DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our office's self-appointed social organizer has sent her usual Halloween notice that we're "encouraged" to come to work dressed up in our choice of scary attire.
Now, I do respect others who wish to participate. But personally, for various reasons, not the least of which is that I have moral and religious objections to the mass craziness that is Halloween, I wish not to participate -- in as gracious and respectful a manner as possible, without offending or appearing standoffish.
Our office includes a mere dozen people, so it's hard to not be noticed. Kindly teach me how to graciously abstain without offending the easily offendable. I don't wish to stay away from work, either, as I am paid by hours worked.
GENTLE READER: Unless your job is teaching nursery school, Miss Manners offers you her sympathy. She does not approve of compulsory shenanigans in the workplace.
She suggests that you go dressed normally, and reply to any accusations with the pathetic plea: "But I thought I was scary enough already. Do you mean to say that I don't frighten you? Oh, dear." And just to show your good will --and to divert the complaint -- you might bring some candy to offer your colleagues.