Halloween costume policy

Everyone working, learning, and volunteering at UI Hospitals & Clinics is reminded that the Professional Appearance Policy (HR-03.21) prohibits holiday or event-themed costumes, including Halloween costumes.

Because play is an evidence-based and critical component of care for pediatric patients at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, two exceptions to the policy will be allowed on Wednesday, Oct. 31:

  1. From 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital faculty and staff whose primary clinical assignment is in UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital inpatient units and clinics may wear appropriate, kid-friendly costumes. As always, clinical staff must wear their ID badges without attachments and with picture/name visible at all times while on duty (no lanyards, badge worn at lapel level).
  2. From 2:30 to 4 p.m. faculty and staff members who are participating in the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital Trunk or Treat event in the Gerdin Family Lobby (Level 1) may wear appropriate, kid-friendly costumes for the event only.

The following costumes/accessories are not permitted:

  • Masks or other full face coverings
  • Costumes that interfere with clinical duties and/or patient safety
  • Costumes depicting monsters, death, controversial political figures, or other frightening characters
  • Items resembling guns or weapons
  • Costumes which promote harmful stereotypes, including those on the basis of race, creed (religion), color, national origin, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity
  • Costumes that are of a revealing nature that would not be considered acceptable under normal work circumstances
  • Unclean or soiled clothing items

All other faculty, staff, student employees, and volunteers are expected to adhere to the professional appearance policy by not wearing Halloween costumes, masks, or makeup.

Thank you for helping to ensure a safe and respectful work environment.


  1. The morale around the hospital and particularly in dialysis is low. Minor moments of fun – such as dressing up, promote improved morale. I wish leadership would revisit their policies about dressing up.

    • I agree! Most of the patients, and not just the youngest patients, enjoy seeing staff put in the effort. When I worked directly with patients they would even comment how little they saw in support of game-day Fridays in way of dress. Please look into this again–we are talking about a handful or two of days, not even every week or every month… just one season! Or even just Halloween!! Just a little give would be better than nothing at all as far as morale goes.

  2. There are a lot of other clinics in the hospital that see pediatric patients as well and would very much enjoy being able to dress up like we used to. Every year we have patients ask us why we don’t get to dress up anymore because they enjoyed it also. It promotes coworker team building and lets everyone have just a little bit of fun. There are lots of ways to dress up and promote patient care at the same time. I agree that this policy should be revisited.

  3. In the past years our patients of ALL AGES have enjoyed our costumes. It definitely brings people together and lightens the mood in a sometimes stressful situation.

  4. Play is important for grown-ups too. What would be wrong with allowing face paint and silly ears on headbands (or the like)?

  5. Even during my time in the military, we dressed holidays or sports so long as the mission was not hampered (battlefield conditions excluded for obvious reasons). Leaders supported this practice to lighten the mood, boost morale, and promote camaraderie. If the military can do this, why not a hospital?

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