How To Plan a Spooky Themed Retreat

The night before retreat, I panicked and barely slept. The thoughts running through my head were, “did I prep enough?” “Will we get everything done?” “I hope everyone likes the surprises!” “Oh no, I definitely forgot that!” I wanted my first retreat to go so well, that my anxious brain took over.

Well….all my panic was for nothing since the event went off smoothly.

Here was how I successfully pulled off a Spooky Themed Retreat. Sabina and I are a great event planning duo!

Step 1: Set up and Decorate

Sabina and I got to the office early to get things set up. Sabina decorated the room with Halloween-themed items. We had Reeses for an afternoon snack on the table, which of course had to be eaten in the serving size of 3 (thanks Melissa).

Step 2: “Freaky Friday” Improv Game Warm-Up

As an actor, I play a ton of improvisation games. To start our warm-up off successfully,, I went over the rules of improv:

1. Always say yes to your partner.

2. Take Risks.

3. Give no offence and take no offence: these are fun and not meant to hurt others.

Then we broke down the rules for “Freaky Friday.” (Yes, I know, retreat was on a Wednesday, whoops!) The idea was to act out a short scene, but pretending to be another member of the company in a particular spooky situation. Tom pretended to be Melissa walking in to a haunted house dressed as a taco… This led to endless laughs. We each brought in a small item to represent ourselves that the actor could hold to really get into each other’s characters.

Step 3: Work Work Work

After our warm up game, we reviewed the past quarter and did the hard work to plan for the next one more efficiently. When we started to get a little off track, and my stage manager brain went nuts!

Step 4: Creepy Crêpes

For lunch, Sabina found this great Crêpe place that offers sweet and savory crêpes.  Creepy…Crepey get it?

Step 5: After lunch activity – Scary Stories

Our after lunch activity was a written variation on “telephone.” Each person wrote down one sentence to start a scary story on their piece of paper, then passed it on to the next person so they could write the second sentence. This second person would fold over the previous  person’s sentence and pass the paper once again, so that with each pass, we only saw the previous sentence. This continued until we ended up with an accordion-shaped piece of paper and four hilarious stories. Some of the stories made sense, while others did not.

Step 6: Back to work

After lunch, we continued to plan the next quarter. We even had time to spare and did not have to rush through anything.

Step 7: “Ghosts, Murder and Mayhem” Merrymaking

Sabina and I wanted to keep the evening spooky and not scary. So we decided to do a private ghost tour through Greenwich Village at 6:30pm (in broad daylight). The tour was not only spooky, but very historical and interesting. We learned about ghosts in the area, but also murders that took place, and where some pretty cool famous people lived. We all took something different away from it and Megan was great! 5 stars on Yelp for sure.

Step 8: Dinner at Beetle House

Fun fact: Melissa is not just a co-worker, but also one of my very best friends. When Sabina and I began planning this, I suggested ending the night at Beetle House (a Tim Burton themes bar inspired by Beetle Juice). Sabina informed me that Melissa would probably cry because she had been wanting to go there for so long. When we pulled up to Beetle House, Melissa looked like she was either going to cry or pee herself and had the largest smile on the entire night. It was worth it for that alone! (The food and drinks were really good too.)

In summary, when planning a spooky themed retreat:

  • Keep it spooky, not scary
  • Plan and then stick to that plan
  • Keep focused during the work so the fun can happen
  • Make some new memories

As Tom said, “Oh what a quarter this could be!”

Want to read about some of our other themed retreats? 

How to Host a Willy Wonka Retreat for your Team

How to Host an Alice in Wonderland Themed Retreat

How to Plan an Under the Sea Retreat

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