and only because we didn't turn the office into a haunted house.

How does your team celebrate the holiday?

We had a costume contest where each team had to create a themed group outfit. We had some straightforward yet adorable ones like crayons and Despicable Me characters, but we also had particularly creative outfits like Planet of the Abes (Abraham Lincoln). We followed up the contest with the standard Yotpo goodies: Joe's Pizza, beer and wine all around.

What’s the best costume you’ve seen at Yotpo?

The winner of our contest was the AllBirds staff, who pasted feathers to their shirts and had their wear an eagle mask. We also have to give shoutouts to office dogs Minnie (who was a banana) and Farfel (who was a cowboy).

 

Kargo-Halloween
Image via Kargo

Mobile advertising company Kargo takes Halloween very seriously. They don’t just dress up — they turn a meeting room into a haunted house, hand out spooky cocktails and treats and hold a costume contest with prizes. Designer Vicky Nanowski told us what else they’re doing to celebrate.

On a scale of 1-10, how highly would you rate your team’s Halloween spirit?

10 (we definitely go a little overboard).

How does your team celebrate?

For Halloween, we throw a huge party the day of. Coworkers' children stop by the office in cute costumes to kick off the festivities, and they’re greeted with candy and decorations throughout the office. This year, we turned our large boardroom into a haunted house filled with animatronic decorations and lights. Prizes are awarded for best costume, and the party continues with spooky cocktails, treats and music.

What’s the best costume you’ve seen at Kargo?

This cute little chicken and duck combo.

 

PaperlessPost-Halloween
Image via Paperless Post

Being in the business of throwing parties, Paperless Post organizes some festive activities for employees every Halloween. Catherine Etter, who oversees talent acquisition and development, explained what the team’s getting into this year.

On a scale of 1-10, how highly would you rate your team’s Halloween spirit?

8-9

How does your team celebrate the holiday?

Our product is about bringing people together in real life, so most people use us for parties. Needless to say, we have a pretty festive vibe around all company celebrations! We hold a contest for best costume which people get really into — we have an amazing group of creatives and let's just say they are not messing around with their costumes. We completely deck out our canteen with decorations — including a fog machine — and we decorate pumpkins. Also, we extend the invite to our employees’ families, and it’s been so much fun to have their children in the office to celebrate with us.

What’s the best costume you’ve seen at Paperless Post?

Our design team dressed up as one of our cards, which was really fun.

 

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