To think schools do not realise hassle of dress up days?

(245 Posts)
MariusEarlobe Fri 22-Feb-13 10:34:19

We will have had three in as many weeks!
China day
Victorian day
World book day

Each time ALL the other parents buy proper costumes, no one makes them, no home made attempts that used to win prizes for effort like my day so there is massive pressure to buy costumes or your child feels odd one out. They never fit the year after.

Our school is in a mixed social area from very poor to wealthy. It's a lot of pressure to find £10 for a costume each time for those on low income.

Dd s favourite book is Dork Diaries, I thought about sending her as the main character and amazing up normal clothes but dd won't as she will get called for no costume.

scampadoodle Fri 22-Feb-13 10:38:02

YANBU. We don't seem to have the pressure to spend money on it, but I find the thinking about it a right hassle as I have always loathed fancy dress & have no aptitude or imagination for it.

willyoulistentome Fri 22-Feb-13 10:38:41

YANBU - It's a total pain in the arse. I never fork out much, if anything, though. I always do my best to persuade the kids to dress up as something we can manage from stuff we already have at home.

frogspoon Fri 22-Feb-13 10:48:24

YANBU, 3 in 3 weeks is ridiculous and not a reasonable expectation for schools to ask of you.

Even if you did make your own costume, you would probably still need to buy at least a couple of items.

Have you thought about hiring a costume, it would be a little cheaper. Or maybe make friends with someone who can sew.

Arithmeticulous Fri 22-Feb-13 10:57:21

I counted 19 last school year. Do I win?

SooticaTheWitchesCat Fri 22-Feb-13 10:57:50

I love dress up days but I always make the costumes, I actually enjoy making them too smile. To be honest though people don't normally go over the top at our school.

ReluctantMother Fri 22-Feb-13 10:58:31

My department is trying to have a dress up day FOR THE STAFF! I don't bloody think so!

TomArchersSausage Fri 22-Feb-13 11:00:30

Yadnbu. They are a total pita a lazy default for every topic.
Even my dc are fed up with them nowhmm

MariusEarlobe Fri 22-Feb-13 11:01:29

19??? Bloody 19??

lisad123everybodydancenow Fri 22-Feb-13 11:04:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wolfiefan Fri 22-Feb-13 11:06:35

YANBU. I did think of offering to donate costumes I had bought. If a few parents did this every year then very soon no parents would have to pay out at all.

TomArchersSausage Fri 22-Feb-13 11:06:40

Do schools get extra Ofsted brownie points for them? What reason could there be for dressing up at every blimmin opportunity?confused

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Fri 22-Feb-13 11:08:06

I buy from eBay because I don't have time or imagination or ability to make - it's not about being flash with cash

AGiddyKipperInOneHand Fri 22-Feb-13 11:09:37

Why don't you ask parents to donate the costumes to the school, so after a few years they have enough for the whole class, or the school could buy and sell them at lower prices...Also the parents who do make a good costume could make a bit of money from their craft, or even the buying/selling themselves?

FrameyMcFrame Fri 22-Feb-13 11:09:55

Give the school some feedback?

AGiddyKipperInOneHand Fri 22-Feb-13 11:11:30

more than one find-a-costume day a term is too many, though. 19 is like saying there's no point in buying a school uniform!

MariusEarlobe Fri 22-Feb-13 11:11:35

I had thought same about donating, dd s old school did this for Tudor day and had a box full for following years.

thebody Fri 22-Feb-13 11:12:01

Yes it's all for Ofsted brownie points but just stupid to have this many..

Sound out other parents views as I get they are pusses off as well and then tell the school.

LimeLeafLizard Fri 22-Feb-13 11:17:05

YANBU. I've also wondered why schools are so fond of dressing up - is it an ofsted thing.

It is very tedious if like me you have no creative skills and kids who don't like dressing up. I know a few people who have to pull together 3 costumes every time, either because of 3 kids in the school or 2 kids plus they are staff members.

I've found you do get better at fudging costumes together though. E.g. any animal - wear all grey / brown and make a mask.

steppemum Fri 22-Feb-13 11:18:48

we have loads. I quite like the idea, but one or two per year would be enough, then I could be inspired and put in the effort.

I always cobble together/make, as I cannot afford to buy and hate the ready made costume culture. My dd is happy with hers until she gets to school and sees a good off the peg one, makes her looks hand made and then she gets grumpy.

I also hate the prizes for best costume. This is essentially a prize for parents and you are dammed if you do and dammed if you don't. - If they give prize to best costume and it is always a bought one, it is saying that they want you to join in the buying a costume culture. If they always give it to the home made ones because they have put in 'more effort' then it is slagging those parents who work full time and just do not have the time to make 3 costumes. Can't win.

ds went as Tintin last year (he is a red head and we did a perfect jelled quiff, plus fours etc) he looked amazing and it was a good costume for a 10 year old who doesn't like dressing up. Most people at school didn't recognise who he was, and those who did said 'isn't that a film??' So I give up!

puddock Fri 22-Feb-13 11:19:52

ITA, they're a pain - I wouldn't mind trying to make a costume (and wouldn't buy one), but DS1, who is only 4, found the idea of dressing up rather than wearing his beloved new school uniform the single most upsetting thing about his first term in reception. I think the routine and predictability of school helped him settle, and this just threw him and made him very anxious.

We've had a few now, he just doesn't dress up, won't even take a prop or accessory as a token gesture. I won't force him, I make sure he understands that all the other children will be wearing something different, and he just goes in his uniform. I know they make sure he doesn't get excluded or given a hard time, but I still wish they'd ease off on it a bit.

TomArchersSausage Fri 22-Feb-13 11:20:26

What I don't understand is where has all this come from? Who decided that dressing up to excess was the lightbulb moment in the curriculum?

A good teacher can get the message across imaginatively without continual props and costumes from parents.

I think it can be a bit annoying when there's an expectation everyone can just do it no problem, like all families and children are the same.

I like the ideas of home/school partnership though.

But I wish schools could do more to recognise the diversity of families and children too ....

Encourage families to respond in a variety of ways, collect costumes that people can easily borrow, give out information about where costumes could be hired from, all those sort of things would help.

MammaTJ Fri 22-Feb-13 11:22:03

My DS has Vitctorian Day. They both had crazy hat day, then DD had Tudor Day.


We seem to be getting more and more as DS1 gets older but they're mainly to do with the class topics- traditional tales etc... Jubilee was an exception and they all went in red white and blue. DS1 has home made where possible, Dick Whittington was fairly simple.

It's ridiculous when there's more than one per term!

TomArchersSausage Fri 22-Feb-13 11:23:22

If it is an Ofsted thing then it's not a reflection on the school's abilities, it's the parents who have done the workhmm

Loa Fri 22-Feb-13 11:25:57

We tried making them for first few years - but it is just easier and less likely to go wrong if we just buy them.

They got very frequent at one point and I think someone must have approached the school - because next year they went right down to one.

They are slowly creeping up again – with 3 DC it gets expensive.


willyoulistentome Fri 22-Feb-13 11:30:19

lisad123everybodydancenow - I completely agree. My eldest has recently diagnosed AS. He HATES dresing up and looking different. He finds the whole day really difficult when everything is out of the usual. When discussing his issues with the HT, I could see it suddenly dawn on her that not everyone wouldn find it fun to dress up.

Our school only do two a year... Hallowe'en and their action day for whichever green flag their going for that year.

Loads of us make costumes but it doesn't matter either way... The principal always puts the word out not to go to too much trouble.

Ds1 won the prize for his class last week dressed as a diver: two water bottles taped together, painted black with an oxygen gauge (drawn on paper) stuck on. Tubing connecting to SN old fireman mask they got with a playset years ago. Two red flippers made of cardboard and duct taped to his old clogs. Dds leggings and a plain black top. Cost me €2 for the 'tubing' but it's twisty plant wire and there's loads left in the pack so that will get used.

The kids were so excited by it and had a brilliant day.

I'd be annoyed if it were more often or we were expected to pay but as it stands I think they're a nice idea.

Meglet Fri 22-Feb-13 11:37:30


We get about a weeks notice. It's a mad rush trying to fit costume hunting in around work. I could tolerate it if we knew weeks in advance as I'd have time to scour the charity shops and put together something cheap, last time I just bought brand new fancy dress - for one wear angry.

willyoulistentome Fri 22-Feb-13 11:38:47

SummerRainIsADistantMemory - ha snap! My DS2 (who does NOT have AS and who DOES love dressing up) also went to school dressed as a deep sea diver for the "come dressed for the job you want to do when you grow up" day. He had a wet suit and mask and flippers anyway - I also did the water bottles on the back thing with an old inner tube attached to something for the mouth piece. He also got a prize - he even went to assembly in his real flippers!!!

I did have a moment of thinking " the flippers in assembly will serve them bloody well right for yet another dressup day!!"

steppemum Fri 22-Feb-13 11:39:03

That sounds great summer, trouble is, for lots of them you can't make something that easily.

I like things like for jubilee they all went in in red white and blue - plenty of flexibility there.
But victorians? Pretty hard to do without sewing or buying something.

Chelvis Fri 22-Feb-13 11:46:03

Seriously, the teachers don't always like these much either .... there's always someone in every primary staff room who loves them and if, God forbid, it's the head or deputy head, that's why you end up with 19 (!!!!) of them. They encourage distraction and competition in the children and when you have so much curricululum material to get through, these theme days are a real hassle.

They just put pressure on normal parents, encourage the worst in the pushy ones, and worry/embarrass the children whose parents don't have the time/funds/inclination to prepare them a costume. 1-2 a year, maybe, but I'd make my feelings known if it was any more than that!

Meglet... We're lucky in that respect, we were told the day they went back after Christmas about last weeks one! (I still ended up making them the day before blush

Willyou... grin I had similar thoughts on the flippers. The paint on his water bottles was flaking too and I took guilty pleasure at the thought of him trailing paint flecks everywhere.... Payback for all the a2/a3 sized masterpieces in one inch thick paint I've been presented with with the words 'teacher said we should get mummy to hang it at home'. They brood on the noticeboard until enough paint has fallen off into the cat food that they can justifiably be removed, upon which I am immediately presented with another.

wol1968 Fri 22-Feb-13 11:54:43

YADNBU. I like sewing, and really enjoyed doing DD's Victorian costume, but what if you're working FT and/or can't afford the money to supply materials?

I'm also hmm at those letters home that insist you can make a convincing Tudor costume out of an old bin liner and some string. Really?? Sometimes it's harder work being 'creative' with unpromising materials than it is sewing from a pattern - and I find there's nothing quite like the 'don't go to too much trouble' letter for making you feel completely stupid and inadequate when you can't quite pull off the Fairy Godmother rags-into-ballgown trick.

[goes to track down Fairy Godmother wand]

williaminajetfighter Fri 22-Feb-13 11:55:45

It is also my version of hell. My DD is in a private school and there are a lot of wealthy SAHMs who seem to have much more time/money to be able to craft lovely outfits. I work FT, long hours and am currently on my home (DH working away).

This means if I can even REMEMBER that the event is happening I often have to find some last-minute cheapo victorian costume, or character outfit in Matalan. It's just one more thing that makes me feel inferior to the other mums at DD's school.

Kids like it but not sure it has much to do with learnin.....

williaminajetfighter Fri 22-Feb-13 11:56:24

whoops, typo... 'on my own...'

BadMissM Fri 22-Feb-13 12:00:06

I used to make DD's costumes, but found everyone else either didn't bother, or bought expensive ready-made ones.

However, I explained to DD that not everyone's mother had a box full of material and a taste for mad accessories that could be cannibalised.

I tended to adapt things found in charity shops, and mix them up with her own clothes and made bits....

She's at secondary now, and she relly misses them!

SixFeetUnder Fri 22-Feb-13 12:01:11

I agree Meglet, our school likes to mention it on the Monday night for a dress up day on the Thursday for example. It means no chance to check Ebay or spend a lot of time making one, it's usually cobbled together!

And really all the issues which are meant to be why schools have a uniform in the first place are going to be highlighted even more on dress up days.

willyoulistentome Fri 22-Feb-13 12:04:40

That reminds me - when DS1 was in Reception many years ago - he had to be a donkey in the nativity play. I was still a 'keen Reception Mum' then and went of to the local Oxfan to find somethng cheap and grey to cannibalise. Cam e home with a 20p grey golf jumper intending to somehow turn it into a donkey outfit. However DH spotted it and wouldn't let me cut it up ..and he still wears it now..

IneedAgoldenNickname Fri 22-Feb-13 12:04:43

Can't be anything to do with ofsted, as our school is rated outstanding NTT only has 1 costume day, which is world book day.

The only time this has ever annoyed me was last year, when they themed it to roald Dahl. The children were tools that the best costumes would get a photo in the weekly newsletter and one if the winners was a shop bought gruffalo costume! The shop bought us fine, but what does the gruffalo have to with the theme?

bedmonster Fri 22-Feb-13 12:09:10

I don't like them at all. I have no sewing/crafty skill. Don't own a needle and thread. Don't have yards of fabric just sitting round the house ready to be turned into a victorian costume. I hire them as we have a good fancy dress shop in our town. Expensive but only 4 a year between the 2 DDs. I would be bloody furious at 19.

steppemum Fri 22-Feb-13 12:09:40

thing is - I can sew quite well, I have a box full or junk and fabric, and we have a vast dressing up collection.

But you can bet your bottom dollar that the dress up won't fit any of them. last years world book day they were supposed to wear something connected to the book their class was reading. Dd was doing Where's Wally.

Now I defy you to effectively make a red and white stripey long sleeved T-shirt that will pass muster. So beg borrow or buy. We found one, and some glasses, but it was a major deal to hunt it down (I even broke principles and did a search in asda and tesco etc) But we never found the 'right' hat. Cue upset dd on the morning as others had the 'right' hat and she didn't. The hard won stripey shirt was no longer enough.

It isn't anything to do with Ofsted. They may comment on it in the report if it had happened recently and the children mention it or there are pictures up, but it would have no impact on the grading at all.

I hate them too. Our Literacy co-ordinator insists on WBD dressing up each year. More than once I've panic bought some kind of inappropriate 'Sexy Bo-Peep' costume by mistake and then had to cobble together a costume in the morning and nobody knows what it is (the Bobby Shaftoe/tinfoil knee buckles debacle springs to mind).

I teach Foundation Stage and to be honest the day itself is lovely and the children are excited about their costumes and about books, but I can get them excited about books anyway.


willyoulistentome Fri 22-Feb-13 12:16:08

ALL our teachers came in as a "Wally" as in Where's Wally, one WBD. Some of them very reluctantly, might I add!!!

I don't mind them if I get plenty of time to prepare and a few reminders along the way, what would be nice though is maybe some instruction, I don't need spoon feeding but saying, that your child needs to be dressed in something from this category and x,y,z would be suitable would help.

Although my poor DS2 I have forgotten twice since he started yr 1 blush first was superhero day and luckily they had a Batman costume in the dress up box, second was Children in Need day and I forgot and sent him in uniform, luckily the staff at the school are lovely and thy gave me a sheet of spot stickers to cover him in in the teachers room before class!

EndoplasmicReticulum Fri 22-Feb-13 12:18:57

I don't know if boy's school is doing WBD dress up yet or not. Some years they do, some they don't, and we have a new head. So am waiting for notice, rather than sorting something at half term which might not be needed.

I'm hoping they do give some notice.

Arithmeticulous Fri 22-Feb-13 12:25:48

I think you can do a lot with a set of plain leggings/joggers and top in white, brown, black and possibly red & blue.

Then face paints and hats/hairbands or whatever to create a masterpiece.

Startail Fri 22-Feb-13 12:26:47

Once a term and lots of warning OK, more than that or at short notice no!

Likewise please please please tell us if you want red clothes for Red Nose Day and spots for Pudsy, in advance not 2 days before.

This assumption that every child owns something, red, spotted or stripped or green drives me nuts.

Actually my girly pink, purple, turquoise and denim wearing DD2 doesn't own anything, red or green or black to narrate the school play Grrrrrr!

Startail Fri 22-Feb-13 12:29:19

The only sensible dressing up day is jeans for genes day, everyone except DH can cope with that (DH hates jeans).

OutsideOverThere Fri 22-Feb-13 12:30:06

I find them really hard work especially as we normally get two days notice.

If they gave us a few weeks it would be fine. I might even sew something, I might enjoy putting something together.

But if you don't have masses of dosh, you need time. It's a creative process.

steppemum Fri 22-Feb-13 12:31:51

oh yes - just send them in in the colours of the Indian flag - green orange and white.

I think between 3 dcs we had white pe shirts and one orange t-shirt, nothing else.

someoftheabove Fri 22-Feb-13 12:32:59

It irks me because it's one more way the haves and have-notes get identified in school. One child comes in for Victorian day in a black crinoline dress, lace collar, mob cap and apron, while someone else turns up in school uniform with the trousers rolled up.

someoftheabove Fri 22-Feb-13 12:33:41


EndoplasmicReticulum Fri 22-Feb-13 12:39:43

Agree with Outside - I need at least a weekend for notice, as I cannot get to the shops in the week for supplies.

Children in Need was tricky - two days notice for "spotty". Boys do not have spotty clothes - in the end we drew on white t-shirts with Sharpies.

dikkertjedap Fri 22-Feb-13 12:41:59

YADNBU - I love sewing and I enjoy making costumes. But it is time consuming and if you don't have the right materials you need to look for them/buy them, so it isn't always cheap either.

Could you put a message on your local mumsnet board to see if you can borrow or rent at a good price from a local person?

clickityclackity Fri 22-Feb-13 12:48:11

I appreciate you raising this. I found them a real trial when I was broke and not working. I couldn't sew, so it meant going out and spending up to 15 quid each time for something my child would only wear a couple of times.

Astr0naut Fri 22-Feb-13 12:48:44

Wish we could do them in high school. We don't even have non-uniform days. sad

On the other hand, I am discovering the hell of constantly finding costumes for a 1 and 3 year old in nursery. It's red day, spotty day, dress like a king day...

I make sure we always have £1 white tshirts that fit all 3 children. You can get a long way by drawing on a tshirt!

Dd's class had "ancient greece" day last term - that turned into "wear a sheet to school day" so that was fine. I knew I was right not to get rid of the old cot sheets ...

We did ask school about getting parents to donate costumes after dress-up days, school plays, nativities etc. No room to store them, apparently.

MariusEarlobe Fri 22-Feb-13 13:01:36

It wouldn't be as bad with notice tbh but even though I know it's wbd in a couple of weeks we haven't been told the theme! So I can't buy anything in case it doesn't fit the theme.

DeWe Fri 22-Feb-13 13:05:19

Actually I like them (sewer here) but we get very few.

What we do get is "wear blue/red/spots/stripes...", which is inevitably a colour/type we don't have and end up paying out for something.

And the last time we had a competition dress up at school (famous British characters) they unaccountably decided to vote in classes on it. In both my dc classes it went to someone who hadn't even bothered to dress up as a character confused. Felt really sorry for some of the dc who had made real efforts (mine hadn't really, just taken stuff we already had, so I didn't feel they'd really deserved it) in who they'd tried to dress up as, and it turned out to be a popularity contest. sad

MariusEarlobe Fri 22-Feb-13 13:05:34

I have a yellow t-shirt, green t-shirt, red trousers and spotty trousers purely as a result of dress up days.

MaterFacit Fri 22-Feb-13 13:19:45

DD's school had them much more regularly when she first started and it was hugely competitive (some quite wealthy and pushy parents). Now there are only three or four a year which is much more manageable.

The thing that changed the head's mind was the dress as a historical figure day when some year 6 girls came in dressed in historically accurate eighteenth century costumes, complete with massive wigs and wide hooped skirts. And the complaints he got from the parents when the children came home in borrowed school uniform (they couldn't fit in the toilet cubicles or even some doors).

BitOutOfPractice Fri 22-Feb-13 13:26:19

littlemachine I really laughed at "the Bobby Shaftoe/tinfoil knee buckles debacle" and neeeeeeed to know more!!

OP, YANBU I absolutely bloody HATE these things with a passion

OutsideOverThere Fri 22-Feb-13 13:31:25

I actually used to save material before I had children, so I could use it for costumes etc - how sad is that. And now I have kids I have no time to do anything with it.

last time we had a dressing up day each class had to wear one colour - ours was pink. I have three boys. Do we have anything pink? Do we buffalo. And two days to find something! It's really unfair.

OutsideOverThere Fri 22-Feb-13 13:34:48

Ref the social divide - very true sad

And r ef donkey costumes - ds had to be something Egyptian and all we could think of was the horse's head one, and so we cut the head off our poor old knackered rocking horse, took the cover off and tried to put it on his head.

It kept sliding off to one side. He also had a sheet with a hole cut in the middle, and one of my bracelets which I didn't get back for about two terms when it turned up in the lost property.

Oh BitOut, if the teacher can't get it right who can?!

It was nursery rhyme themed WBD, and I ordered a Bo Peep costume from or something because they had quick postage. It came the night before and when I went to put it on in the morning it was a 'sexy' Bo Peep. I was baffled by the shortness and the garter. I think some women wear them on hen parties.

Anyway I had about 15 minutes to make a costume, and I wear lots of nautical clothing so I thought 'Oh I know! Bobby Shaftoe! He went to sea.' I put on some nautical clothes and fashioned some giant tinfoil buckles for my knees and stapled them to my shorts.
Drew some tattoos on with face paint. Well, eyeliner.

Was quite proud. Until all parents, children and colleagues were like 'Who the fuck is Bobby Shaftoe?!'

I defiantly taught the children the nursery rhyme, claiming 'It's my favourite.'

I was finally completely deflated when the school nurse came in to do weigh in and said 'Oo! Are you Amy Winehouse?' Since when did Amy Winehouse wear GIANT SILVER BUCKLES ON HER KNEE?!

LeeCoakley Fri 22-Feb-13 13:58:05

I HATE them! Us staff always have to dress up if the children are. I have no imagination and no clue ever what to wear. Sometimes the individual teachers decide what they are going as and us TAs have to dress in a supporting role with a day's notice hmm. E.g. one year my teacher was Alice in Wonderland so I had 24 hours to cobble together a White Rabbit outfit. Another year, my teacher got a parent to make her a costume which took a few weeks, then expected me to make myself something identical in a few days! I was Wally last year so might drag out the Primark striped top again. Is my enthusiasm coming through loud and clear? grin

meddie Fri 22-Feb-13 14:10:43

Its the lack of notice that used to annoy me. We would get a letter on the friday for monday for victorian day, world book day or whatever they had decided. I work fri/sat/sun nights so it was a real problem. I dreaded them

TomArchersSausage Fri 22-Feb-13 14:11:21

When they go to seconadary school I heave a sigh of relief because it all stops.

Dd1's senior school manages to do a magnificent job of teaching imaginatively all without the aid of dressing up and constantly badgering parents for things. I can't understand how they can do it but Primary can't.

mumofthemonsters808 Fri 22-Feb-13 14:12:46

I quite like them, not that I'm the creative type, but my daughter really enjoys getting involved and it breaks up the usual routine and adds a bit of fun to a school day.Good idea about an outfit exchange, over the years we have accumulated many outfits which are in the bottom of the wardrobe. Found you story hilarious Littlemachine

insanityscratching Fri 22-Feb-13 14:14:30

Dd's school do them for fundraisers but they are always simple and easily accessible so don't seem a pain and every member of staff from the HT to the dinnerladies join in too. The last one was a pyjama day to raise money for equipment for a child in reception, then there has been denim day, wear something spotty, wear red, come in sports gear etc. For book day the school send out a list of simple suggestions that don't cost money and prizes are always awarded to simple home made costumes rather than the spectacular bought ones.

TomArchersSausage Fri 22-Feb-13 14:14:37

ROFL at 'Are you Amy Winehouse'grin

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Fri 22-Feb-13 14:14:56

A couple of years ago I raised the same issue on MN and got slated! The main opinion was that teachers tried so hard for the kids etc etc etc (and I have no doubt at all that they do!) but dress up days are a monumental fucking pain in the arse for me because I work full time and to find costumes is a nightmare for me.


HazeltheMcWitch Fri 22-Feb-13 14:16:13

Poor Old Bobby Shaftoe sad

ThatBintAgain Fri 22-Feb-13 14:18:07


Not only do I generally get about 4 hours notice to pull two costumes out of my ass, but I am usually asked to send in a donation for the pleasure. ("In return for letting the children dress up, could you send a small donation"!!) angry

MerryCouthyMows Fri 22-Feb-13 14:19:46


I have 2 world book day costumes to make by the 7th March, AND 3 costumes to make for Red Nose Day on 13th March.

All whilst planning for DD's birthday on 8th March, starting treatment for early stage cervical cancer on 26th Feb, dealing with DS3's statementing process and diagnosis process, various medical appointments, fighting the Primary school to reinstate DS2 on SA+ after taking all his help away illegally, do DS3's DLA application, AND possibly having to compile an appeal to the Grammar school for DS1, who was severely ill with strep throat AND the start of appendicitis when he sat his 11+...

As if I've got time to be sewing fake poxy fur into a librarian costume...

TomArchersSausage Fri 22-Feb-13 14:20:01

I'm a sahm and still think theyre a monumental PITAgrin<no excuseblush>

Seriously though I'm always thinking to myself gawd alone knows how people who are working cope with this as I trawl Ebay and charity shops for the latest ooutfit. I take my (Victorian mop) cap off to you all.

MerryCouthyMows Fri 22-Feb-13 14:23:05

Our Secondary still has 2-3 PROPER 'costumed' or 'themed' dress up days a year. angry

Red Nose Day when they dress up in red, the leukaemia fundraiser they do in memory of DD's bf where they dress up in orange, and the breast cancer day are the main ones off the top of my head.

Still involve costumes!!

ENormaSnob Fri 22-Feb-13 14:33:05

I fucking hate them.

I have neither the time nor the creativity to scour charity shops and source sticky backed plastic.

They are just a monumental pain in the arse.

midastouch Fri 22-Feb-13 14:46:15

dress up days?? i didnt have these when i was at school. i get the world book day one, but what exactly is the point in dress up days??

I wish I was the sort of practical 1950's housewife the school seems to expect me to be, I really do ! It would make my life so much easier too !

As TomArcher says even though I'm not working ATM these are a monumental PITA !

MareeyaDolores Fri 22-Feb-13 15:47:39

YANBU. Rubbish if you work, rubbish if your dc are autistic, rubbish if you're skintight, rubbish if you're disorganised / clumsy.

And totally unfair on dc who have problems at home: extra stigma and pressure to put on a dc who is also a young carer, for example.

MareeyaDolores Fri 22-Feb-13 15:48:02

Erm skint not skintight blush

Snowgirl1 Fri 22-Feb-13 15:52:50

DD is nearly 14 months old and since she started NURSERY 5 months ago we've had dress up day for Halloween, Fireworks day, come as your favourite animal, Christmas, Valentines and next we have Red Nose Day. Fortunately, the children are at the age that they have no clue if they're dressed up or not and don't complain/feel left out if their parents haven't joined in. But I can see it being an issue as she gets older.

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 22-Feb-13 16:21:47

What the everlovin' fuck??? This is the first I've heard of this. I guess it just wasn't done where we were up in Scotland.

I am utter rubbish at this shit. It takes immense effort on my part to get my kids to school on time, in school uniform, with packed lunches, with gym kit, and with homework bag. Maybe I'm just a shitty mum, but I really find that hard but I do manage it (mostly). If I were also expected to somehow pull a Victorian costume out of my ass, I think I could lose my mind.

Honestly, I'd probably write a scathing letter to the head teacher tell her that it's not fair that some kids have poor, lazy mums and that if my kid suffer on account of that, I'm gonna raise Hell.

EndoplasmicReticulum Fri 22-Feb-13 16:25:56

Juggling - that's exactly what my sons' school seems to expect too - a sewing, baking, 1950s housewife.

We get letters "please do come and hear the children read at 9.30 tomorrow" - or make cakes, do costumes, attend assembly every week at 3pm, do hope you can make it as the children love to see parents there.

Well of course they do. But parent in this case is busy teaching someone else's children.

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 22-Feb-13 16:28:58

I really am a shitty mum: my attitude is very much "From 9:00-3:15, my kids are your responsibility. Please return them to me in one piece, literate and numerate. Kaythanxbye!"

hiddenhome Fri 22-Feb-13 16:49:46

I have a pathological loathing of dressing up and used to keep mine off when this particular torture took place. I had enough on just keeping body and soul together without adding more pressure on. I can't sew or make things either. Easter bonnets were bad enough, but costumes tipped me over the edge sad

Used to hate those days mine would always go as st trinain girls red nose day they would have a cheap red lippy blopped onto there nose.
Victorian day i made an aproan out out of a pillow case had hair in plaits with ribbions. dd2 got to wear same dd1. I used the same outfits each year for both dds throughout ks1 and ks2
Both dds never liked dressing up. Both were quite happy in uniform

TheDeadlyDonkey Fri 22-Feb-13 17:15:25

I really hate dress-up days, and school plays where we all have to find our own dc's costumes.
At the bottom of each letter, there is always a footnote: Please speak to a member of staff if you have any difficulties finding a costume.
When you speak to said member of staff, they suggest you go to the charity shop like everyone else.
Every time I have priced up suitable stuff to adapt for a costume, it has added up to nearly £10, and I refuse to spend that much on something that will be worn for one day only, then I come across as a moaning whinger at school.

MrsDeVere Fri 22-Feb-13 17:15:35

Hate them
I can do a brilliant captn jack (ds has dreads) and DrWho.

If its cant use them, it's a sodding nightmare.

Most kids turnip in spidermanor princess costumes anyway

Yy to the having kids with ASD too. Fecking hassle trying to persuade him that it's really ok not to wear school uniform hmm

AppleStroodles Fri 22-Feb-13 17:37:44

YANBU, we have 3 DC and it gets really expensive and time consuming. Once a year is fine, otherwise the school should provide the costumes!

DyeInTheEar Fri 22-Feb-13 17:42:41

I'm shit at making stuff. Any stuff. I had to make mouse ears and got DH to do it after I fucked it up for the 4th time. I happily gave up art and all things creative at GCSE and was gutted to discover when I became a mother that I was expected to make things with / for my DCs. I don't find it remotely enjoyable and do not get crafts. I watched Kirstie Allsop's "Let's all make and sew things" in confusion.

YANBU. I've got it for years to come too <looks at sleeping 10 week old>

missmapp Fri 22-Feb-13 17:50:48

I hate them as a parent and as a teacher

As a parent, it takes ages and is always on the worst possible day

as a teacher, the kids come in wound up and unfocused all day

BAn them all!!

Mirage Fri 22-Feb-13 18:25:37

My two have just announced WBD whilst I was reading this.I can sew,but hate having to make/bodge something at short notice.We have WBD,Red Nose Day,Victorian Day,Tudor Day,dress as someone from Titanic day and they are just the ones I can remember.A real waste of time and money IMO.

Redcape Fri 22-Feb-13 18:35:46

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

If noone else has mentioned it, make sure the costume has lots of glitter so it gets all over the school. It might put a dampener on the dressing up.

That said, we have got a lot of use out of a couple of capes I made and some simple muslin pirate shirts like this (all rectangles, gathered at top, took maybe 15 minutes to make). They have been used in at least ten years worth of various costumes, knights, peasants, kings, pirates etc.

The biscuit though was the day when #1 son (in high school) came home after being back to school after being sick to tell me "I need to be dressed like Cardinal Richelieu tomorrow, it is a big part of my grade" and #2 son piped up "I have to dress like Amerigo Vespucci tomorrow".

Argh. That was a fraught night which was not improved by having to work with very slippery satin. Thank goodness for the pirate shirts!

LondonBus Fri 22-Feb-13 19:02:37

<<Applauds MareeyaDolores>>

I was on the PTA with another mum; we both had DSs with undiagnosed aspergers/autism. The other mums hated us for trying to boycott their "fun", charity raising dress up days. grin
I learned to keep my DS at home on dress up days, the other mum sent hers in in school uniform.

ByTheWay1 Fri 22-Feb-13 19:04:43

My girls love Harry Potter - so both tend to go to most stuff as Hermione - cheap black cape and crimped hair, with a stick for a wand.

Our "kit" for dress up as a Victorian/Roman/Tudor or school play stalwart of knight/merry man/peasant is a "tunic" made from a "grandad" collar T-shirt (their dad's) - rope for a belt, black leggings wound with criss cross string and boots.

That plus a red T shirt and a white sheet has seen us through every dress up day /school play for the past 7 years

LondonBus Fri 22-Feb-13 19:04:44

Saisnbury's seem to have cottoned on to World Book Day quite well this year and have loads of costumes atm, such as golilocks, little red riding hood, the gruffalo, cat in the hat. Most of them only go up to age 7 though.

willesden Fri 22-Feb-13 19:32:43

A couple of girls in DDs class always wear their princess outfits for any dressing up day. Respect Day last week = princess outfit. World Book Day = princess outfit. Red Nose Day = princess outfit. I am thinking of following their lead. They seem to get away with it but knowing my luck the next dress up day will be Animal Day.

PrideOfChanur Fri 22-Feb-13 19:41:12

Maybe someone has answered this,but what is the point?? it isn't as if anyone is actually managing accurate Victorian/Egyptian/whatever - though ,I tell a lie,we managed pretty well on dress like an evacuee,as we are both old and when we looked at pictiures of evacuees it was pretty much what we wore as small children grin
That was for DS though,it would have been a nightmare for DD.
And Ds hated it and needed serious coaxing to get him into school...

morethanpotatoprints Fri 22-Feb-13 20:17:37

My dcs weren't very imaginative, they either wore football kits, princess dress, or where's Wally (my favourite).

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Fri 22-Feb-13 20:23:40

Wow, Spoony!

MerryCouthyMows Fri 22-Feb-13 20:27:44

The best one I had was when DS2 had been off ill for 2 weeks. When I took him back to school on the Friday, I saw one of his classmates outside the supermarket opposite the school dressed up as a fucking insect.

I duly had to produce an insect or bug costume for an 'ugly bug ball' in approximately 10 minutes.

I managed it though - with the aid of a yellow vest top, black duck tape, an Alice band and some pipe cleaners!!

Instant bumble bee!

<<polishes halo>>

MerryCouthyMows Fri 22-Feb-13 20:29:12

(It WAS rather interesting attempting to stick black duck tape to a wriggly 5yo in public though...)

Littlefish Fri 22-Feb-13 20:37:47

My school only does 3 dressing up days a year, and we try and give a month's notice each time. I hate dressing up though, and unfortunately the Next dressing up day is Superheroes. I ask you, fucking superheroes. I have 32JJ breasts and a large arse. There is no way I am wearing Lycra!

Any ideas anyone?

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Fri 22-Feb-13 20:41:28

Grey spray for hair, checked skirt, twinsets and pearls = SuperGran

heronsfly Fri 22-Feb-13 20:48:53

YADNBU, I hate them,my children hate them, my cousin is a primary school teacher and she hates them because the kids are unsettled and hyped up all day,in fact they are not really popular with anyone at our school I wonder who decides they have to be done ?

ThePinkOcelot Fri 22-Feb-13 20:49:31

YANBU!!!! Its a bloody PITA!!!

Littlefish Fri 22-Feb-13 21:15:29

TheDoctrine - that's brilliant, thank you!

Perriwinkle Fri 22-Feb-13 21:29:16

YANBU I'm so glad my DS is no longer at primary school and we no longer have to endure these bloody dressing up days - they used to dress up for everything - Children in Need, Red Nose Day, International Book Day, not to mention ad hoc days when it seemed like a good idea because it fitted in with some aspect of the curriculum - Tudor Day, Victorian Day etc etc. Not to mention days when it was not a full dress up but just a special customised hat or some such. They were the bane of my life!

I can always remember the teacher saying "oh you don't have to go to too much trouble"- yeah right! You used to arrive and it seemed like everyone had had a fully qualified tailor and/or seamstress on the case for a month carefully crafting the costumes.

Been there, done that, got the bloody tee shirt. Glad to have moved on.

MrsAyrtonSenna Fri 22-Feb-13 21:36:15

Our next one - on Thursday - is going to be............. wait for it... mythical creatures!!! Gorgon anyone? Minotaur? or shall I just stick with a phoenix or a cyclops. Kids dont like dressing up anyway and say they feel 'silly' so am smiling through the panic!! Heigh-ho off to find pipe cleaners and sticky back plastic and anything else we can cobble an outfit together with..........

shesariver Fri 22-Feb-13 21:48:12

I never get these, thanks to lack of time and money, and usually notice neither does my DS! The time I remember getting at least a few days notice was when I sent him in jeans and a T shirt as George from a Roald Dahl book. The Christmas dressing up day I had 30 minutes notice (I really should check the school bag more often grin), I dressed him in my green T shirt and wrapped some battery operated fairy lights and a bit of tinsel round his arms and body and sent him as a Christmas tree, thought that was quite inspired!

shesariver Fri 22-Feb-13 21:55:10

Mythical creatures??? Good god! Im sure I just happen to have a few of those costumes lying no!

MaterFacit Fri 22-Feb-13 22:07:29

MrsAyrton - white sheet + plastic snakes tied to headband = medusa

-green clothes plus a few green paper leaves - nature sprite
-green top, brown trousers+ tail and horns on headband- Pan/satyr
-tunic and trousers +eye drawn on forehead-cyclops
-axe and beard -dwarf
-ordinary clothes and a handful of small figures-giant

MerryCouthyMows Fri 22-Feb-13 22:10:26

Little fish - you could up as the superhero my 14yo DD has decided I am.


(Am also huge of tittage)

no way would I be wearing fecking Lycra either, it would give the school run dads a heart attack. And probably the HT too!

merrymouse Fri 22-Feb-13 23:02:53

I used to hate them. Luckily children now attend a school that doesn't do dressing up days. (Well, maybe they might do dressing up once every year or two in a very informal way if they children decide to organise it themselves for charity.)

Cringe when I remember them.

Can't think how it is supposed to help learning. Putting on a stripy top and wearing some onions for 'World Day' does not increase your understanding of being French when you are 5.

Absolutely agree that it is a nightmare if your child, for whatever reason, doesn't feel comfortable dressing up.

It's just what teachers/the head/the PTA do when they are completely uninspired - get the parents to dress their children up, so it at least looks as though something interesting is happening.

Samnella Fri 22-Feb-13 23:09:23

YANBU. Our school even had the teachers dressing up as Victorians!

MerylStrop Fri 22-Feb-13 23:13:00

I once burst into tears (on the shoulder of the Afterschool Club Leader) when, 7 months pregnant, I picked up my DS at 6pm, after a 10 hour working day, to find a note that said the school at the eleventh freaking hour had decided that World Book Day was actually on after all. The next day.

I don't know why they just can't take their favourite book for book day. And give a quid for the charity days.

Dress up days are just not really feasible without 2 weeks notice unless you are a wealthy, SAHP gifted at sewing.

ozymandiusking Fri 22-Feb-13 23:23:46

Why not talk to all the other like minded Mums,and just say NO! wer'e not doing it !

Samnella Fri 22-Feb-13 23:28:04

I also hate the 'please come in and watch our special assembly at 10AM on wednesday/join us in class to observe your child on parents day' type letters that give 48 hours notice if you are lucky. Listen up schools. I work full time. Strangely enough my boss is not too keen on me skipping off to listen to my daughter read a couple of sentences and I can't justify half a days holiday because then I can't cover the very long holidays they already have. I have a revelation. Lets all have one day per year the whole school comes in dressed up and the parents come in for the parents day/assembly/play blah, blah all on one day. Lets do it all on one day and then move on to wearing school uniform parents not having to drag themselves in at inconvenient times for the rest of the year.

unlucky83 Sat 23-Feb-13 01:21:38

SAHM and I hate them too...and we never get enough notice....and the school do know they are going to need them well in advance cos they always do the same the same years...
I have kept them all from DD1 for DD2 - so I know I can do the vikings, medieval and victorians etc...and they have been borrowed by other mums in the years between...even so they throw in the odd one that is a bit different...
I have two viking outfits ...we got 3 weekdays notice - I had some old curtain material and made something for my DD but her friend (whose mum, a widow, worked full time) told me her mum just didn't have time so she couldn't dress I made another one for her - which they wore with different trimmings for the medieval day too...( I used to work FT and know I couldn't have produced anything in the week)
Biggest insult was when DD1 was in reception -the school had some funds for material and decided to get some parents together to make costumes they could reuse for the christmas play...fantastic idea I thought and I was a new SAHM and thought I should help while I could - a lot of the other parents dropped out - in the end just 4 of us made all the costumes I ended up sewing more than 15 costumes - sewing until gone midnight 3 nights in a row ...(and one parent made 3 costumes in total -two she brought scrunched up a bag, needing bits resewn with the one for her own child perfect on a hanger, ironed and adjusted to fit perfectly hmm )...
When DD2 was in reception they were doing the same play (great I thought!) then the note came home telling us what we needed to get for their costume... the school had forgotten about them! Even after they were reminded I still had to do a new one cos they didn't have enough of the right size for all children to have the same and she was one of ones chosen to have a different style!!!!

Startail Sat 23-Feb-13 01:58:36

World book day in Y6 was absolute farce, DD2 went in ordinary clothes, by that age she only read Jacqueline Willson and Cathy Cassidy, so her favourite characters were ordinary children.

AnnaRack Sat 23-Feb-13 08:41:02

You have to ask yourself what are the children getting out of it? If it is enhancing tjeir learning then it's worth the effort. You dont have to make a farthingale, just uae a bit of imagination and cobble something together from stuff you've got at home. Eg boys old trousers cut off at knees can do victorian -1960s.

DuchessofMalfi Sat 23-Feb-13 09:03:18

This year, rather than dress as your favourite character for World Book Day, DD's school decided to have one book per class that the children voted on. so we were notified, well in advance (thank goodness) what the book was, and it's given us plenty of time to research, read the book (I didn't know it) and make the costume (finished it last night).

Just for once I managed to make the costume without it costing me anything at all - we had an old t-shirt, and the rest of the stuff came out of the crafting box - beads, buttons, ribbons etc. Sometimes it pays to be a hoarder grin

This is the first time it's actually worked out like that. I've had to shell out for last minute dressing up costumes in the past too.

Yanbu, it costs too much money & effort to produce these costumes in such short notice.
I'm quite lucky, my dc schools only have dress-up twice a year, if that and even then it is always flexible.
But my sister on the other hand is always coming up with dressing up outfits for her ds school-it's madness!

For me the worst thing about costumes is having a complete pedant as a child.

Made up stuff I can handle, but recently DS told us he needed !three! spartan costumes for the next day (it was saturday evening) and oh btw he needed DH and DS to be in the play and do multiple speaking parts. Thankfully 16 yr old DS is a good egg and grumbled but agreed to do it. DH and I go to walmart, the only place open that sells fabric that time of night and bought sheets, cord, ribbon and safety pins. My son only just survived when after all that effort he told me that the costumes weren't authentic in style or colour or fabric, they didn't use safety pins and the ribbon was too modern and because they were doing multiple parts the costume had to change. That I had brought things for the wrong spartan period.

For Halloween one year (we go to an elaborate party and our lovely gracious host loves homemade costumes) he wanted to be a roman soldier. Part through making the world's most complicated costume that involved heating and molding craft foam and a papier mache helmet he informed me that he didn't want to be the kind of roman that wore a leather breast plate. He wanted to be a later roman that wore steel bands around his chest and when I changed them they were laced wrongly. The bands were wrong, the shoes were wrong, the tunic was wrong and worst of all, the (I thought inspired) paper mache helmet with a cut off broom on top for a crest was really wrong and worst of all GREEK. Soldiers I was informed do not have things on top of their helmets. Centurions do, but they were often feather and they wouldn't wear them in battle and he had a battle style sword and and and and


If I had to make 19 costumes for school in one year the teachers/head/local newspaper/anyone who would listen would really be hearing about it.

MariusEarlobe Sat 23-Feb-13 09:33:25

Oh the plays too. DDS school just did a play in an evening a few weeks after the nativity. All the year 6 children had to buy their own costume which involved a giant parraot costume, an admirals costume, a boy in a big fancy dress, various sailors and pirates.
parrot costume was about £50 quid.

This was weeks after the usual shepherd stuff.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Sat 23-Feb-13 09:33:49

<passes Spoony some wine>

Thanks doctrine, I needed that, I was getting PTSD just thinking about that costume. I did look for a picture but apparently I was too cross to take one.

Giant parrot costume?!? Marius, you are banned from telling my DS that, just in case he wants to be one next halloween.

merrymouse Sat 23-Feb-13 09:45:37

The ironic thing is that during no other period in history would parents have been able to or had the spare cash to go out and buy cheap clothes to put together 'historical' costumes for their children.

Lovelygoldboots Sat 23-Feb-13 10:10:48

Always read a book to your kids with an orphan in it. Orphan costumes are just old clothes and a woolly hat. which is what my kids wear most days

Lots on here that's making me laugh this morning ...

Love the orphan suggestion goldboots and loved Katy's hard as nails attitude too grin

MrsAyrtonSenna Sat 23-Feb-13 10:49:01

Brilliant Mater - thanks for the ideas, you are a costume genius, I have think one of those would be fantastic! Many thanks

xigris Sat 23-Feb-13 10:59:13

YANBU. Can't stand it. DS1 has to dress up as a Myth or Legend next month. Am considering borrowing my old flatmate's Xena costume......might raise a few eyebrows at his rather strict Catholic school grin

Ruprekt Sat 23-Feb-13 11:06:44

And comic relief is the week after WBD.

Where's Wally? Is the theme for our wbd and then we all have to wear red for CR.

We do love it though.

YANBU. DD is meant to go as a character from her favourite book on WBD. She will actually be going as a tenuous link to one of her books after I discounted her favourite books as impossible or too expensive. She is young enough not to notice the difference, but I think she may not be next year.

I like the day that they are allowed to go to nursery in their pyjamas to raise money for charity. I can deal with that.

I am thinking about getting DD a personalised "Peppa pig and me" book and just sending her in as herself.

Hulababy Sat 23-Feb-13 14:06:20

We don't have anywhere near this many!

My school - infants - maybe 3 a year. Dd's school 4 at most.

Trouble is many children love it and ask for them. We do a class target and the children chose the target and the reward. They always vote for dress up day. This half term we've out them off again and having a choosing lesson ( guess like golden time?) instead.

Acinonyx Sat 23-Feb-13 14:33:50

Oh but don't you all have supplies of white sheets and pillow cases to be ripped up and used as togas/saxon tunics/Egyptian thingy's?

No, we don't either <<eyes internet patterns before me for yet another costume>>

YANBU - totally YANBU.

foslady Sat 23-Feb-13 14:58:16

I almost wrecked my kitchen floor thanks to chuffin WBD!
DD wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie). I bought a white long sleeved school shirt, found a gypsy style tiered skirt in a charity shop and an old white mans shirt. I sewed the skirt to the blouse to make a dress and then dyed it in my washing machine a blue colour to go with the poke bonnet we'd bought from a day trip to Ironbridge, then the collar cut off the shirt and turned back to front make the pinafore.
Only my washing machine is quite old. And we live in a hard water area. So hence everything afterwards came out with blue lines/specks on it. I contacted the dye manufacturer who sent me some washing machine cleaner and then told me to do a boil wash with a cup of bleach in it. Only their cups must be smaller than mine as I ended up with boiling hot bleachy water foam coming out of the powder dispenser and heading for my newly laid dark wood kitchen laminate. I scooped as much out as I could into a bowl and fast forwarded the program, but ended up having to rub vinegar into my hand/arm to try and neutralise the bleach.....

I can laugh about it now......

We had one week's notice for the last one, Chinese New Year Day. It was easier for the girls who can find red or gold items to wear relatively easy. I am not forking out £15 for an outfit that won't get used more than once and I don't have fabric/things/sewing machine hanging around to magic something up. It is money we, and many others, cannot afford to waste. Other than for a play I think it's a bit much.

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 15:03:25


it's not the school's fault that the parents buy the costumes every time and don't make them.

All of the costumes in your OP can be quickly and easily made without a proper pattern, and most of them can be cobbled together using clothes you already have at home.

And why don't any of these families have a dress-up box????
I've got a sodding dress-up box and I'm an adult!

BooCanary Sat 23-Feb-13 15:04:06

You lot are much nicer than me.
My DD can go as any character she wants for WBD as long as its a princess or a witch, as that's what we've got in the dressing up box!

One year she went in her princess dress with the plastic peas from her kitchen set!

nickelbabe I presume you're joking!

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 15:05:35

"They never fit the year after."

but you've just said that there's a dearth of people having suitable costumes - why don't you do a regular event swapping dress-up costumes with other years?
You could make it part of the school fete - have people pay 50p to bring their old costume and swap it for another costume. It would raise a bit of cash for the school and mean that parents can get a costume for the next million costume requirements.

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 15:10:50

LittleAbruzzenBear - no, i'm not joking.
I can never understand why every single year there are loads of posts going "oh why do schools spring these costume days on us randomly with little notice?"

don't the people reading those threads think "oh, I think we'll probably get costume days randomly announced on us, let's get a selection of items that can be used for costumes, or try to make something, or find other parents who have been through it and swap costumes with them"

Come on, when I was growing up, we had a huge box full of random stuff that could be made into any costume at all (my favourite was Victorian child, because there were loads of old long dresses that could be dressed up with a shawl), and my mum had shedloads of random fabric.

My DD is only 14 months old, and I've already made an Independent Booksellers Week teeshirt to fit her, a dragon costume for St George's day, a rustic peasant girl (that was a dress of mine from the 70s and a bandana).
I keep an eye out when costumes are cheap - we got a knight's outfit in size 3-4 from sainsbury's the other week for £6 (half price)

If you have children, you have to think about this stuff - even if they don't need it for school, having a dress-up box is an important part of imaginative play for any child.

foslady Sat 23-Feb-13 15:15:00

We DID have a dressing up box, infact it was a bloody great rail with 3 boxes of shoes/hats/bags/beads, which I regularly used to let my mates raid. And I passed the stuff on. But you can almost guarantee that what's in the dressing up box isn't special enough because it's not what they're reading now...

merrymouse Sat 23-Feb-13 15:15:02

Dressing up boxes are for children to put together costumes themselves as part of their play. It is very common for teachers to put together a dressing up box in school, particularly for children in KS1, related to the current theme.

There is also nothing wrong with parents making costumes for their children if that is what they enjoy doing.

That is quite different to a stressed parent making a costume for a child (that the child didn't choose and doesn't want to wear) for some non-existent learning experience.

MariusEarlobe Sat 23-Feb-13 15:23:26

"oh, I think we'll probably get costume days randomly announced on us, let's get a selection of items that can be used for costumes, or try to make something, or find other parents who have been through it and swap costumes with them"

Nickelbabe because the school springs THEMES on us a couple of days before, so you cannot think oh I know I will buy something now and ask around/swap because while I know its world book day soon I do not know what theme it is!
And if you are at the top end of school like we are there arent many people to borrow from.

I have not dressed up since I was a stoat in toad of toad hall age 11, I do not know anyone else adult who has dressing up stuff either....

Like I said in my op the main issue is all of the other parents buy off the peg expensive costumes and children have been called because of made/cobbled together stuff. As my dd has sen and has suffered bullying anyway I do not want to make her stand out as different any more than she already does.

MariusEarlobe Sat 23-Feb-13 15:28:14

Can I also add in my defence that dd moved 12 months ago from a school in which Juniors did not do these dress up days and if they did school provided the stuff!

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 15:32:03

oh yeah, she was Where's Wally too (minus the glasses)

as an outsider, I once got asked to judge a fancy dress day at a school - the theme was book character, most kids were dressed as harry potter or disney princesses.
i discounted everybody who had dressed as a disney princess/harry potter, because there was no imagination involved.
I judged the winner to be a boy who had dressed as one of the ghosts from a Christmas Carol- his costume was homemade (all by himself) - a roughly ripped sheet painted with grey felt tip pen and tied onto him at various points. he'd painted his face with makeup and had a cardboard scythe.
It was a brilliant outfit.
Afterwards, the Admin told me that the boy who had won was one who "largely got ignored", and who was very hard done by in general - it happened to be a right confidence boost for him, and I judged him on merit

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 15:38:29

Marius - the only complaint I can think is that they don't tell you the theme - but you've said it's favourite bookcharacter.

I don't understand why your DD can't dress as the girl from dork diaries.
The picture on the front of the book i've got in front of me, she's wearing thin trousers, short sleeved v-neck teeshirt, had massive clobby hands (confused), and has pigtails.
Remember, she's also a cartoon, so you can afford to be a bit cartoony with the costume.
(ie if it's cold, your DD can wear a long sleeved black top underneath)
Clubby hands - mittens
short sleeved vneck teeshirt - if you haven't got vneck it doesn't matter, just wear one of her summer teeshirts.
thin trousers- any trousers will do.
Tie her hair in low bunches (puff up the fringe a bit)
the most important thing is the pen and diary, so as long as you can find those, you're sorted.

I would much more like to see a child in a cobbled together costume of a character they love than to see them in a disney princess dress- and get the opposite problem around here where they have to bring in the book they're copying the character from, and I get parents coming in the weekend before wanting the Disney version of cinderella etc because that's their costume (y'know, rather than saying "princess dress, A Little Princess or Pony Mad Princess or Felicity Wishes)

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 15:40:53

the pen has got stars coming out of it - pipecleaners with little stars on the end (stickers or cut out) wrapped around the pen.

throckenholt Sat 23-Feb-13 15:41:31

YANBU - we HE now - but when mine were at school it was one of the things I loathed. I have twins plus another - so 3 times the pain. I was darned if I was going to waste money buying stuff. DH (we happened to be talking about it last night following a visit from friends who have 2 dressing up days this month) thinks it is because the teachers like dressing up (and can probably reuse costumes from previous years).

I listen to friends moaning about the latest efforts (in most cases home made by the mother with bad grace !) and am very grateful it is not me. I am pretty sure if mine were still at school they would rarely have costumes unless they cobbled something together themselves.

gazzalw Sat 23-Feb-13 15:53:37

Any school dress-up days always cause an issue with DD, even when it's House day (with a certain colour top to be worn). It's never just a case of "you can wear that, DD" and DD agreeing. There's usually arguments over liberal interpretation of colour from DD, cases of "but I've already worn that this year" etc.... A total pain and just another school-related issue to have an unnecessary argument over.

Yes, the dress up days are indeed a nightmare for other than the good-at-crafting parent brigade (of whom there seem to be fewer and fewer with the passage of time). Sometimes simplest is best but the DCs don't always go with parental wisdom on these matters, particularly, competitive girls who seem to adore turning up at school looking like primped ponies.

Personally can't remember having to dress up for anything other than school plays and it didn't do us any harm.....

We do have a 'donate outgrown fancy dress outfits to school' policy but I think it relies on parental generosity and TBQH if you can sell a fancy-dress outfit on E-Bay why would you simply donate it?

I was horrified at the Christmas play scenario this year. Two years, four forms of 30, involved in a play really meant for a maximum of 45 children. So many children required to be spiders, Little Bo Peeps, Father Christmas etc...and very nearly all had proper outfits. This is a school with a very socially mixed intake too. I think it's an issue of time-saving, lack of crafting skills and pressure from the children to have proper outfits. But really a waste of money at a time of the year when parents have many other demands on their money.

As a teacher I've done a Victorian day - a full term warning and it was highly educational.

As a parent I've delivered DCs as Victorians, Egyptians and Tudors - again all part of the curriculum and very much valued. Plenty of notice. MIL made their costumes (very lucky there!) and all have since been loaned to other children.

Now my school has decided to do World Book Day - the staff will all be pirates (rolls eyes). I dread to think what my class will come dressed as! We will be off curriculum, but it will all be book-themed activities and learning.

The ones that annoy me are the general charity / non-uniform / dress-in-some-random-theme days. My DCs always seem to lack the colour or pattern that's required and there is usually little notice given that they are participating. For example, I haven't heard from either of my DC's schools about whether they are doing Red Nose Day.

As a teacher the general charity/non-uniform days usually also mean poor behaviour. As a result there's d b%gg%er all learning going on angry.

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 16:10:35

i do feel bad for being so harsh about this, but i don't understand the "oh, but everyone else has shop-bought so i must too"
I know your DD has SEN, so it makes sense that she's worried about fitting in.

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 16:15:19

Youllneedatray pirates is dead easy for me grin

I bought some of those short trousers a few years ago when they were fashionable - they reminded me of the peddle pushers that we had when we were young.
a blue and white stripey man's shirt, long socks, cloddhoppy shoes (used to wear them for interviews), pink shawl thing wrapped round my waist and hair twisted into a long ribbon.

merrymouse Sat 23-Feb-13 16:25:08

nickelbabe, clearly you enjoy dressing up (and seem to actually work somewhere that provides/sells dressing up costumes?), but many people (including children) do not like dressing up. In particular, while many children enjoy dressing up as a game, they don't like dressing up to order (whether that means wearing a suit or being a viking).

I am not sure whether you have other children apart from your 14 month old. However, between school trips, school assemblies, school discos, cake sales, easter egg hunts, nativity plays, craft fairs, christmas fairs, helping out in class, summer fairs other adhoc PTA fundraising, having a child in primary school could easily be a full time job.

Many people have full time jobs, and lives beyond their child's school.

I know that a great many people have huge amounts of fun dressing up. Some people also enjoy bungee jumping, bridge, scuba diving and cake decorating. However for a large number of people dressing up (of the kind asked for by the school rather than pretending that if you wear an old curtain you are a dragon) is stressful and has a very tenuous link to any learning, whether they are the costume maker or wearer.

Kudos for going against the majority opinion though. smile

TomArchersSausage Sat 23-Feb-13 16:27:41

'why don't you do a regular event swapping dress-up costumes with other years? you could make it part of the school fete - have people pay 50p to bring their old costume and swap'

Sorry but I'm three dc and 10 years in with this malarky. I'm all costumed, feted, and school collectioned out<waves white flag>

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 16:45:06

merry smile
I do feel guilty feeling like this

I work in a children's bookshop.
I work 6 days a week, and just the one DD at the moment.

But I've always enjoyed sewing, and my mum used to make shedloads of costumes for us as kids (as well as those that we made up ourselves)

I just wish that there wasn't this perceived (or actual in some schools) pressure to have the most immaculate costume, or the most perfect one, or the most shop-bought one.
Dressing up should be fun, and I'm sure that's what the schools intend. It would be soooo much better if the children helped to make their costumes or made them themselves from what they had in the dressing up box.
But that's just me - I'm a simple soul.

(and not so bothered about accuracy or beauty... grin )

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 16:52:52

dd's dragon
DD as Where's Wally
DD as a indie bookseller (that teeshirt was adult man's size)
(aka pirate wench)

see, precision of costume isn't in my remit.

Samu2 Sat 23-Feb-13 16:57:01

Hate them.

Especially as I usually only get two days warning. Spotty day was the latest. My son owns nothing spotty and the only spotty things my girls have are knickers. I ended up buying facepaint and painted spots on them but there has been so many times I have had to rush out and buy something for three children with only 2 days notice.

I am not at all creative and suck at trying to make a costume.

TomArchersSausage Sat 23-Feb-13 17:11:56

Spotty Day?confused Poor you Samu.

You've got to wonder what anyone learns from dressing up in spots for 'Spotty Day'.

All this begs the question as to what's going on in staffrooms when they dream this madness up.

thefirstmrsrochester Sat 23-Feb-13 17:16:11

Hate them with a passion. For 2 horrible years my 3 dc were at primary together. There was a new head who adored theme days. In addition to book week, talk like a pirate, Scottish day, Victorian day and many more, the monthly 'mufti' day got themed also. And the classes had carte blanche to choose the theme. Wear yellow, spots, stripes and so on. Honestly, to be expected to pay £10 to buy something yellow so my dc can pay £1 to 'dress down' hmm
In fact, the 2012 international talk like a pirate day had our local hobbycraft sold out of black card thanks to the hat making competition.
Thank goodness my older 2 are in high school now where they just dress down the last Friday of the month and pay £1.
Thank goodness also that dc3 who is in primary is flamboyant behind closed doors and refuses to dress up anymore.

bigbuttons Sat 23-Feb-13 17:18:42

very odd. My dc's school is 'outstanding" and only ever does dressing up on red nose day. They don't do anything creative. i don't think it has anything to do with ofsted tbh. I wish they would do more, but then I can sew....

merrymouse Sat 23-Feb-13 17:19:37

I think there are three culprits.

Curriculum co-ordinators who have to put together history week/world book day/science week.

The PTA. (Some parents find it really difficult to imagine what it would be like to have a different children)

The media. When I was at school the only fundraising we did was for Blue Peter. Large scale fundraising (Comic Relief, Children in Need) didn't exist. There wasn't the same sense that you were missing out if your school wasn't taking part in something that was happening on TV.

jamdonut Sat 23-Feb-13 17:25:38

Spotty day...just use felt pens on an old t-shirt (that can be chucked away afterwards).

I really hate it when people send their kids in specially bought gear,although it is a bit different if it was something they already had. Costumes don't have to be absolutely authentic. I've used men's t shirts ,old shirts,odments of material ,tacked or stapled together etc etc for my kids. Once or twice I've gone out of my way to do something a bit more special (Like sending my daughter dressed as princess Fiona,with green skin etc, and in a green dress I knocked up with a bit of spare material. It looked quite good actually!).
The kids enjoy it when it is linked to topics at school ie. Evacuation, Charlie and the chocolate Factory,Victorians etc.
I personally can't bear the dress in red/yellow/wear your wellies days for charities.

TomArchersSausage Sat 23-Feb-13 17:27:43

So iare the the Curriculum co-ordinators the ones who make dress up days an expectation?

I just can't fathom who's driving this and why, but it must be coming from somewhere.

jamdonut Sat 23-Feb-13 17:33:42

The best dressing up day was Polar Express Day for year 3/4 just before Christmas. Everyone in their pyjamas,dressing Gowns,and slippers watching the film and having hot chocolate and marshmallows! And at the end of the day, each child was given a little bell with a tag attached, just like in the film!

exoticfruits Sat 23-Feb-13 17:40:27

I think it is lovely for the children-I can't see why you don't want the topic to be more interesting. You can always do something simple. I was asked to do a day's supply teaching for the next day and then was told ' by the way we are having an Egyptian day, but don't worry about dressing up because it is short notice.' I managed to make a simple costume very quickly and go dressed up. Sadly about 3 children had to be found something and yet the parents had had plenty of warning-far more than my 18 hours anyway.

merrymouse Sat 23-Feb-13 17:41:22

I don't know how all schools work, but when DS went to an infant school that did this kind of thing there would be one teacher in charge of world week, one teacher in charge of literacy week and one teacher in child of sports week etc. etc.

These weeks were a nightmare if you have a child who relies on predictability, Often the activities were parachuted in by people who didn't really know all the children involved and just got in the way of general day to day classroom learning. (Typical activity - class get go to hall to buy scholastic books to support the school during literacy week - but that's another gripe).

Mandatory costumes was just another thing on the list of things to do to make the week 'special'.

So, so glad to have left all that behind.

exoticfruits Sat 23-Feb-13 17:41:41

There is no need to buy anything.

exoticfruits Sat 23-Feb-13 17:42:22

Sorry-no need to buy proper costumes.

AppleStroodles Sat 23-Feb-13 17:49:08

exoticfruits - I disagree, we had nothing DD could wear for Roman Day lying around, I wasn't going to chop up one of our white sheets to use...

miemohrs Sat 23-Feb-13 17:49:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TomeArchersSausageBlame the Head, Curriculm co-ords and the class teacher for class/subject days... but other days also come from the School Council. At my school the Council tried to suggest a 'Gadget Day' where everyone could bring in their DS/Kindle/Ipad/etc .. and they were most disappointed when it was vetoed by the Head without hesitation.

Hats off to ExoticFruits for managing a costume for a supply day! Imagine if you'd got the call at 8.10am ...

TomArchersSausage Sat 23-Feb-13 17:56:54

There is every need to buy something here. Even if I had enough stuff lying about for one costume, I have dts so I have to come up with two things each time. Besides I'd have no sheets left by now if I kept cutting them uphmm

I do try to trawl charity shops though, but it's time consuming and not actually as inexpensive as it seems.

merrymouse Sat 23-Feb-13 18:00:28

When DS's infant school did 'pyjama day' many parents bought their children new pyjamas. Many families do not have presentable dressing gowns, slippers and pyjamas available for their children on a day to day basis.

In my family we do not have a single spare sheet/white t-shirt/shirt. We wear things until they are rags and then use them for cleaning or pass them on in good condition.

My children do have a box of curtains and old clothes for dressing up and a couple of actual bought costumes. We do have enough spare cash to spend a tenner on a t-shirt /a second hand sheet if necessary and actually I do have a sewing machine and have made bespoke white trousers for DS when he was a sheep.

I do not imagine that everybody has a spare tenner.

thefirstmrsrochester Sat 23-Feb-13 18:37:52

Oh and the 'movie night' at ds primary has been hijacked to become a 'pyjama party' and at the last one I saw new 'onesies' and box fresh slippers on some kids.
The discos too - Easter themed, valentines, beach party.
Sometimes you will be lucky to have something suitable lying about, but often not. It's not 'fun' if you are the kid who isn't matching the chosen them, and its no fun as the parent without the time or money to produce whatever outfit is required.

At least if you buy new pyjamas they are likely to get used again, but I agree that not all families have a spare tenner, or more if you have multiple children.

I think that schools should add up and publish a list of all planned events requiring a parental contribution (whether in cash or equivalent) at the beginning of the school year. This would allow parents to plan and the school pause for thought about the total cost of the list and whether parents really have that much spare cash.

butterfingerz Sat 23-Feb-13 18:58:00

My reception dds school has not been too bad so far. The dress up days are arranged by PTA to raise funds and are generally quite low maintainance. We have WBD coming up and she'll be going as Maisie Mouse so I'll just paint her face and give her some mouse ears, she can wear regular clothes.

xigris Sat 23-Feb-13 19:11:38

So glad to see that I'm not the only one whose heart sinks at the prospect of WBD etc! Does anyone have any ideas what DS1 (age 6) can go as? The theme's Myths and Legends. I'm not at all very creative or artistic and DS3 is only 7 weeks old so time is not plentiful. I'd like to try and make something with DS1 but it would have to be very simple! When I did needlework at school, the teacher told me I brought the "very worst" out in her. hmm Ideas that DS1 has declined are wizard, knight and ogre. All suggestions gratefully accepted!

butterfingerz Sat 23-Feb-13 19:15:54

xigris how about james from james and the giant peach? looks like he wears a jacket, stripey tie, shorts and long socks.

xigris Sat 23-Feb-13 19:30:37

Thanks butterfingerz that's a great one. I love Roald Dahl and in fact we've just finished reading James and the Giant Peach which DS1 enjoyed loads. But would it full into the category of Myth or Legend? It is a bit of a vague theme, isn't it? I had thought of Harry Potter but I bet 80% of the school will come as something or other from it (not that that really bothers me) plus DS1 hasn't seen the films and we've not read any of the books with him. Feel that he should have some understanding of who he's meant to be (mainly because if I have any hand in making his costume it's unlikely to be immediately apparent grin)

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Sat 23-Feb-13 19:39:16

Nickel, would your heart lift or sink if you personally got a fancy dress party invite?

Mine would plummet!

butterfingerz Sat 23-Feb-13 19:44:02

Haha, sorry, I missed the Myth or Legend bit! Trust your school to throw that one in! We went to watch James and the Giant Peach at the theatre today, thats why it was on my mind. You could plead ignorance to the theme?!

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 21:12:22

it would lift. I love it!
<sad gimmer>

although last time I went to one, I was 1week before my due date, so was very heavily pregnant and I didn't want to make a costume specially, so I went as a bellydancer - I had a baladi dress/costume that was stretchy and that still fit after I wore it for a show a couple of montgs before. so it was cheating because i'd already worn it for real, but that's that great thing about fancy dress - you can wear things again if you need to!

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 21:17:29

actually, the only time I've disliked the dressing up was for a roald dahl event I did at the shop. I was one of the witches, but the wig and gloves were far too hot and awkward for serving customers so I dumped them and became miss honey from matilda instead. then ifelt under dressed. on that day, dh wore my pirate costume (he's dead skinny) and was a treasure island pirate.

my favourite and most simple one was when I did an underpants day - the rule was to wear your pants over your clothes and I bought some massive granny pants 3 for a pound. I had spares for children who came and didn't have pants (that's actually the key, I think - to have spares so that if someone can't get an outfit for whatever reason they wnn't miss out) even something like making hats or egyptian collars means that tgose who can't won't feel left out.

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 21:20:12

someone upthread listed some possible mythical creatures - some were pretty easy.

or he could go as narcissus - greekmyth - he'd just need the bog standard pillowcase as a dress and a mirror that he keeps looking into.

Pillowcase as a dress? Our pillowcases are pillowcases and we don't have spare ones to turn into a dress.

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 21:28:50

legend -
robin good.
green top (long teeshirt), trousers, make a hat out of paper and paint it green. origami hat you need paper about 20" by 20" for it to be head size.
then make a quiver (for storing arrows) from a kitchen roll tube painted or covered. arrows are straws with bits of card in arrow flight shape glued on (or cut and slotted into matching slots in the straws) - he can hold it on by string or ribbon.

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 21:30:34

breathe - I was just thinking of things lying around that would fit.

another option is using teatowels - pin them together into a tunic shape and wear. (obviously these options assume wearing something underneath - teeshirt and leggings or pyjamas - basically nothing bulky)

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 21:32:10

or a tablecloth or a folded sheet - they wouldn't need to be cyt ag all but would require pins at shoulders and armpits and a belt or ribbon round waist.

jamdonut Sat 23-Feb-13 21:34:35

roman day...Man's Or large lady's white t shirt or vest with a peice of string/rope/cord around the middle.

Egyptian day...similar or add a poncho round the waist or large scarf gathered and tied around the middle so it sits over the hips and bottom.

WW2/Evacuation day ...girls with pigtails and large ribbons and skirt and short socks . Boys ..short trousers (cut an old pair down) with a jumper or tank top over a shirt.

It's just to give an impression, not full on and detailed, necessarilly!

And you can make egyptian collars from a bit of card and coloured by your kids.

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 21:36:27
doglover Sat 23-Feb-13 21:41:17

Sorry, I've not read most of this thread so may be repeating what other people have already said.

As a teacher, we are expected to dress up ,too. Our Head and Deputy are both really into this sort of thing and most of the staff really HATE it. For Red Nose Day it's fancy dress with a red theme. sad

I have no desire for the nursery/school to decide how I spend my free time or spare cash for dubious educational benefit. That how to make a quiver video was 10 min long, and that is after finding all of the stuff you need and it is only part of the costume.

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 21:54:35

I didn't watcb it, sorry.
my version.would only take s few minutes.

get kitchen roll tube.
get piece of paper of brown colour. wrap round tube.
get a few straws. make slits in straws about 1 inch long. make bits of paper in arrow feather shape (cut on fold and you have it doubled over without having to cyt twice) open oyt paper, make slits ypwards from base of 1 inch. fit that slit into the slits in the straw. put thestraws in the tube. if you put a wodge of crumpled paper inthe bottom of the tube and put tape across nothing will fall out.
tape a piece of ribbon to the top of the tube and the other end to the bottom of the tube. long enough to pit round shoulder like a satchel.

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 22:00:11

when does he need it by?
pm me your address, I'll make you one and send it to you.

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 22:01:04

oopsy just realised you're not the one who asked! blush

xigris Sat 23-Feb-13 22:05:27

Nicklebabe! you are a star. I love the Robin Hood idea (although have to say Narcissus is probably more apt as he's very like DH who's shockingly vain....). Thank you loads, especially for the quiver and hat links which are highly useful. He has a pair of legging things which he wears under his football strip so they'll be perfect. Sacrificing one pillowcase is sure as hell cheaper than buying a costume (which sadly would have been my choice otherwise). Actually, will you make it for me? Please? gringringrin

xigris Sat 23-Feb-13 22:07:56

Ha! Just read your last post Nicklebabe! No, I'm not the op, I just shamelessly hijacked the thread in a major panic about WBD! blush

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 22:17:02

nono that's fine. grin
I hope you find the time to do itgrin

Oblomov Sat 23-Feb-13 22:20:14

I hate them. And they never give us enough notice that we are having one. Hence frantic bidding on e-bay.

aquashiv Sat 23-Feb-13 22:25:05

Its a pile of cack but the children are igenious at what they come up. You would be surprised what a box and a pair of tights can do and just focus on the colours. I am no seamstress so duck tape it is. I quite like it now as some of the costumes are hilarious. Dont take it too seriously.

TomArchersSausage Sat 23-Feb-13 22:30:26

Nickelbabe this could be your Dargons Den moment..start a business bailing the rest of us out. You could make a fortunegrin

TomArchersSausage Sat 23-Feb-13 22:31:36

Dragon not Dargon!confused

LahleeMooloo Sat 23-Feb-13 22:32:38

They're a load of old bollocks. I'm a single working full time parent usually out of the house for 12 hours a day, I have neither the time nor inclination to make constumes. I have bought them in the past and try to recycle them (eg have a pirate etc one) if possible but luckily DS isn't too arsed about dressing up.

xigris Sat 23-Feb-13 22:35:46

I'm with Tom. Go on Nickelbabe! start a fab hand-made-from-pillowcases-childrens-costumes business that we can buy and pass of as our own sterling work!

nickelbabe Sat 23-Feb-13 22:44:01

good with the ideas, but I think you'd have to pass them off as your dcs' own work! grin

Last year I engaged a lovely crafty person through Etsy to knit DD's dog hat and tail for WBD for my then 18 month old DD. Now I am a bit confused as to what I was thinking. But at least someone trying to make money from craft got something from it.

wotsoccurring Sat 23-Feb-13 23:43:38

My daughter had a weekly wear a different colour day to nursery for ages. It was a nightmare! When it was green or brown I would have to rush down to asda and buy something for the sake of it.

Oh yes, the wear-a-particular colour days at nursery! We had to have something in every size in every possible colour, which was bloody annoying.

The DCs school only do WBD and we have loads of notice, so I am fairly happy with that (and there's a general make-it-yourself or repurpose-regular-clothing ethos, so there's no pressure from other children to have a store-bought costume). School play costumes are generally provided by the school, too, although I did have to send DS in black last year and dressed as "a child" (obviously very demanding grin) the year before.

Spuderoonerism Sun 24-Feb-13 09:34:42

Agree with those saying Comic Relief is a PITA for DSs in particular - most of the girls seem to have spotty tights, hair ribbons etc, we did white t-shirts and drawn on spots for 3 years and then last year DH cracked and bought DS a spotty bow-tie and told him that will now do him until he leaves primary school grin.

DS school do at least generally give us enough notice now, I have always said that with both of us working full-time we need at least 2 weekends notice to rustle up an outfit. I am currently fannying around on Mumsnet as I am supposed to be making an ancient Greek outfit. That entailed having to go into town last week to buy some material - the instructions include 'run a seem up the side' and then 'hem the top and bottom'. I do not have a sewing machine, I do not 'do' craft/sewing/needlework...if wundaweb/fabric glue cannot sort this then I am going to more buggered than a Greek slave with an cruel master!

Due to the timing of this, Comic Relief and some other thing which came home last week for this coming week I think we will have done 3 dress up days in as many weeks.

I would love to have a stash of random items - material, accessories, assorted colours etc such that I could whip up an outfit at short notice, the reality is that's not me - I am lacking both time and skills, the outfits are not predictable from year to year (apart from Comic Relief, DS school doesn't always do WBD), I don't have the skills to do much other than glue/wundaweb badly. To be honest I'm not even convinced DS enjoys them much now either - the one on Friday (which I need to get the letter out for to see what it is) he's already said 'can I just pay the money and go in my uniform instead'.

[darkly] DS wants to be a griffin for WBD. An actual griffin ... <weeps>

RocknRollNerd Sun 24-Feb-13 09:54:23

<hands Tolliver a tissue>

Oh god, you have my sympathies. Not even wundaweb can help with that one...

RocknRollNerd Sun 24-Feb-13 10:01:27

Meant to add, my mum was a primary school teacher and once forgot about WBD until the morning of it, she wore my old school uniform, took my lacrosse stick and went as Sally from Malory Towers. Unfortunately I used to wear my skirts quite short and my mum (at the time in her mid-40s and quite young looking, tall and slim) was horrified when a boy in her class came in on Monday and said 'my dad thought you looked lovely yesterday MrsNerd, he was telling my uncle all about your outfit when they came over'. The following year she went as a witch in an ankle length black skirt grin.

xigris Sun 24-Feb-13 13:33:52

A griffin??! God. At least it's original I suppose. He'll probably end up reading classics at Oxford or something. Have some wine first for creative inspiration smile

ketomummy Sun 24-Feb-13 15:56:37

My son was happy to do the dressing up in KS1 but now into KS2 and more self aware he doesnt like it at all...

Save it for the youngsters...and then let them make their OWN choice for grown up fun later on ... ;)

nennypops Sun 24-Feb-13 16:39:03

YANBU. I never understand why schools don't get it that some mothers work full time and really haven't got time to be creating lots of fancy dress. I wonder how teachers manage for their own children?

sailorsgal Sun 24-Feb-13 17:15:16

I had to buy a Knight costume this week £20 and make a shield plus visit a castle, which for two adults and one child was £21. Thankfully the grandparents were around to take ds as I was working.

I do find it too much sometimes and I only have the one.

exoticfruits Sun 24-Feb-13 17:17:15

I wonder how teachers manage for their own children?

They all do!

exoticfruits Sun 24-Feb-13 17:18:04

It is the sort of thing that makes education fun for children and that they always remember.

nickelbabe Sun 24-Feb-13 17:30:19

pipecleaners are your friend.
bend them into claw shapes and tie to shoes.
feathers/wings : easiest to cut out wong shapes from cardboard and draw feather shapes with felt tip. tie them on with string or elastic.
he could wear brown/cream clothes underneath - leggings/pyjamas and teeshirt. he doesn't need arms, so in theory the wings could be tied on to those.

face - eagle's face. a brown woolly hat would work, use more brown/ white card to make feathers. make big yellow eyes with paper and glue on to the hat.
you can make a beak by making a cone oc yellow card and tie it round his head with elastic.

Oh, I have a Plan Of Action for the griffin (starting with existing lion costume and adding eagley bits on top). I just have yet to put it into action.

Oh, did I mention DS's strong perfectionist streak? <fetches gin>

nickelbabe Sun 24-Feb-13 17:36:17

ooooh lucky having a lion suit already!

superstarheartbreaker Sun 24-Feb-13 17:38:24

It's not just dress up day though is it? We have Easter hat and easter egg competitions; quite cute and I like making Easter bonnets but not everyone has time.

thefirstmrsrochester Sun 24-Feb-13 17:48:20

At dress up comps at ds primary it's the same kids without fail (multiple kids in each family) who win the fancy dress. Every time. Whilst there is no denying the costumes are great, why should the child get awarded the prize for the time, money & inclination their folks had to take costume making to the next level?
Ds school had a 'build a model of a famous building' comp. P4. Some kids did the Lego or shoe box thing, the dd of an architect did a full on scaled down model of the Brandenburg gate. She won. Errrr.....the mum won.

exoticfruits Sun 24-Feb-13 18:25:20

The children are supposed to make the hats and decorated eggs! Give them the materials and keep out of the way.

YANBU but I tend to cheat as much as I can. We have done Charlie Bucket (old slightly small clothes maybe with a scrap of fabric, roughly sewn on as a patch - only hand made thing is a piece of gold card with the invitation on it which took 10 minutes) and this time for WBD DS2 wants to go as Percy Jackson. He can wear an orange t-shirt, black hoodie and black jeans and the only thing I am going to make is the lightening bolt out of a large bit of cardboard and some tin foil. If I can find a character who wears normal clothes which you can just add some identifying accessory that seems the easiet thing. It also means that those reluctant to dress up don't have to do anything outrageous.

I really really dislike children who dress up as cartoon characters - spiderman, batman, Ben10 or various disney princesses. Not in the spirit of WBD for a start. I know princesses come from fairy stories once upon a time (if you'll pardon the pun) but the disney-fication of them annoys me. Spiderman and batman are not even fairy stories. I do get that if you don't have much time it is easy to dig out something you already have but it does make a mockery of what they are trying to achieve.

Thankfully we seem to be down to one a year. We have had Greek and Roman days but the teachers have built up a stash of sheets so you don't even have to supply one of those any more.

IfNotNowThenWhen Sun 24-Feb-13 18:54:38

YANBU. I hate them too, and I do sew, and do have a big bag of old bits and fabric.
However, it always ends up being "wear red" (ds owns precisely nothing red) or "wear some kind of national dress from...Malawi. Or Tonga."
I can't get a 6.5 year old boy to wear half the stuff I think might work, and he refuses to wear anything on his head. Or have his face painted. Ever.
Also, I have no car and no money AT ALL for extras, so end up trawling the local charity shops, which have already been picked clean by other parents (who are we kidding-other mothers.)
I don't mind Xmas play stuff because I am sort of geared up for that, and already have bits I can adapt, and sitting sewing on a december night makes me feel festive, but 3/4 times a year is taking the piss.
And I only have one child. If I had 3 and worked full time I would be raging.

I think ds will be going as Horrid Henry for WBD. Stripey top (check) messy hair(check).

PrideOfChanur Sun 24-Feb-13 19:32:28

My extensive research for Egyptian day taught me that Egyptian children were naked till past whatever age DD was at the time....
But in October,in England? Though actually it was a freezing day and it was hard to modify the basic sheet tunic thing to ward off hypothermia.

gazzalw Sun 24-Feb-13 19:41:17

We try to go with persuading DD to wear something that we can accommodate from her extensive dressing up box but it doesn't always work. This year she bought (with her own savings) an Alice-in-Wonderland costume and DW has customized it by making her a cute, home-made, felt bag incorporating some of the pack-of-cards design elements and possibly as an add-on a small cuddly white rabbit and a fob-watch....

As SIL once said "it's relentless" and it sooner have you done and dusted one round of dress-up activity than it's time for the next and more often than it it does involve buying something.

SamuelAndOscarsMummy Sun 24-Feb-13 20:22:52

My boys aren't school age yet, oldest is at nursery and the only dress up day they had was halloween and it wasn't compulsory although he did go as a pumpkin & looked really cute smile

Where on earth would you even get a tudor/victorian costume?! World book day might be fun and fairly easy but whilst I am fairly creative in the sense of ideas I cannot sew and would have no idea where to start making them look like tudors or something like that! bloody ridiculous, if this is what school is like nowadays I dread them going!

nickelbabe Sun 24-Feb-13 21:41:11

victorian costumes are the easiest of the lot.
for boys, a pair of too small trousers, old shirt. they do need a hat, and probably a jacket, but if you don't have one, then a square of black fabric knotted at the corners will do and no jacket you can be poorer and let him wear a scarf. they can wear their school shoeswith no socks (or old holey socks) and cover them in a bit of dirt for authenticity.

nickelbabe Sun 24-Feb-13 21:43:07

I always start by googling a pictureof the person/creature and go from there.
I think "can I do that with stuff I already have? can I make accessories from card or craft stuff? do I need to sew sonething?"

nickelbabe Sun 24-Feb-13 21:43:41
nickelbabe Sun 24-Feb-13 21:54:05

ha! tudor children! dd can use choir robes - the ruffs would be perfect for a tudor costume!

LahleeMooloo Mon 25-Feb-13 09:07:36

Victorian day was tough! Ds only has modern brightly coloured shirts, only hats are caps and only trousers skinny jeans! So we didn't bother!

MariusEarlobe Mon 25-Feb-13 14:20:09


Reminds of the dd s olds school, the boy who won was very well off and last year had a huge inflatable professional costume (think the type mascots for football and big businesses wear), mum was whinging how much it cost (100s)
He won every year, made a mockery of it all and put the dampeners on for the other kids who knew they stood no chance.

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