Discovery’s pandemic-style Halloween

This year marks my sixth Halloween at Discovery Health Partners. Why, you might ask, am I aware of how many Halloweens I’ve celebrated here? Well, first of all, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays—along with all the sights, sounds, tricks, and treats that it brings. But when I joined Discovery in 2014, I had no idea if others would share my enthusiasm—after all, I’m a grown woman, and Halloween is only for kids, right??!! Would my new company allow celebrations in the office for Halloween? Could I decorate my workspace? If I wore a costume, would I be the only one?

As it turned out and to my delight, I soon found out that the answers were yes, yes and yes! Full disclosure—I had decided NOT to dress up in a costume my first Halloween at Discovery because I thought maybe my coworkers were trying to prank me into being the only one in costume. The lesson I quickly learned is that Halloween—and celebrations of many kinds—is an integral part of Discovery’s culture and demonstrate the importance the company places on engaging its employees, encouraging cross-departmental relationship building, creating a sense of community and belonging, and celebrating its people.

Halloween is serious business at Discovery: departments compete for the best-decorated office space; we serve a potluck luncheon featuring employees’ specialty dishes; and hold a full-blown costume contest where employees go all out with their costumes, full makeup, and get in character to walk the competition runway, cheered on by teammates and colleagues.

Halloween at Discovery

A virtual twist on employee participation

Because we’ve got the Halloween spirit baked into our DNA at Discovery, not even a pandemic will stand in the way of our 2020 Discovery Halloween plans—we’ll just add a virtual twist.

For most of us, our offices are now at home. Instead of decorated cubicles and office spaces, this year we’ll share photos of our decorated home spaces, where we can offer digital ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ and even get ideas for next year.

Wearing face masks have, at least for now, become part of our new normal. Our “COVID Halloween mask” contest will take the place of the in-person costume contest runway. We’ll share photos of ourselves in our best Halloween-decorated COVID masks, and the entire company will vote to select the best in several categories. The photos will be shared on a virtual runway during our quarterly company meeting, where the winners will be announced.

Because it seems that more than a few of us at Discovery enjoy a little friendly competition, on the day before Halloween, we’ll share our lunchtime and knowledge of all things Halloween during own Discovery Halloween Virtual Trivia contest. Winners’ bragging rights are at stake—and believe me, we take those seriously, too!

Our family members and pets are often also our officemates right now. So we’ll include them in our plans by sharing photos of them, and ourselves, celebrating Halloween and other fall traditions—pumpkin carving, apple picking, dressing in costumes. Since we can’t be physically together to share our potluck, we’ll share photos and recipes of our favorite Halloween and fall specialties and treats.

And, in keeping with our #2020Good campaign, we’ll share our time, talent, or treasures with others in need and hope to inspire others to do the same.

Growing up, many of us have experienced Halloweens that were so cold that trick-or-treaters were forced to hide their costumes under bulky winter coats. There were also lots of rainy Halloweens that soaked kids to the bone. But we figured it out then and still carried on. And we’ll figure it again this year despite the limitations that COVID brings. With Discovery’s commitment to engaging its employees and celebrating its people, we’re sure that Halloween 2020 will be another one for the Discovery history books!

Jan GedminasDiscovery’s pandemic-style Halloween

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