Halloween is always a big deal at Southwest Airlines. Between the decorating and costume contests at all of our stations, our Flight Attendants sporting Halloween “flair” with their uniforms, and the incredible Haunted Headquarters celebration, this is one holiday that we really take pride in “owning.” Maybe Halloween is so serious around here because all of our Employees are encouraged to be themselves all the time; so on a day when crazy costumes and outrageous personalities are the norm, we take our uniqueness to another level.
If you don’t know about what really goes on, you can check out last year’s Haunted Headquarters celebration on YouTube. (Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eL87yTtX9b0yep, that’s me rapping as SWAnilla Ice!) The video is titled “The Ultimate Teambuilding,” and that’s exactly what it is. Some of the closest friendships at SWA started because we were dance partners in past Halloween skits, and in a Company this size, I don’t believe I would have even had a chance to really get to know them otherwise.
Our Employees rehearse for months to put on shows and create top-notch walk through shows for other departments and visitors, all in the spirit of friendly competition, and it is wild. It's truly a day of fun, and you’d better be wearing a costume or you will stick out like a sore thumb. Of course, the true spectacle on Halloween day is seeing our own CEO/President/Chairman, Gary Kelly, emerge from his office in the morning in his costume. The costume is top secret until Halloween morning, and Gary tries to outdo himself every year; he has never failed. Seeing this big guy walking the halls decked out as Gene Simmons or wearing a pink sequined dress as Edna Turnblad reminds us all that even though he is the head honcho, Gary is really just one of us!
This year’s celebration is going to be bigger and better than ever. Southwest Airlines has partnered with Spirit Halloween Superstores to make sure that not only our Employees get in to the spirit of the holiday, but also our Customers. Spirit Halloween is the largest Halloween retailer with stores located throughout the United States. Celebrating its 25th Anniversary, Spirit is also involved in the communities they serve through a program called Spirit of Children, which benefits child life departments within children’s hospitals and rehabilitation centers across the United States.
In the weeks leading up to Halloween, look for coupons to be given out on some of our flights that will get you great discounts at Spirit Halloween stores. Also, the company has given us decorations for the ticket counters in all 64 of our SWA Cities. For Halloween day, Spirit has provided some goodies to our Flight Attendants to pass out on flights to folks who are as much into the celebration as we are (maybe you‘ll wear a costume or tell a ghost story on your flight, or at least wear orange and black!)
The cherry on top of this sweet partnership is that Spirit Halloween Superstores will be providing Gary’s costume—so you know it will be fantastic. What in the world is he going to be this year? We had a blog posted a few weeks ago taking suggestions, but what do you think he decided on?
If you want to check out all that Spirit Halloween Superstores has to offer, go to www.spirithalloween.com or call 1-800-COSTUME to find a store near you. On their web site, you can join the Spirit Secret Society for even more discounts!
I’ll post another blog about all of our Halloween happenings once the day has passed, but for now, I’m off to skit practice. All Headquarters departments compete fiercely before our judges, and I am betting that the Executive Office will win this year!