Businesses are partying in their offices today to celebrate Halloween as the holiday gathers steam in Australia.
What has traditionally been an American holiday has well and truly traversed the Pacific, and in 2019, SMEs across the country are gearing up for a big one today, and tonight.
Some founders are taking it further than others. Dmytro Okunyev, founder of communications software company Chanty, has given his staff the entire ‘day off’.
You read that right. While it’s not a public holiday and staff are still coming in, there won’t be much work getting done at Chanty headquarters today as staff enjoy a sleep in before being encouraged to rock up to the office in Halloween-themed costumes.
“As the clock gets close to 5pm, we go around our office building and trick or treat other offices,” Okunyev tells SmartCompany.
“The first year, it was awkward, but ever since then, they are all prepared for us.
“In fact, two other companies in the building joined us in our Halloween party last year — we hope there are even more people this year!”
Judy Sahay, director of Crowd Media, will also be celebrating Halloween in the office for the first time this year.
“We’re a digital agency. Most of the time, we’re helping all our clients celebrate Halloween, so this year we thought it’s time for us to give it a go,” the founder tells SmartCompany.
Sahay has hired professional chefs to visit her office and cook up a storm for staff, who are being encouraged to wear costumes to work. Topping things off, there will be a movie screening after work. Spoiler alert: the genre will be horror.
“The idea of this is really to get the team away from work, build rapport, and more team bonding than anything else. It’s also an opportunity to have a bit of fun and let go,” Sahay says.
While Chanty and Crowd Media prepare for in-office festivities, other entrepreneurs are manning the tills in a bid to cash in on surging demand for spooky goodies.
Others are taking the opportunity to get their social media buzz up. Vuly Play, a retailer of trampolines and outdoor play equipment based in Queensland, is running a Facebook Live pumpkin carving event.
“We’ve got our pumpkins ready,” the company’s digital manager Matt Bassos says.
Dean Salakas, chief executive of NSW-based retailer The Party People, has been busy organising his company’s Toys ‘R’ Us-sized Halloween pop-up, which has exploded in popularity in recent weeks after TV crews spotlighted the venue.
“Yesterday, we had queues about 30-minutes long,” the retailer tells SmartCompany.
Salakas says Halloween sales are up about 15-20% across the business this year — a further indication demand for spooky goods in late-October is booming in Australia.
What is everyone after? Well, if Salakas’ experience is anything to go by, there’s going to be a fair few Stranger Things, Lion King and Aladdin costumes going around this year, alongside the usual clown, zombie and demon attire.
The activities underscore the growing scope of end-of-year festivities in Australia, which have been a reality for those in the retail sector for several years already. With promotions such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday winding the clock back on sales promotions, Halloween is a natural extension.
Salakas, who set up the Halloween pop-up as a test, has already decided to extend the original lifetime of the store and refurbish the place for Christmas trading.
What’s your company doing for Halloween this year? Let us know at [email protected]