Primary schools and dressing up days: WHEN DOES IT END?

(62 Posts)
NearlyEverything Mon 11-Feb-13 20:59:39

OK, please talk to me about the benefits of endless farking dressing up days before I buy a tomato costume and hurl myself at the headteacher.

DS1 (Y5) has to go in as a piece of fruit or veg on Friday. Because it's UNICEF day hmm

DS2 (Y3) has to do some World Book Day nonsense, also on Friday.

Neither of them own any dressing-up clothes. They have jeans, tracksuits, and various dun-coloured tops.

Whywhywhy do schools do this so often? Does it have any actual educational/pastoral benefits at all?

All it seems to involve is me shelling out stupid sums for nonsense nylon rubbish from Amazon twice a term. The boys are just not bothered about the whole thing.

And no I'm not going to make something. I'm a single parent, I work f/t and I can no more sew an outfit than I can split an atom <cack-handed>

Is this stuff easier if you have girls?

mrz Mon 11-Feb-13 21:03:07

It's easier if they attend a school that doesn't ask children to dress as fruit or veg hmm

NearlyEverything Mon 11-Feb-13 21:04:03

I know <sobs>

I could just send him in in uniform but it seems so pass-agg...

lopsided Mon 11-Feb-13 21:06:44

Wow that is crap. I don't think dressing a boy or a girl as a fruit would be easy.

Dress them in stuff that is too small or very old-fashioned and say they have come as a lemon.

toomuchicecream Mon 11-Feb-13 21:08:05

Red England football kit (or Liverpool, Manu, Scum etc) and say they're a tomato.

Numberlock Mon 11-Feb-13 21:09:22

I feel your pain OP. Thankfully mine are way past this but I can well remember finding a crumpled letter at the bottom of a book bag saying they had to go dressed as a Roman or whatever the following day! grin

mrz Mon 11-Feb-13 21:09:24

green tracksuit - cucumber
brown tracksuit - potato
red tracksuit - rhubarb

NearlyEverything Mon 11-Feb-13 21:09:56

grin lopsided

No football kits at all here although that would have been a great idea if we had some

Seriously though - why do schools do this? Does it reinforce learning or something?

pepperrabbit Mon 11-Feb-13 21:11:31

You can achieve a surprising amount with a pirate costume (stripey top and a palin black tracksuit bottoms) and a value Argos pillowcase.
I have 2 boys, and regularly despair.
Brown - roman soldier tunic (cut armholes)
Red - tomato (cutting armholes may weaken the authenticity but would allow more movement grin).

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 11-Feb-13 21:12:19

Parents complained when our school briefly stopped it as the children love it so much.

I just throw something together from the lift but dd dances and I run a theatre school so I do usually have something.

Svrider Mon 11-Feb-13 21:13:07

Can you buy a Tshirt transfere?
They were packs of 4 in pound shop the other day
Down load appropriate Picture and iron on

NearlyEverything Mon 11-Feb-13 21:16:37

Haha, you're all marvellous but we seriously have only the following to choose from:

grey/navy tracksuits
Blue jeans
Brown/green/occasionally red tops

Am loving the pillow case idea though...

lopsided Mon 11-Feb-13 21:17:06

If your lad is confident buy a button hole rose and a box of chocs and dress him smart.

He can come as a date!

lopsided Mon 11-Feb-13 21:18:13

You might even get to eat the chocs!

scaevola Mon 11-Feb-13 21:19:33

Send them in as the annoying apple - with loud soundtrack on loop. That'll larn' em!

NearlyEverything Mon 11-Feb-13 21:20:45

Transfer idea is v good too but am working flat-out between now and Friday (sorry, I know I'm being difficult. And I knew about this before the weekend and should really have sorted it then...)

Anyway, I'm taking the resounding silence on the educational benefits as conclusive proof that THERE ARE NONE and I'm printing this thread out as proof grin

NearlyEverything Mon 11-Feb-13 21:21:27

ooooh scaevola, they love Annoying Orange...

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 11-Feb-13 21:21:28

Fruit or veg is loopy. Oddly enough ds would be ok on that one. It's his birthday today and he loves his new annoying orange t shirt with pear & midget apple.

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 11-Feb-13 21:23:06

As well as the official annoying orange t shirt Asda also had a sort if knock off t shirt with bananas and other fruit on. They were £4. Official one I think was £6

Roseformeplease Mon 11-Feb-13 21:23:53

I had a friend who went as a parsnip. She wore a dog collar (parson) and went round trying to bite people. Can be done out of a bit of cardboard.

NearlyEverything Mon 11-Feb-13 21:26:42

Aaargh, ASDA. Desperately trying to think where the nearest one is.

I salute those of you with children willing to engage in wordplay/costume combos. My eldest is a bit too Kevin the not-quite Teenager for that.

Meglet Mon 11-Feb-13 21:27:21

I can't stand them. I always have to go out and buy stuff new or bits from charity shops for them.

You can't fashion a victorian urchin costume from a dinosaur long-sleeved t-shirt and indigo jeans.

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 11-Feb-13 21:29:48

I was once at a princess party where one mum had made a fab regal dress out of an adult skirt. Was so jealous at her creativity. It was all pinned rather than sewn too.

NearlyEverything Mon 11-Feb-13 21:30:00

Ohh. Pictures, you're a genius

Still involves me shelling out the ££ but at least it's something he'll wear again

God I love MN

NearlyEverything Mon 11-Feb-13 21:30:41

'You can't fashion a victorian urchin costume from a dinosaur long-sleeved t-shirt and indigo jeans.'

I'm putting this on the family crest

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 11-Feb-13 21:31:19

Ds loves his. He didn't know they were available in this country yet so it was a huge surprise.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Mon 11-Feb-13 21:34:09

YY. I'm lazy and buy stuff on eBay. Not the cheap or quick option though.

dollybird Mon 11-Feb-13 21:35:47

I hate them too. In infants they used to have international day once a term and mostly I made a badge with the country's flag on it or wore a t-shirt in one of the flag colours. I have resorted to Amazon for the Victorian costume which DS has worn and DD will wear for both Tudor and Victorian day (look them up, they're the same bloody costume!!), so three for the price of one grin

I think dressing up for the theme days can be educational as they sometimes do acting the part and stuff (mine go to Manor Farm from the TV in their victorian costumes), but dressing as a bit of fruit or veg - wtf??

NearlyEverything Mon 11-Feb-13 21:38:12

haha at Tudor and Victorian being the same. Is that the brown trouser/white jerkin/red necktie combo in fetching, highly flammable bri-nylon? I've got one of those...

dollybird Mon 11-Feb-13 21:42:22

very similar to that. The knickerbocker things (DS NOT happy at me calling them that!) are actually see-through, so I had to advise to wear dark colour underwear! Am glad DD is a tomboy so is happy to wear it rather than have to buy some fancy dress

dollybird Mon 11-Feb-13 21:42:48

and by that I mean a dress which is fancy!

SmileAndPeopleSmileWithYou Mon 11-Feb-13 21:48:34

To answer the question about educational benefit... it depends what the school are doing. It doesn't sound like dressing as veg for UNICEF is educational apart from raising awareness etc. and that could be done in other ways.

If it is for a trip (my class go on a trip dressed as Victorian servants) then it can be VERY educational as it is about role play. Most children love this experience.

However, I do think it is unreasonable to expect parents to continually do this. We usually do a whole school dress up day for world book day each year. It is not compulsory and many children decorate tshirts with a book theme and come in those.
The Victorian outfit really does need to be worn to get the most out of the trip, but we offer help to parents. I have some costumes in my classroom to lend to children and parents from previous years have offered to loan or donate their child's costume after it has been used. We always provide for the children who do not have one for whatever reason and we would buy 30 if all the parents said they didn't have anything.
Schools should not expect it at all.

NearlyEverything Mon 11-Feb-13 21:56:43

Thank you Smile. Both DSs did very much enjoy Victorian shenanigans.

Mspontipine Mon 11-Feb-13 21:59:08

A load of purple or green balloons - be a bunch of grapes?

Fuzzymum1 Mon 11-Feb-13 21:59:31

Son1 had a non-uniform day when he was in sixth form. The rest of the school went in their own clothes but the sixth form had to do fancy dress as they wore their own clothes every day. They had a theme of things beginning with T - he went as a Turd - complete with cardboard sweetcorn and knitted flies on wires.

This thread is making me very thankful to DS' school. Rather than dress up they have Charity Crazy Socks Day. Pretty self-explanatory and a lot less hassle. grin

NearlyEverything Mon 11-Feb-13 22:01:40

Blimey mspontipine, that is genius

Shellington Mon 11-Feb-13 22:02:00

"go as a date"
love it.

NearlyEverything Mon 11-Feb-13 22:03:15

Ach, I dream of Charity Crazy Socks Day

NearlyEverything Mon 11-Feb-13 22:04:00

Although if it happens, you'll probably find me starting a thread saying 'we only have grey socks, black socks and blue socks' etc

MariusEarlobe Mon 11-Feb-13 22:08:22

Wtf at dressing as a vegetable.

Mines had Chinese day, Victorian day, world book day letters in last two weeks and is year 5

Dromedary Mon 11-Feb-13 22:11:59

We were told they could just be food coloured - purple and green we decided was an aubergine.

Book day - anything at all you can cadge will fit into a book somewhere.

But you're right - it's a real pain, constant excuse to demand money from parents. One time they did it 2 weeks running, complaining that parents hadn't given enough money to charity the first time round. And probably a throw back to the times when mums didn't work (our head still thinks mums don't have real jobs and told me off for not attending an in school day event once - I had to explain in words of one syllable that I was at work).


Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 11-Feb-13 22:12:14

Can you use the victorian outfit for DS2? Have they got to go as a literary character?

He could be Oliver - victorian costume plus empty bowl. Or if he won't carry a bowl make a sign to hang round his neck saying 'More'.

Or send him in slightly small clothes, buy a pair of toy glasses and he can be Harry Potter.
Slightly small clothes with a bar of chocolate in his back pocket - Charlie Bucket.

You will think of something smile

christinarossetti Mon 11-Feb-13 22:16:24

Matilda is just ordinary clothes carrying a copy of 'Great Expectations' isn't she?

Even in year 7 it doesn't necessarily stop. Dd had 2 dressing up things.
And I have to be a Viking soon at work <sigh>

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Mon 11-Feb-13 22:19:55

My dd1 started senior school, phew you would think
But NO - book week and Tudor day

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 11-Feb-13 22:31:00

Lol at Matilda.

Dd's uniform is very very similar to the costumes on the West End. So much so I'm collecting old blazers to use in a dance show in The summer.

christinarossetti Tue 12-Feb-13 07:09:46

Why lol at Matilda? (Sorry for thread hijack, but it just crossed my mind whilst pondering how I'd dress the dc up as fruit or veg).

This is to be dd's minimalist effort for World Book Day - it's okay isn't it?

BooksandaCuppa Tue 12-Feb-13 07:17:15

Never had dress up days at ds primary. Non school uniform about once a year (usually children in need) and that was it. What a great school!

(I rather suspect his senior school do do World Book Day though...)

Suffolkgirl1 Tue 12-Feb-13 08:17:47

Do you have a plastic sand bucket and a toy dinosaur?

If so send in normal clothes with the above - Harry and his bucketful of dinosaurs.

It doesn't improve - my year 8 has to go on Thursday as something beginning with V

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 12-Feb-13 09:44:52

Sorry bit of an in joke. It's lol because dd's obsessed by Matilda and the west end show and I'm collecting her schools outgrown blazers for a Matilda themed dance.

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 12-Feb-13 09:51:04

newgirl Tue 12-Feb-13 09:56:27

this is what charity shops are for - they are full of everyone's stuff from the previous years.

TomArchersSausage Tue 12-Feb-13 10:01:57

My dts are now in yr 6. I believe it stops when they go to secondary school as ds1 (now yr11) has never been expected to dress up. But yes, all told I've had years of thishmm and I won't be sorry to see an end to it because it's driven me half barmy.

I honestly can see no reason for the constant default for every topic, (no matter how abstract: ie maths fgs) that they've ever covered to encompass dressing up. It's complete madness.

Victorian day: I thought I at least had that covered when dd announced at 8.15 as I was zipping up their packed lunch bags that 'we have to have a Victorian lunch mummy. A hot potato wrapped in straw and paper the teacher said'.

I nearly provided said hot potato with instructions on where they could stick it.

thegreylady Tue 12-Feb-13 10:02:35

Verruca Salt

TomArchersSausage Tue 12-Feb-13 10:15:32

And it's all very well coming up with easier ideas sensibly using what you've already got for things like World Book Day, but dc have much more ambitious and greater expectations as to what they'll go as.

So then you either have to crush all that and send them off with a long face dressed only in their uniform as Just William, or you're trawling Ebay, hitting the shops and up till 2am trying to make a Giant Peach outfit.

I must admit dd made a wonderful Slinky Malinky one year. She skipped in looking happy at least, but came out in tears. 'I couldn't get my costume off to go to the toilet'. Aaagh!

Best suggestion I heard of was to go as Where's Wally and stay at homewink

MERLYPUSS Tue 12-Feb-13 10:53:38

I think a lot of it is to do with conning you out of a couple of quid each week although I can see the benefit of dressing accordingly for the ragged school vistit etc.

Get an x-large t-shirt. Colour a paper plate green and cut the rim so it looks like a leaf or stalk. Wear plate on head. Run elastic through the hem of the t-shirt and wear it hip length. You could be a peach/orange/apple/kiwi etc.
If you have a brown t-shirt make eyes from round white stickers with pupils drawn on.

I always buy polo shirts when they are in the sainsburys sale in the largest size possible. They do yellow, bottle green, red and navy here along with white and pale blue. The bottle green ones are great for robin hood and peter pan if it covers their bum. Pulled in with a belt and a tin foil sword works well. They can go down to about £1 each at the end of the sale. I also find that the larger ones are generally available as big kid noramlly wear shirts not polos.

You wait. Comic relief soon.......

eviekingston Tue 12-Feb-13 12:00:02

You think you've got it bad? Not only do I have to find creative and inspired costumes for DS, I have to flipping dress MYSELF up too (reception teacher). But not as a fruit or vegetable (yet)....

TomArchersSausage Tue 12-Feb-13 16:25:36

Oh dear lord dd has just told there's ANOTHER one coming up. We've only just had onehmm

Please stop with the feckin dressing upconfused I've had 10 years of it.

Samnella Tue 12-Feb-13 20:55:49

I hate them too. I am sure the teachers just do it to get there own back for all those whingey parents moaning how Godfrey is not a genius. They probably all sit in the staff room coming up with ever more ridiculous themes just to piss us off. Either that or they all have shares in Amazon. grin

Verugal Tue 12-Feb-13 22:05:26

All of the kids' fancy dress outfits. Are made from tesco value pillowcases. Three quid for two
I cat armholes and a headhole and draw on thevfront with Sharpie marker
They have been Romans and Vikings and kings and knights and pirates and trolls and candles. I hate fancy dress and soon the eldest will be too night to wear a pillowcase. I may have to buy sheets

NearlyEverything Wed 13-Feb-13 10:07:37

Thanks for all the genius suggestions and cathartic sympathising. DS1's Annoying Orange shirt arrived today so that's us sorted.

TomArchersSausage - the DS's infant school used to demand home-made hats for everything. The most vexing was the annual Maths Hat for maths day. maths hat hmm

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