Have you been put in charge of school spirit days? Looking for ideas? Well, we surveyed everyone we could think of everywhere we could think of to come up with a list of possible theme days you could host at your school.
Dressing up can come with its challenges. It’s great fun for some, but it can also be stressful for others. No matter what the theme, we encourage you to always make it voluntary, fun and no judging (for best or anything else).
Keep in mind not all your students will have access to the things they would need in order to dress up so no one should ever be excluded. And, you DO NOT have to have a dress up day every week of school. It’s ok to keep it simple and just have the occasional day. That’s what makes it special.
And remember, some theme days work better for different age groups. As with any theme day, the day is supposed to be fun. If there is any chance there will be cultural inappropriateness, racism or insensitivity to others, the theme day is not right for your school.
Check out our list of theme days!
- Pajama Day: Nothing says comfort like shopping for groceries on your way home from work in your pjs.
- School Spirit Day: Dress up in your school colours or mascots.
- Book Character Day: Dress up as characters from your favourite books. We usually recommend books to your students.
- Colour Days: Choose any colour and everyone wears it.
- Ugly Sweater Day: Find any ugly sweater and wear it to school (better for those winter days).
- Fancy Hair Day: Wear your hair any way you like. Watch for cultural appropriation.
- Western Day: Wear jeans, boots and cowboy hats when the rodeo is in town.
- Costume Day: This is a great alternative to Halloween. Students can dress up in costumes any time of year. And if you’re Canadian you appreciate wearing a costume without a snowsuit under it.
- Hat Day: In Alberta, we wear hats for Hats On for Mental Health.
- Orange Shirt Day: This is a special day in Canada on or near September 30 to honour the students who attended and survived Residential Schools in Canada. Find more information in this blog post.
- Tie Day: Wear a tie or a bow tie or any other tie you like. One year a student wore tie dye-that worked too.
- Revenge of the Nerds Day: Dress up like a nerd and have some fun showing how smart they are.
- Board Game Day: Dress up like game pieces and for more fun play some board games.
- Dress Like Your Principal Day: This can be great fun if your principal is a good sport.
- Decades Day: Choose a decade (from the fifties to the nineties) and dress up with the hair and clothes of that time. If you have pictures of yourself from any of those decades, your kids will love to see them.
Here are more theme days…
- Jeans Day: This only works for schools with uniforms or dress codes. Try to wear jeans from head to toe.
- Traffic Light Day: Wear one of the colours of the stoplight: red, yellow or green. This ties in nicely with a safety lesson.
- Tie-Dye Day: Dig out those shirts, pants or hats for some colourful fun. Maybe make your own shirts.
- Jersey Day: Wear any sports uniform, team jersey or hat that represents a team or sport.
- Duet Day: Dress up like things that come in pairs such as salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, or fish and chips.
- Letter Day: Each student wears a letter and they line up to spell words. Disclaimer: we cannot be responsible for your students that will figure out how to spell the naughty words).
- Animal Day: Dress up as animals from all over the world or make it even more themed by picking a specific region like jungle animals or animals from the zoo.
- Star Wars Day: Dress up with something or like someone with a Star Wars twist. This is usually held on May 4 (May the fourth be with you).
- Beach Day: This one is pretty popular in the dead of winter. Pull out the beach towels, dress in your summer gear and wear sunglasses in class for some summer fun.
- Rainbow Day: We have seven grade levels in our school so each grade level wears a colour and we made a giant rainbow for an aerial photo. In older grades, rainbow day can also be associated with Pride activities.
- Twin/Triplet Day: Dress up like a friend or teacher with matching clothes. This can be great fun if your whole class wears the same outfit.
And some more theme days…
- Formal Day/Fancy Day: Have everyone dress up in their best. Serve tea and act fancy for the day.
- Celebrity Status Day: Dress up like a famous person.
- World Hijab Day: Wear a hijab and learn about the tradition.
- Medieval Day: Hear Ye! Kings, Queens, Knights and Bards. Dress up from the times of the past all the way back to the medieval days.
- Inside Out Day: Wear all your clothes inside out. If your students are older you might want to have a policy on whether or not underwear and bras can be visible on the outside of clothes.
- Work Out Day/Exercise Day: Dress up in workout gear and host a giant workout during your lunch hour.
- Hero Day: Dress up like someone you admire.
- Poem in Your Pocket Day: Carry a poem in your pocket and share it with your fellow poets. Read more information in this post.
- Talk Like a Pirate Day: Dress up like a pirate and search for treasure.
- Festive Day: This is an alternative to a Christmas dress-up day. In November everyone dresses up in something they wear for a festivity in their culture. Lots of henna and Santa caps.
- Cartoon Day: Dress up like a cartoon character.
- Decem-beard or Mo-vember: Wear some facial hair. These movements started as a way to address health issues for men.
- Onesie Day: Yup, wear your onesie for the day. These can get very hot so we recommend shorts and a T-shirt under them so you can open them up if you get too warm.
- Movie Day: Dress up as a character or famous prop from a movie. We once had a student dress up as the scenery.
- Neon Day: Is it the 80s? Nope, just neon day. Have some fun with some of those fluorescent neon clothes.
- Circus Day: Some days it really does feel like a circus, but if everyone is dressed for the part, it might make it a little more fun.
- Quote Day: Everyone wears a quote from their favourite book and then people try to figure out what book it’s from.
- Outdoor Classroom Day: Yes, this is a real day where you can have school outside for the day.
- Ocean Day: Dress up like a creature that lives in the ocean. Tie this in with climate change activities or environmental awareness activities.
- Waldo Day: Everyone in the school dresses up like Waldo from the Where’s Waldo? books. LOTS of fun and because the Waldos all look a little different, it makes for a great photo!
- Tacky Day: Break all the fashion rules by wearing the worst possible outfit.
- Garbage Free Day: Can your school get through a day trying to create a little garbage as possible?
- Dress Like a Teacher Day: Dress up as your favourite teacher.
- Pink Shirt Day: To stand up to bullying, students around the world wear pink shirts. Depending on where you live, the date can be different. You can learn more about this day in this blog post.
- Polka Dot Day: Show off your spots.
- Stuffy Day: Bring your favourite stuffed animal and teach it everything you learn all day.
- Zombie Day: If you have really young students, you may want to avoid this one, but it will be interesting to see what your students come up with.
- Patriotic Day: Dress up in your national colours. Pull out those maple leaves and lumberjack shirts!
- Fairy Tale Day: Dress up like a character from a fairy tale.
And even more theme days…
- Senior Day: Dress up like a senior citizen and then show off how vibrant they are! This can be a fun way to
- Wacky Sock Day: Wear those bright and crazy socks.
- Mismatched Shoe/Sock Day: Wear mismatched shoes or socks. Watch out for gym class.
- Floaties Day: You know those big swimming things that you blow up and float around with. Yup! That’s what we mean. It can be lots of fun.
- Holiday Day: Dress up for any time of year or any holiday.
- Fan Day: What are you a fan of? Join your fellow fans to love on the superstar, club, movie or music group you love. Any NKOTB fans left out there?
- Carnaval d-hiver: Dress like a French explorer, voyageur or Bonhomme to celebrate and learn about French and Métis traditions.
- Toy Day: Dress up like a toy that you like to play with.
- Alien/UFO/Space Day: Dress up with out-of-this-world ideas and costumes.
- Backwards Day: Wear all your clothes backwards for the day. We don’t encourage walking around your school backwards. That’s just an accident waiting to happen.
- Farmer Day: Dress up like a farmer. If you have access to fresh veggies, pumpkins or apples this can be a great activity for the fall.
- Flashlight Day: Do your work by flashlight. You’ll be shocked how quiet your students might be.
- Video Game Day: Dress up like a character from a video game. You should have rules about fake weapons or inappropriate characters.
- Grown-Up Day: Have the students dress up how they think they’ll look in the future either as their career or appearance.
And just a few more…
- Made Myself Day: Do you have some fashion icons in your school? Encourage your students to wear something they made themselves. We host this one with our Maker Walk activities. Read more here.
- Musician Day: Dress up as your favourite musician or wear something with their face/songs/lyrics.
- Historian Day: Dress up like a figure from history. Have conversations about cultural appropriateness BEFORE this day. Discuss what is appropriate and create a set of guidelines or a list of acceptable historical figures.
- Support Days: If your school supports a charity campaign, wear something special to signify this.
- Baby Day: Dress up like a baby (but please don’t act like one).
- Favourite Food Day: This is a great day to tie in with your health or nutritional lessons. Dress up like food you love.
- Wacky Pattern Day: Wear your wildest patterns (where did all those sweaters from the 80s go)?
- Sunglasses Day: Wear your bright sunglasses. Maybe play a Corey Hart song.
- 100 Day: On the hundredth day of school wear 100 of something.
- Wizard Day: If your school loves the Harry Potter books and movies, this will be a fun day. You may want to create a wand policy in advance.
- Scientific Discovery Day: Dress up as a scientist or major scientific discovery to celebrate science.
And these last few…
- Monster Day: Dress up like a monster you love. You may want to have guidelines if you have younger students. Our rule was that the monsters couldn’t scare anyone or you would have to look after the student you scared all day long.
- Travel Day: Dress up as a tourist or if you were going somewhere. One of our favourites was a student dressed up in summer clothes and a life jacket. He carried a paddle and was going white water rafting.
- Techless Day: Can you get through a whole day without any technology? It would be a great challenge for a whole school.
- Earth Hour School Edition: Learn about Earth hour and then for one hour at school turn off all the things that use electricity.
- Time Travel Day: Dress in something from another time past or future.
Did we miss an idea?
We will be sure to add more ideas as we find them, try them, or come across them. While we love spirit days, we also don’t love having spirit days every single week. It makes for a lot of things to prep and look for and if it stresses us out, our students probably feel the same way.
Our favourite theme days are the ones where we don’t have to spend a lot of time planning or figuring out what to wear. Pajama Day is a favourite because it’s just so simple. Of course, we still have to get up and change into pyjamas that don’t have holes in the butt.
We use theme days within our classroom as a way to build classroom community. To learn more about how we work on this read Create a Culture of Community With Your Multi-Grade Classroom.
Does your school do theme days? What are your thoughts? Love em? Hate em? What did we miss? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.