Please help me avoid last-minute costume panic - let's make a list!(25 Posts)
DS1 is starting Reception in September, and I've already been caught out during his time in pre-school by things like World Book Day. My sewing skills are pretty much non-existent, and I know the school he's likely to go to doesn't give much advanced notice of dressing up days. So, I thought it would be helpful to do what I love best (other than having a glass of wine in front of the telly) and MAKE A LIST!
So, wise mummies and daddies of school-age children, could you please give me your lists of all the costumes likely to be needed during the school year (plus any tips of how to compile the necessary bits on the cheap)? Thank you xx
Plain coloured tshirts - red, blue, yellow etc.
A cape that can be a king, a wizard, a superhero and all sorts.
Just take out Amazon Prime... seriously.
So far this year across the school that I can remember we've had:
Favourite animal (translation: animal you could cobble together from the dressing up box)
Pyjamas with your fave teddy (in the middle of the sodding coldest week in winter)
For various years' curriculum linked days.
Then whole school we've had
Another sodding PJ day
Green for St Patricks
Blue for St Andrews
Red and white for St George is coming up
World Book Day (watch out buying ahead for this - lots of schools are theming it to add to the pain)
It is doing the school gate parents' collective head in!
We had a simple white tunic. My children wore it for the following events:
A Midsummer Night's Dream (ancient Athens)
We also had a browny-grey tunic that was originally part of an Anakin Skywalker costume. This worked for:
Book day (Frodo / Bilbo)
Celtic Harmony Camp
Tunics are good because the same tunic will fit children from age 5ish to 12ish.
World Book Day will be in Feb/March so think of something for that.
Superhero days are not uncommon so think of either a comic book superhero or a real life one, eg nurse, firefighter, mummy.
Other than that there's no real way of knowing so aim for some versatile stuff like capes, hats etc. that you can just keep in a box for dressing up at home as well as school.
Things like random bits of fake fur! I remember a bit doing various animal/Celtic/Viking etc days when I was younger.
Coloured paper and stickers and a stapler - make all sorts of crowns and helmets.
Plain black/grey/brown clothes (or non-plain turned inside out!) for being animals in the Nativity.
Circle stickers for Wear Something Spotty for Children in Need. Sports top for Wear a Number for the NSPCC, or just make badge with above paper and a safety pin.
Brown t shirt and leggings for being animals; Where The Wild Things Are, Owl Babies, Gruffalo .
Green t and leggings for st Patrick's day- it's big where we are.
Yellow t and leggings for Easter or for other animals.
Red for Red Nose Day.
Get the t shirts in as large a size as you can and they will do for years.
A large white t shirt and fabric pens for when all else fails.
Plain tee shirts / leggings in white/brown/black
Plain tee shirts primary colours.
Don't put them aside just in case though, let them wear them before they get outgrown.
a metre of dark cord to use as a belt or similar
Then look out in charity shops for caps, waistcoats, old school shirts/shorts/skirts that can be ragged/cut into a cape.
I get bags of hand me downs from my friend. I always keep all the leggings and it has proved extremely useful over the years, also plain Tshirts, and big sizes are great.
It is worth buying a couple of packets of £2 pe T shirts 3 sizes too big at the beginning of the year. And a pack of coloured marker pens. Then you can grab a T shirt and decorate.
Most things though you can't plan in advance. So, children in need, one year it is wear PJs the next year it is wear spots.
Then the random ones - come in a colour from the Indian flag, sounds easy but how many bright orange and bright green items do you own? I sorted book day costume over half term, only to get a letter announcing year 4 had a Michael Morpurgo theme. (how do you even dress as something from a MIchael Morpurgo book??)
Facepaint adds wonders, unitl you discover it gives them a rash.
A3 pad of paper and a set of decent paints works well if you are handy. Red and white stripes made into a hat and a white paper bib pinned to a black T sirt and we had a very effective cat in a hat.
I keep a large bag of useful bits, which can be cut inot a cape, tunic etc. Especially useful are things like brown or animal print.
I'll never forget the time we were given 24 hours to make Roman togas for 3 children.
When I complained I was given a puzzled look - let him make his own (aged 8) and 'just use an old sheet' Right. Yes, because 1. none of my sheets are white. and 2. none of my sheets are old I actually USE them all!
things whihc are bound to be used at least once
flat cap/mob cap
In addition to the costume stuff (btw, a no sew tunic can be made with a big rectangle of fabric and sticky velcro dots and a belt), I'd recommend getting a glue gun, pack of coloured foam sheets from Hobbycraft, and some craft wire.
You'd be amazed what you can make with these, and when required to help make 'an innovative santa sleigh' or 'model olympic mascot' it'll save a huge amount of swearing
Superheros - any cape with colour-coordinated leggings/T-shirt.
Plain T-shirts in primary colours/bright colours - Amazon sells Fruit of the loom for around 2-3 quid, great quality and good back-up for everything.
Pink day, red nose day, spotty day - see T-shirts above
Book day - I try to get DD to tell me her wishes at least a month ahead and then the school comes up with a theme. Argh. For KS1 and Reception good fall-back costumes are Disney princess (most are based on a real fairy story or your child has at least a book with a princess in it). Halloween witch costumes are also handy for Winnie the Witch or similar book.
Anglo Saxon - plain men's T-shirt in white/brown/grey with brown/grey leggings and boots. Simple belt or plaid a rope to keep the T-shirt in place. Alternatively grey long skirt.
Ancient Eqypt/Greece/Roman - will all work with a simple tunic.
Vikings - see Anglo Saxon
borrow/beg/steal if you have colleagues/friends with older children.
Amazon Prime as some things will come with a last minute warning.
Keep everything you use in a box, as lots can be reused. More useful have been:
1. A shop bought Mr Men outfit that was adapted and used as a fox, a pumpkin and a sweet.
2. An old brown waistcoat from a charity shop (Great Fire of London Day, Victorian Day, various urchin type costumes).
3. London white oversized t-shirts which can be used as tunics for anything Greek, Roman, Egyptian etc.
Rather than planning ahead, best to be ready to think on your feet and improvise. The absolute most important thing is to have a diary or calendar with you at all times. Whenever you get an email or letter from school, open it straightaway, PUT THE DATE IN YOUR DIARY, then put the letter/email somewhere safe.
You NEED to make friends with a mum a year above (if they don't pass costumes down, find another mum!). Oh, and Freecycle/Freegle or a local Facebook group if you have one.
I'm not sure if they are in the girl's section, but H&M do pairs of T shirts (one black one white) in long and short sleeves. Goodness knows how many of these I have bought over the years for animal costumes and stuff.
Yes to a glue gun, we got a cheap one from Tiger and it is SO useful.
So far we've had:
Harry Potter characters
1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's
Jubilee outfits - red white and blue
...and prob many I've forgotten.
Best tip is eBay... and shopping ahead before the last minute rush.
They mix it up, just so that you can't predict it. This year our World Book Day was neither on World Book Day, nor dressing up as a character fro a book. I had got all organised, and had to re-think over a weekend.
There are eBay sellers that do leggings and t-shirts in all colours of the rainbow first class delivery. Bookmark these, and use them as necessary. Works for sports day (suddenly need a t-shirt in house colours), drama (must have black long sleeved top and leggings) and the base of pretty much any costume.
Just keep an eye out now in charity shops for any kids dress up stuff too- a princess dress, fairy wings, fireman helmet, waist coat. If it's cheap grab it and store it. Doesn't need to be a whole costume just part that can help towards anything
I used to get stuff from charity shops when my kids were younger, for various Roman/Saxon/ Egyptian/WWII/Victorian days.
T-shirts in primary colours are useful, as are spots and stripes. Best of all - large white man's t shirt and a variety of belts/ties can be used for multiple costume days!
You really don't need to go to the trouble of buying specific costumes, it's just a bit of fun pretending for a few hours.
I was lucky enough to have a friend with a son in the year above. We got all his costumes so eg. when year 3 did Tudors we had his tudor outfit, when year 4 did Victorian day we had his Victorian outfit too.
Another thing is probably look out for any dotty socks or tee shirts for things like Comic Relief or Children in Need because you see them except when you need them!!
We had angel day, roman day and Greek day in one school year (year 3 I think). One large white sheet came in very handy!
We just have book day.
But I find a mans large white t shirt comes in handy. I wouldn't buy other stuff I may never need.
At least school put our World Book Day a week after everyone else's so we could buy reduced costumes in the shops!
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