It is the eighth month of the year… the one when sane, rational, model parents begin the quest for deals on back to school clothing, lunch prep ideas and completion of the school supply checklist. I have never questioned the importance and validity of these tasks. However, there are a number of other things that we parents have to consider – things that our schools rarely place high on their list of priorities. Every year, we know it’s coming. Like hurricane season and Christmas holidays and science fair, but these important school days are often haphazardly selected and then announced with so little warning that proper prep time is impossible. Yep, you know it. I am talking about Spirit Week.
The Evolution of Our Participation
It all started with an elementary school Red Ribbon Week. This mild version of dress days often includes – but is not limited to – theme days that require crazy socks, sunglasses, funny hats or red clothing. Our first go round was incredibly lame and consisted only of miscellaneous items we could find around the house. My oldest son, poor kid, hardly looked as though he had participated. One white tube sock and one brown dress sock does not say “Crazy Socks” – it says, “Mom Needs to Do the Laundry.” Watching my son exit my vehicle that morning, I felt like a failure.
Why hadn’t the school given us ample notice? Where was the newsletter article that listed and described these days? Was there no message arranged from the school’s call out system? Did they not consider the national campaign to keep our children drug free through dress up days a high priority? Where would our kids be without the opportunity to “Sock It to Drugs?”
I vowed that we would never be caught unprepared and minimally dressed again. So, the next school year, well before Red Ribbon Week, I called the school counselor and requested the theme days in advance, so I could that we would be appropriately prepared. This is a true story. The counselor must have thought I was nutcase.
Within a few years, these days had become a much-anticipated family event. Homecoming brought on Extreme Spirit Weeking. Standard spirit days are included in our back to school shopping. We solicit sponsors – otherwise known as Grandparent Grants. We participate in individual, partner and team spirit weeking. Every year, we have kids come by our house and ask for help with their spirit day outfits. Last year, the night before Character Day, two of my son’s friends showed up with incomplete outfits requesting assistance. I grinned from ear to ear as Jack ran to the back of my house yelling to my son, “Warren, your mom is the GOAT!” It reminded me why I go to the trouble.
Family Favorites – In No Particular Order because We Could Never Agree
Over the years, we’ve come up with some doozies. Here are my favorites.
- America Day. I said pose – and my two sons spontaneously fell into the same pose… which for whatever reason we all found hilarious.
- Athlete Day for him. This was the year when O’Dell Beckham got into a fight with the net on the sideline. Seeing my son in that curly blonde wig brought me much joy. Red Day for her. From to the sweet red curly streamers on her tennis shoes and sparkly red sunglasses and red bow on her head.
- Twin Day. My sophomore and my senior wore old man vacation attire. It wasn’t planned. It just happened that way.
- Character Day. Cruella De Vil. Her besties were the Evil Queen and the Queen of Hearts. We went with the villains instead of the princesses.
- Class Color Day. White Out for Seniors. The blinking battery operated sunglasses stole my heart.
- Decade Day. The whole #GirlSquad dressed as T-birds from Grease.
- Decade Day. The boy in 80’s – channeling Run DMC.
- Character Day. Yeah… I made outfits for all seven of the dwarfs. They played the Hi Ho song and walked through the halls together. I imagine teachers cursed me that day.
- Twin Day. This was the year her twin moved to a new school. So we improvised. With Bevo the Longhorn. #Hook’em
- Twin Day. This was the year she had three twins; so I made four emoji shirts so that the girls could quad squad instead of twin.
The Bonus :: Homecoming Mums!
Tips for Dress Days
- Think out of the box. Instead of pulling a rabbit out of the hat – pull a turkey out of the hat.
- Less is more – is all wrong during spirit week. Over the top is just regular during spirit week. More is always better. MORE IS ALWAYS BETTER.
- Work with buddies; extreme spirit week can be pleasantly contagious and fun with the right group.
- Recycle and store your outfits for future years; some of these days will definitely be on repeat.
- Take lots of pics. They will make you and your kids smile later.
My son says I treat spirit week like a major grade. I thought it was a pretty decent analogy. I reminded him that life is all about the effort you are willing to put into any task. Indeed, we often find little life lessons when we least expect them. Then, I laughed at myself and the seriousness with which we approach spirit weeks and yelled, “Go hard or go home, son!”