student section themes

120+ Theme Ideas for your Cheer Block and School Spirit Days

Themed dress up days are a great way to bring extra excitement to games and school days. However, between homecoming week dress up days and student section themes for multiple sports, it is easy to get stuck in a rut reusing the same themes over and over. To help spark some new ideas, I’ve compiled this list of over 120 theme ideas for your next spirit day or game.

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When picking your spirit week themes and cheer block themes, there are several factors to consider to get the most participation. Here are some tips to get more of the student body involved in dress up days:

Effort: Themes that do not require a lot of planning or thought are easier for students to participate in. Everyone is so busy that having to scour the internet and thrift stores for hours for ideas for multiple different themes can lead some students to just not participate.

Cost: You should also consider the cost to participate in the themes. There are many spirit day themes that can be accomplished either with items that most students would have at home or with accessories that can be bought at a dollar store. This is not to say that you should never do an elaborate theme, but make sure the majority of your themes are affordable. When strategizing all of your school’s themes for the year, also explore ideas where students can reuse elements of one theme for another.

Relevance/Popularity: Pick themes that are interesting to a majority of students. There will never be a theme that EVERYONE loves, but avoid themes that are too niche. For example, I saw a school that did a “Stranger Things” dress up day. As a huge “Stranger Things” fan, I would have LOVED that theme; however, it is not quite a popular enough show to get everyone involved (unlike something like Stars Wars or Harry Potter that are very widely known.)

Awareness: Make sure the student body knows about themes well in advance. Once the themes are determined, it is time to share, share, share. Create a flyer and share via social media, school news, post them around the school, etc.

Photo Credit: Auburn High School

There are also a few things to keep in mind as far as spirit themes to avoid.

While many themes involve dressing as a specific group of people in good fun (for example, soccer moms or senior citizens), you want to make sure that it stays that way and doesn’t become offensive. In researching for this post, I came across a handful of themes that are a little (or very) insensitive such as “Hobos vs. Businessmen,” “Vietnam”, and “Cowboys vs. Indians.”

Be considerate of the environmental impact of your themes. Again, choosing themes that can be accomplished with items students already own, supplemented by just a few accessories, or themes that have some overlap to reuse pieces are a great way to minimize our impact.

Think about your school dress code. Some themes may be better suited for the school day, while others may work better for a student section theme for a game. Depending on your school’s dress code, some themes may unfortunately be totally out of the question.

football game themes
Photo Credit: Unknown

Now let’s get to it! Here are over 120 ideas for your next cheer block theme or school dress up day!

1 | (Your School Color) Out – Pick just one of your school colors and go all out. My school’s colors are red, white, and blue, but when we went to state for football, we did a blue out because “blue is the color of first.” (It worked – 3 years in a row! 😉 )

2 | 2000s – Whether they choose to go the early 2000s route (butterfly clips, Von Dutch and newsboy hats, dresses over jeans, velour tracksuits) or the later aughts (layered tanks, skinny jeans with uggs, a classic Hollister or Aeropostale sweatshirt), low-rise jeans will be a must! Hard to believe it is time for the 2000s to be included in theme days!

3 | 70s/Hippie – Bell bottoms, flower crowns, tie dye, and peace signs; 70s day is always a fun one!

4 | 80s – Bust out the scrunchies, leg warmers and teasing comb! Bright colors and fun patterns abound for 80s day.

5 90s – Another theme with lots of options – will you go the grunge route and rock a Nirvana tee? A Clueless or Spice Girls inspired fit? 90s is a great option for a dress up because so many of those trends have cycled back and many students will have pieces in their closet already – mom jeans, a sundress over a baby tee, band tees, etc.

6 | Adam Sandler – America’s dad has become a popular student section theme in recent years. Many students can raid their parent or older sibling’s closet for an oversized tee or short-sleeve button up and basketball shorts, or take one step further and dress as your favorite Adam Sandler character.

7 | Album Cover – Students dress as a favorite or iconic album cover. This can be super simple (think a white tee, jeans, and a red baseball cap for Bruce Springsteen’s iconic “Born in the USA” cover, or stickers all over your face and a white tank top for Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour”) or students can get as creative as they want.

8 | Anime – This theme is a little more non-traditional, but may reach some students who don’t typically participate in theme days.

9 | Anything But a Backpack – Anything but a backpack day is more for a school day theme rather than a game theme, but is another one that is easy for all students to participate in. The task is simple – students raid their house to find the most creative and unconventional items to carry their books to school.

homecoming week spirit day anything but a backpack theme
Students at El Dorado High School participate in "Anything but a Backpack Day" Photo Credit: Placentia-Yorba Linda USD

10 | Athletes vs. Mathletes – A spirit day theme that allows options, students can dress either as an athlete or as a mathlete.

11 | Backwards – One of the easiest spirit day themes to allow everyone to participate, students just have to wear their regular clothes backwards.

12 | Beach/Tropical – This one is a staple for many schools because it is just so fun. Goodwill often has lots of tropical print shirts for just a few dollars, and because this theme is often used every year, students will get multiple uses out of props and clothes that they buy for this theme.

13 | Bejeweled – Make the whole cheer block SHIMMER! Students can come decked out in clothes that sparkle and shine – think metallics, sequins, rhinestones, and (well-secured!) glitter.

14 | Bikers – A black tee and bandana are all that is needed to participate in this theme, but for students who have a leather jacket, denim vest, or motorcycle brand clothing, they can take it to the next level. 

15 | Bikers vs Surfers – A fun contrasting theme, students can choose to dress in the biker theme or in their beachy surfer gear.

16 | Black out – Another classic spirit day theme because it is so easy to participate in. Dress in as much black as you want, whether that is just a black shirt or all black from head to toe.

Photo Credit: Will Madsen, Lake Zurich High School

17 | Black & White – A new take on the typical black out or white out themes, students will channel their inner Cruella De Vil and dress in just white and black. Whether that is stripes (like a referee tee), houndstooth, cow print, or colorblocked, there are lots of ways to get creative with this one

18 | Camo (Hunting Themed) – It can be helpful to specify when doing a camo theme whether it is a hunting themed camo (with neon orange accents) or a military themed camo (with black/warpaint accents). If you live in a rural community, hunting camo themes can be fun as many students (especially the boys) want to show off their best gear. We have had students show up to the cheer block in full ghillie suit before! Those that don’t have any RealTree or Mossy Oak gear, can easily participate with a safety-color tee.

19 |  Camo (Military Themed) – The other way to incorporate camo into a theme is to do a military theme. Again for students that don’t have camo, they can easily participate by wearing black and adding some facepaint.

20 | Camping – Bust out the hiking boots and Patagonia. So many outdoorsy brands have been trendy in the last 10-15 years that many students will have a way to participate in a camping theme. A bucket hat is also a must!

21 | Career – This spirit day theme allows students to show off their personality and goals by dressing as someone from their future career. The possibilities are endless – Scrubs, business suits, pro sports team jersey, police, firefighters. This one is great for all ages.

22 | Cartoon Character – Whether from movies, TV, or comics, there are lots of options to pick from for a cartoon character day. 

23 | Character – A little bit more open-ended, this character day can also include characters from books and live action movies and TV. Another theme with plenty of opportunity for everyone to participate within their interests and their means.

24 | Christmas Sweater – With the popularity of Christmas sweaters in the past decade or so, many people either have a Christmas Sweater or a family member that they can borrow one from. Bonus points for this theme if you use it during an unexpected time like an early fall football game.

25 | Circus – A circus spirit theme will take a little more effort but can be loads of fun. Students can dress up as a ringmaster, clown or mime, strongman, a traditional circus animal, or even a circus snack like popcorn or cotton candy.

26 | Class colors – Assign each grade level their own color and have everyone come decked out to represent their class. For an added buy-in, the pep club or admin can offer a prize to the class with the most participation.

class color football game theme
Assign each grade level their own color to create a cool visual in your cheer block! Photo Credit: Oswego High School

27 | Coachella – Channel the creative and bohemian vibes of the Coachella music festival (just be sure to remind students about dress code requirements for this one!). If using this as a spirit week dress up day theme, you can add to the music festival vibes by having musically talented students sign up to perform during lunch. 

28 | Construction – Construction is another incredibly popular spirit theme, especially for games because it is so visually fun to look at. Hard hats, safety vests, neon colors, and reflective stripes galore!

29 | Country Club – Polos, tennis skirts, Vineyard Vines apparel are a must for a preppy/country club theme day.

30 | Crazy Hat – This one doesn’t necessarily have to be “crazy” hat day – any type of hat will do and is another easy one for students of all ages and means to join in the fun with.

31 | Crazy Socks – Even for students that don’t have a pair of crazy socks on hand, dollar stores and Five Below often have really fun options for just a couple dollars.

32 | Crazy/Clashing Patterns – Plaid with polka dots, argyle with paisley, stripes with florals – the weirder the patterns the better. This spirit theme is easy for students to do with items they already have at home.

33 | Crocs and Crocodiles – If you ain’t Croc’-in, you ain’t rockin’! Students can wear their Crocs or dress like a crocodile. Students can even dress as Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, for an added layer of fun!

34 | Denim out – Students can channel their inner Britney and Justin to rock their best Canadian tuxedos.

35 | Disco Night – This theme overlaps a little with 70s day, but focuses more on the disco aspect of it. We are talking bell bottoms, bell sleeves, ruffles, and mini dresses!

36 | Disney – Another popular theme, Disney day gives students a chance to represent their favorite Disney movies and characters. With Disney now owning Stars Wars and Marvel, there are options for everyone to participate, whether they want to dress a character, wear a tee of their favorite movie, or want to dress in their Mickey ears as if they are visiting the parks.

37 | Dress like a Celebrity – Whether a singer, actor, sports star or even a Tik Tok-er, there are so many ways to get involved in dress like a celebrity day.

38 | Dress like a teacher/staff member – A great way for students to recognize their favorite teachers and school support staff (make sure everyone is participating in good fun and not making fun of anyone!).

39 | Duct Tape – This one is pretty involved in terms of time, effort, and supplies, but the results have the potential to be really fun by challenging students to create from scratch or upgrade clothes they already have with duct tape.

40 | Earth Day – An Earth day theme can be interpreted so many different ways – students can dress as a plant or animal, a conservationist, or could even make their own upcycled outfits.

41 | Emoji – Whether it’s the dancing twins, a big yellow thumbs up, or a poop emoji shirt, emoji day can be interpreted in many different ways.

student section dressed in all one color theme
Photo Credit: Scott Stuk, Arizona State University

42 | Extreme (Your School) Spirit – Go all out with the most festive and crazy combinations of items in your school colors. Think striped socks, a tutu, face/body paint, a wild wig, fun sunglasses, etc. More is more with this theme!

43 | Fan Gear – Everyone is fan of something. Students can go all out or just wear a tee for their favorite sports team, college, musician, and more.

44 | Fandom – Similar to fan gear, fandom day gives students a chance to show off their “fandoms”, be it Harry Potter, Marvel, Disney, Star Wars, etc.

45 | Favorite College – A simple and fun spirit day theme for all ages, college day has students wear something that represents their favorite college.

46 | Favorite School Subject – Students can get creative to show their favorite school subject – wearing their FFA official dress, show choir dress, marching band outfit, dressing as their favorite artist, wearing something to represent their foreign language of choice, dressing as a historical figure, or dressing as the teacher of their favorite subject.

47 | Favorite Season – Will students dress in their summer/beach attire, flannel, or full snowsuit? Everyone gets to choose their favorite season to represent.

48 | Fire & Ice – Another theme with choices, fire and ice asks students to dress either as something hot or something freezing cold, and this can be interpreted many different ways!

49 | Formal/Red Carpet – One of my personal favorite spirit themes, a formal or red carpet day is a great way to get extra use out of those prom and homecoming dresses sitting in the closet. Thrift stores often have old formal dresses for cheap, or students can borrow from friends or family.

50 | Frat – Check with your administration before selecting this theme, as some schools want to avoid the connotations of underage drinking and partying that often accompany frat themes. If your school gives a green light, there are lots of options to keep this theme fun and PG.

51 | Futuristic/Year 3000 – Year 3000 theme is another creative one, with room to explore fun makeup and hairstyles, and probably a lot of metallics.

52 | Galaxy/Out of this world – Keep those metallics on hand for a galaxy/out of this world spirit theme. This is a huge one at our school because our mascot is a “Star” and our cheer block is nicknamed “The Galaxy.” Space buns with glitter and metallic makeup are a must for this theme, and bringing some inflatable alien friends to the cheer block adds an extra layer of fun! For the Gen Z and Gen A kids who need some outfit inspiration, get on Disney+ and watch the Zenon movies – trust me!

students paticip[ate in an outer space galaxy night football game theme
Photo Credit: Me 🙂

53 | Game (Video or board) – Mario and Luigi, the Monopoly man, or full Dungeons and Dragons regalia, there are many ways to get involved in a games themed day.

54 | Generation Day – For this spirit day theme, each grade receives a different generation to dress as. Freshman dress as babies, sophomores as elementary kids and pre-teens, juniors dress as middle age and/or parents, and seniors dress a senior citizens.

55 | Gold Rush – There are a couple ways to do a gold theme. You can do a metallic gold out, or many schools will wear gold for a “Tackle Childhood Cancer” game in October.

56 | Great Gatsby – Make the most of these roarin’ 20s by throwing it back a century with a Great Gatsby/flapper theme.

57 | Grease – Leather jackets, poodle skirts, pink ladies jackets, Grease is a classic for a reason.

58 | Greek/Toga – As simple as grabbing a bedsheet and tying it properly, an ancient Greek theme can be fun.

59 | Groufit (grey out) – Another color that most students will have in their closet, a grey out or “groufit” day is a spirit theme that can get a lot of students involved.

60 | Halloween Costume – The sky is the limit for Halloween Costume dress up day. Just make sure to remind students of dress code expectations and costumes that might not be school-appropriate.

61 | Harry Potter – There are several fandoms that are so widespread that they can be used as a day in themselves. Harry Potter day is one of those. Students can dress as a character, in the colors of their “house”, or just in a Harry Potter tee.

62 | Heritage – This spirit day theme may not work for all schools, but if you live in a multicultural area, heritage day can be a great way for students to celebrate and share their unique culture.

63 | Heroes vs villains – Students can partner up with a friend to dress as famous foes, or they can simply choose to dress as their favorite hero or villain.

64 | Historical Figure – Students dress as any historical figure – founding fathers, artists, musicians, writers, scientists, and more!

65 | Holiday – This spirit day theme is fun because it gives everyone the ability to dress for any holiday based on what they have at home. Whether they have a Christmas sweater, an all-green getup, or patriotic gear, there’s nothing more festive than celebrating all of the holidays on the same day!

holiday spirit day theme
Photo Credit: Unknown

66 | Iconic Duos – Grab a partner and dress as an iconic duo – some fun ideas include Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy, Scooby and Shaggy, Batman and Robin, Thing One and Thing Two, Barbie and Ken, Buzz and Woody… the list goes on!

67 | Inside out – Another theme that everyone can participate in, inside out day is as easy as putting your clothes on inside out.

68 | Jersey – Students can rock any jersey, whether it is for their own sport or their favorite professional team.

69 | Kentucky Derby – One thing about me, I love any excuse to really go all out, and a Kentucky Derby theme is a great excuse. This is another one that may be a little tougher for some students to participate in (mostly on the girls’ side), but with a little bit of creativity, students can DIY a fun hat or fascinator to go with a sundress that they already own.

70 | Mardi Gras – Another holiday that would be fun to celebrate during a different time of year, students can wear purple, gold, green, and of course, lots of beads!

71 | Marvel – Avengers assemble! This spirit day theme allows students to rep their favorite Marvel characters.

72 | Masquerade – This theme will definitely need admin approval, since many schools have a strict “no masks” policy for theme days. If your school allows it however, a masquerade theme can get very creative!

73 | Mathletes – Whether the traditional “nerd” attire a la Steve Urkel or a hand me down cap and gown, there are several different ways to dress as a smarty pants.

74 | Meme – With new memes popping up every day, there is no limit to how creative students can get here.

75 | Mismatch – Mismatch day is another spirit day theme that is easy for everyone to participate in. Students only need to wear the most opposite colors/patterns/styles they can find in their closet.

76 | Musician – Another day for student to share their interests, this spirit theme encourages students to either dress as their favorite musician or wear swag with their musician on it.

77 | Neon Neon is a super popular cheer block theme, and I don’t think it will go away any time soon. Some variations combine neon with construction or with 80s, but no matter how your school dresses for neon day, it is sure to be fun and colorful!

neon student section theme
Photo Credit: April Gamiz, The Morning Call Newspaper. Saucon Valley High School

78 | Netflix – Another variation of a character dress up day, this time as a character from a Netflix show or movie.

79 | Olympic Sports – For this spirit theme, students are encouraged to dress for an Olympic sport. This can be as simple as some sweatbands and a ping pong paddle or as fancy as a bedazzled figure skating outfit. There are so many unique Olympic sports – just make sure any props don’t pose a safety hazard (no real archery arrows at school!)

80 | Onesie – Onesies are really having a moment in the last few years and there are so many fun styles to choose from. Many of them can likely be reused for other spirit themes as well, especially character days or pajama day.

onesies student section theme
Photo Credit: unknown

81 | Opposite Day – Opposite day can be open to interpretation. Students can dress in the opposite of their usual style, they can wear clothes inside or backwards, etc.

82 | Pajamas – PJ theme is another super popular theme, for many reasons. It is easy, everyone can participate in some way, and you get to be extra comfy at school or at the game.

83 | Pink out/Barbie – Pink out themes have always been popular for breast cancer awareness games in October; however, the release of the Barbie movie in 2023 led many schools to turn their pink out games into a Barbie theme instead.

84 | Pirates – Bust out the eye patches and gold hoop earrings! Pirate day may take a little more investment than some other themes, but if your school mascot is a pirate, you may be more likely to have some of these accessories already on hand.

85 | Plaid/Flannel – This theme is another easy one as plaid/flannels have been relatively in style since the 80s. For students who don’t have one, thrift stores often have lots of options.

86 | Polka Dots – This theme will have you seeing spots!

87 | Pool Party – Take this summery theme to the next level by wearing your goggles and floaties!

Photo Credit: Terre Haute North High School

88 | Rainbow – Whether students want to wear all of the colors at once or grab a group of friends and each wear one color, the hallways or cheer block will definitely be a color explosion.

89 | Rainy Day – Grab the rubber boots and raincoats. While umbrellas inside is not a good idea, this is another theme that would be fun outside during a sunny football game.

90 | Rhyme with no reason – A newer theme that has really gained popularity the last few years, rhyme with no reason encourages to grab a friend and get creative by dressing as two things that rhyme, but are not related in any way. Think James Bond & Legally Blonde, dairy & fairy, Hannah Montana & banana, dinosaur & Jersey Shore, etc.

91 | Rock ‘n’ roll – Channel your inner rockstar with this fun theme. Studded belt optional, larger than life persona required!

92 | Safari – With a safari theme, students can dress like they are on a safari with some khakis and binoculars, or they can even dress as a safari animal with the help of some patterned leggings and creative makeup.

93 | Scrabble – On this day, everyone wears a shirt with one big letter on it, and throughout the day/game, they can mix & match to create new words and phrases.

94 | Secret Agent Dark sunglasses are a must for a fun secret agent theme!

95 | Senior Citizens – Show some love to the older generation by dressing as senior citizens.

96 | Soccer moms & BBQ dads – From cargo shorts and New Bals, to black leggings and a puffer vest

97 | Space Cowboy/Cowgirl – A fun combination of the outer space and western theme, this spirit theme takes the best of both worlds. Cow print, boots, bandanas, and fringe, mixed with neon and metallics.

98 | St. Patrick’s Day – Bring the luck of the Irish to gameday by having a St. Patrick’s Day theme any time of year!

99 | Star Wars – Star wars is another fandom that is so popular, it can be a spirit theme all in itself. May the force be with your team!

100 | Stripes – Striped shirt, striped pants, or both, this one is also easy to DIY if you don’t already have a piece of striped clothing.

101 | Superhero – Dress as your favorite superhero or DIY a cape and make up your own!

102 | Tacky Tourist – Bring the vacation to school! Ideas can include a tropical shirt, fanny pack, socks with sandals, a bucket hat or Mickey Ears – have fun with it!

tacky tourist spirit day
Photo Credit: Unknown

103 | Tacky Sweater – Everyone loves a Christmas sweater, but this day opens it up to allllll kinds of fun and funky sweaters.

104 | Thrift Shop – This day doesn’t necessarily require a new shopping trip. Students can also raid their guardians’ closet for mismatched and outdated items.

105 | Throwback/Retro (Everyone chooses their own year) – Rather than limiting your throwback day to a single decade, a general throwback day gives everyone the chance to dress for any year/time period.

106 | Tie-Dye Tie dye theme doesn’t always have to be connected with a 70s theme. A general tie dye day is easier for more students to participate in.

107 | Tutus & Tiaras – You may be surprised how willing the guys are to participate in this one!

108 | Twin with a friend – Grab a friend (or a group as big as you want!) and match however you want!

109 | Under the Sea – Bring your snorkel and flippers or dress as an undersea creature (real or mythical), a nautical-themed day can spark creativity.

110 | USA – For my school, this theme is every day (our colors are red, white and blue and our mascot is a Star), but it always fun to represent the stars and stripes!

USA Patriotic student section spirit day theme
Photo Credit: Unkown

111 | Valentines – Red, white, pink, and lots of hearts, this theme would be great if you happen to have a basketball game fall on Valentine’s Day. If you don’t have game on February 14th, don’t be afraid to celebrate this theme in a different month just for the fun of it.

112 | Vampires – A semi-spooky theme, that can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. Dress in all black, grab some 25 cent plastic fangs, a little makeup, and possibly a cape. (Though if someone in your school chooses the Twilight “This-is-the-skin-of-a-killer-Bella” route, PLEASE tag me!)

113 | Vikings – Hear me out! I saw a school that absolutely rocked this theme, and they made it look so easy. A fur vest and DIY shields and crowns, braids, and a little bit of face paint, and they really pulled the theme together.

114 | Wall Street – Let’s get down to business! Students can wear a suit & tie or other professional attire.

115 | Wear what you love (graphic tee of your favorite thing) – This spirit day theme is a another great one for everyone to participate in. Almost everyone has a t-shirt that represents something they love, whether it is a team, a movie or TV show, a place they’ve visited, or another hobby.

116 | Western – A classic theme, students can dress as cowboys/cowgirls and ranchers. This one is always a favorite.

117 | White lies – Students grab a white tee and write a lie about themselves on it. While this one has become popular in recent years and can be quite entertaining, this one isn’t my favorite due to the amount of waste. Consider reducing the amount of waste with this theme by using a washable marker. Afterwards, wash the writing off your shirt and reuse it for another theme such as white out day or use it for your tie dye shirt!

118 | White out – A white out theme is always popular because it is another easy one for everyone to participate in.

119 | Wild weather – Students can dress for any type of weather – rainy day, a snowstorm, a heatwave, or anything in between.

120 | Winter/Ski – A winter theme may not be the best choice for football season depending on your location, but can be fun for a school spirit day or an indoor game.

121 | Woods/forest – Dress like a park ranger, a camper, or a woodland creature, there are many possibilities with a forest theme.

 

WHEW! If you made it this far, I hope this sparked some new ideas for your next student section theme or school spirit dress up day. 

student section themes
cheer block themes