When you have your first child’s first Spirit Week at preschool, it’s ridiculously cute. Pajama Day, Crazy Hair Day, Crazy Sock Day—it’s one week of silliness that you’re all doing together. It’s novel. It’s picture-worthy. But holy crackers and cheese, does it get old fast. I’m on my approximately 784th Spirit Week, and in the spirit of kindness (see what I did there?), I’d like to dive into what you really need to have on hand to be prepared. Each day’s theme sounds straightforward—but that’s where they getcha. You think you’ll have the necessary supplies in somebody’s closet or tucked in a bathroom drawer somewhere, but it’s never that simple. “Simple” is not what Spirit Week is all about, my friends.
So sign up to the school newsletter and join your kids’ school Facebook groups to make sure you hear about the event the first time they announce it, and not the morning it kicks off. Then make your way to this list of some of the more popular themes, and what you really need to do to make them happen.
Everyone has pajamas they can wear in public, right? WRONG. Take a closer look at the jammies your fam wears on the regular. My guess is that they’re holey, sheer, and at least one size too small. Do you really want your kids strolling down the halls in the nighttime clothes non-family members normally aren’t allowed to see them in? Nope. It’s time to pick up some thick fleece pants and a coordinating tee that is passable for PJs.
Class Color Competition Day
Every grade is assigned a different color; the grade which has the most kids wearing their color wins! The catch? Your kids will be assigned colors that they have never ever in their entire lives worn, of which you do not have single stitch of clothing in your home. So either hit up a craft store to keep the full Roy G. Biv of basic tees at the ready (they usually range from $2-4 during regular sales), or start coloring in one of Dad’s white undershirts with whatever markers you have on hand. Bonus points if you keep any solid-color tees of your oldest kids for your younger ones’ future class color spirit days!
There is exactly zero chance that your kid and their friend already have the exact same outfit in their closets for this. If they think they do, they’ll realize that morning that their latest growth spurt made it impossible to zip up or pull on. Besides, there’s always more than one kid who wants in, so you’re looking at a minimum of 3-4 kids who want to “twin.” (Yes, we know that’s now how twins work. Facts don’t matter here.) This is why it’s good to keep a plethora of solid color basics in their drawers (see above craft store shopping spree suggestion), or get creative with an accessory they all have (fat ribbon cut into headbands or ribbons for all!) and can claim to be the thing that makes them impossible to tell apart.
Crazy Hair Day
Bonkers ponytails and colorful one-day hair color is fun, but kids know what Pinterest is these days, so start strengthening your fingers and stocking up on structural supplies now (like Solo cups, tongue depressors, thick ponytail holders, gel, and ultra-hold hairspray). You’re about to get all up into some craftily engineered DIY ‘do business that means setting the alarm clocks at least an hour earlier than usual, but it’ll be worth it!
Favorite Book Character Day
Despite a plethora of biographies and realistic fiction out there, they won’t select a human character child who looks and dresses like them. Never. It’s always someone from another era or who has passed through a tear in the multiverse and only wears clothing made of materials unavailable on this earth. My tip? Note the closest thrift stores, so when your kids decide on a character, it won’t cost much for you to pick up parts to piece together whoever it is their imagination has cooked up they must look like that day.
Crazy Sock Day
This one confuses me in its popularity, because so many kids hate socks (toe bumps = evil), but they also want to have the coolest crazy socks, ever, when they hear the theme declared. My solution? If I don’t have something bananas on hand, I put them in mismatched inside-out adult-sized to-the-knee socks, so they’re loose and the toe seam is folded away to prevent annoying them into constant adjustments. The perfect excuse for you to buy the kooky socks of your dreams, amIright? Unless you’re feeling a little DIY-ready and in the mood for a tie-die project, of course.
Just remember that they still need to use the bathroom on their own, so not too backwards. Nothing with a fly can be worn on this day. (You only make this mistake once.)
Sports Jersey Day
Usually this means rooting for one’s favorite professional team, but who wants to send their littles to school in an expensive official jersey, knowing that stains will likely happen during art class and lunch and recess? We like to keep it safe and give it some personalization by wearing their own team’s jersey. Because how can a sports mom go wrong by having their kid support their own team? She simply cannot.
Crazy Hat Day
Not just any old hat will do! Break out the pipe cleaners, glitter spray, and pompoms—or hit up a costume shop for something tall and weird. Either one will do, but definitely do it before the themes are even announced, because this one tends to be the one that kicks off the week and you don’t want to get caught unprepared.
School Spirit Day
I know, I know: you forgot to order the school spiritwear the last time the forms went out. We all did. This is why we need to stay on top of not only ordering something the next time it comes around, but ordering up a size (or two) to ensure you’ve got their school spirit—and rapidly growing torsos—covered when the time comes. Have nothing on hand? Put your kid in a basic tee that’s the school’s color. BOOM: spirit achieved!
All it takes a bit of realistic expectations, creativity, and preparation to make your kids’ Spirit Week much more fun for them and a lot less stressful for you.