- Yahoo had me in its clutches today for about 12 hours for the “Dia de lo Blog Muerto” where my blog was completely unaccessible for most of the day. Ha. Really funny. Not.
- It’s Day 1 of Nanowrimo. They must have the same problem as Yahoo as their site has also not been accessible. And I wanted to upload my word count. Boo.
- It’s windy days here, and a resident of our building just came around to ask if anyone was missing a vase from their balcony as it had fallen off. Onto his car. His Porsche. There be damage, folks. Ouch.
I’ve written before about how I’ve forced my role of Unofficial Office Party Planner on my colleagues, and this Halloween was no different.
Since we’re an ad agency, I feel it’s my duty to come up with interesting and creative ways to motivate everyone. Again I can’t post my flyer since it has copyrighted images, but I think I took a novel approach to this year’s celebration.
Halloween is just starting to get popular in Italy and it’s still focused mainly on children (as maybe it used to be in the States) and they haven’t discovered the potential for adults to dress up and have “hooker come out and play” day like many of my friends (and I) have done for years. In fact, my best friend this year was Dolly Dominatrix back in California and of course she looked hot.
But I knew my colleagues weren’t ready for full costumes.
In order to lessen the commitment phobia in participating, I came up with the idea of a Costume Contest “from the Neck Up” – meaning hats-wigs-makeup, etc. to see how creative they could get and still be “normal” when they left the office. I then downloaded images of people in costume and put my colleagues’ names under them as “suggested” costumes. Of course, some I had more fun choosing than others.
This is one of my tactics that I’ve found to be very effective – single-out people. Use their names or refer to them so that the message becomes personal. NO ONE ignored this flyer as it had all 30+ of them on it.
Another thing that was important was a “critical mass” – get those closest to you (or most important, etc.) involved and committed and then run with it. At least you know you have a committed, interested group behind you.
Even though I had a 100 degree fever on Monday afternoon, I knew I had (and wanted) to come on Halloween. Organizing it all, and not showing up? No good. Luckily after sleeping 13 hours, I felt better in the morning.
Walking back from lunch the day before, I had spied a perfect pumpkin at the fruttivendolo (vegetable/fruit seller) and since it was under 6euro, I figured it would be worth it. I brought a big spoon and knife the next day and went to work. I asked our graphic designer to draw a face on one side but she was a newbie, it ended up being a few triangles and a mouth so I had to improvise from there. In the end I cut two faces on it. They went really crazy for it!
“You did this? Uau, you’re an artist!” If only they knew how easy it was. I’d accept their accolades this year as it was a “Founding Year” and next year would be completely different.
My critical mass started a momentum during the day that only old-fashioned, natural peer pressure can – by 4 o’clock, over half the office had some sort of costume or mask ready for the contest. Some of them even designed and printed theirs on our color Laser printer. Graphic designers, natch.
This time I gave a prize which cost me little and at least promised a lot – lottery scratch-off tickets. Of course they rarely win but it’s the spirit! Our director mentioned that we should now go around the office in costume giving out treats.
I shook my head. “Trick or Treat”….not “Here’s a Treat.” I wasn’t going to divide up my booty.
That evening I met with two friends for aperitivo and I had my booty bag of candy with me and my devil’s ears which I almost forgot I was wearing. Apart from the stares, of course. While we were eating in the restaurant, a group of children in costumes showed up at the door of the restaurant, looking in expectedly.
Still haven’t gotten the hang of this, have ya?
I discovered another universal sign when I held up my bag of individually-wrapped treats while sitting at our table a few feet away from the door. They ran in and plunged their greedy little hands in and took not one piece, not two pieces, but several handfuls. Greedy suckers!
They wiped out half my stash.
After that we walked down Corso di Como and ran into another group of children. They cleaned me out this time. But I got mine – I made them say Trick ‘r Treat instead of Dolcetto Scherzetto (which is actually Treat Trick if you translate it directly).
Many of the bars were decked out with fake graveyards, waiters in zombie outifts and many many waitresses as witches, in hopes of attracting…something to their bars that evening. I knew it wouldn’t take long until the women of Italy would be trading in their standby Witch outfits for Playboy Bunny and Dolly Dominatrix costumes.
They’ll get the hang of it yet.