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Halloween: The Ultimate Team Builder

Adventurer B

Anyone who knows much about Southwest, knows that Halloween is an huge event at our Headquarters and that there are other celebrations all across our network as time and regulations permit. We have a great time!

But although having FUN is its own reward, Halloween at Southwest is a lot more than just having FUN. Maybe, no one ever planned for it to be more, but it is nonetheless.

In fact, in a recent session at a Corporate Communications Conference co-sponsored by Southwest and Ragan Communication,Gary Kelly said about Halloween, ”If you've ever gone through a Team Building exercise like a 'ropes course' or something like that, this is the ultimate Team Building.”

You'll hear more of what Gary had to say about Halloween in the video below, and you'll see some clips from this year's celebration at our Headquarters. But I think you'll appreciate the video more if I tell you a little about what goes on first.

First ... the normally open hallways are packed with people all day long ... Employees, families, and lots of children. Some of them are simply roaming the hallways to see what they can see, but many are standing in line to gain access to a performance of a ”skit.” The term skit is a bit misleading here though, because these ”skits” have become major productions with music, sets, props, elaborate costumes & lighting, and more over the years.

  • There were three skits this year ...A musical review with everything from rap to country presented by our Executive Office
  • A loose parody of Ferris Beuller put on by our Finance Department
  • A fictionalized account of various countries competing for Southwest's international service performed by our People and Leadership Development Department
All three were excellent, and I videotaped them all, so you'll see some short excerpts in the video.

The other events going on at the Headquarters Campus are loosely characterized as ”walk-thrus,” but that can mean anything from a small haunted house to a huge carnival-like attraction. Two of the largest walk-thrus this year were put on by Inflight Training (our Flight Attendant Training Department) and Technology.
  • Inflight Training decorated their multi-story bay that houses the Inflight Training ”aircraft” ... affectionately known as Poolie
  • Technology turned a temporarily-vacant 8,500 square foot area into a noisy and raucous carnival with a Willie SWAnka theme
There were many other events ... literally too many to list in a blog posting. But lets get back to the Team Building aspect of things before you jump to the video.

The better you know someone, the better potential you have to build a strong relationship with them. Strong relationships help get things done day in and day out, and especially in times of crisis. So ask yourself this. Who are you more likely to have a strong relationship with ...
  • Someone you sit in meetings with day after day and only discuss work with? -or-
  • Someone you work with, but also someone you designed and built a stage set with, someone you depended on to help you with costume changes, someone who taught you how to ”walk cool” to the beat, and someone who, on that fateful day, looked an awful lot like Elvis, Frankenstein, Willie Wonka, Dracula, ET, Papa Smurf, or maybe even Edna Turnblad?
Seems obvious, doesn't it?

Of course, you'll see a few clips of Gary Kelly as Edna Turnblad at the end of the video. Enjoy!
Frequent Flyer C
I didn't know Brians new office is 8500 sqaure feet! When do you move in? Imagine all the swag and train stuff you could fit in there! Southwest airlines, a T shirt company that flies aircraft on the side! Ding! boy joe!
Adventurer C
Sounds like fun! And you are absolutely right about this being a team builing excercise - and what a great opportunity for people from different departments to meet and mingle. (I've made some of my best work contacts while standing in the lunch line.) I wish more companies were like SWA! I LUV it! I just wrapped up an interview with another company, and it still bums me out that it wasn't with Southwest! Everyone have a fabulous day! 😉
Explorer C
I'll never forget Halloween 1998 (or was it 99? 00?) when I worked in the Headquarters Systems Department and we did "The Wizard of SWAz". It was so much fun and everyone was involved in some way or another. All of us were dressed up and, when we weren't doing our bit during "skit time", we were over at Love Field hitching rides on flights. Imagine a Customers face when they saw Dracula, Raggedy Ann, or an Alien on their short hop to Houston Hobby. What fun! Cheers, Michael Domingo Washington, DC