Photo by Grace Bradley.
Photo by Grace Bradley.

R/W Week 2017: Crimsons show out in their creative costumes

Each year, students and staff clamor to attend all of the Red/White Week festivities like Ramstock, the school-wide carnival and the burial of the bulldog that are scheduled for each day leading up to the Male/Manual rivalry football game. However, some of the most anticipated aspects of Red/White week are not just the activities that the students participate in, but also the outfits and makeup that students design themselves. Often seen as an outlet for artistic expression, the costume component of Red/White Week is a means by which students fulfill the daily themes of the week and are able to demonstrate to the rest of the student body their personality through what they dress up as and how much effort they put into their costumes.Β The student body and staff voted on the top costume themes for the week by bringing in coins to donate to the Executive Council’s Penny Wars collection. The themes with the most pennies were chosen for Red/White Week.

In preparation for the themes and costumes, some students spend months or weeks planning out the specifics of their ensembles, and others use the internet as a resource for tutorials, online shopping and general inspiration for what they can wear for spirit week.

Scholars vs. Ballers Day

The Scholars vs. Ballers theme encouraged students to dress up either in traditional sports and athletic wear or in professional academic attire. Many in the student body came to school with sports jerseys, sweat bands and tennis shoes or business suits and stacks of books. The theme represents the dichotomy of being either sporty or intelligent; however, students tend overlap in having multiple athletic and academic interests. While it seemed very clear as to what students could dress as for this theme, many sought creative routes in developing their costumes.

Two students stand together to represent the sports football and basketball on Ballers vs. Scholars Day. Photo by Rachel Porter.
Caroline Foshee (12, J&C) came to school dressed as a football goalpost in light of the Male/Manual football rivalry game.
“I thought Scholars vs. Ballers didn’t give much opportunity for unique costumes since everyone mainly wore jerseys or glasses, but I didn’t want that to inhibit my creativity,” Foshee said.

The RamStock band Amor took creative license by designing their own jerseys to go along with their RamStock performance on Scholars vs. Ballers Day.

Dynamic Duo Day

As the idiom goes, β€œit takes two to tango.” It took two for this theme as well. On Dynamic Duo Day, students were supposed to pair up with a friend and dress as two people or things that work well together. As many students throughout the week wore costumes with a partner or group, Dynamic Duo Day inspired people to dress in costumes that go together like peanut butter and jelly, or, at least, like Troy and Gabriella or Sia and a chandelier.

Ysabella Leon (10, J&C) and Jason Prather (10, HSU) came to school dressed as Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez from the fictional High School Musical movie trilogy.

“We [Leon and Prather] both love High School Musical, and we both look a lot like them–at least I think so,” Leon said. “It was just really fun, and you could recognize who we were immediately.”

Leon said that her mother owns a vinyl and embroidery business that allowed them to self-design the lettering on their outfits.

Jason Prather (left) and Ysabella Leon (right) pose together as High School Musical characters Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez. Photo by Sarah Ogle.

“Well, the both of us play sports, and we’re naturally competitive,” Prather said. “I think part of [why we dressed up] was we wanted to have a great costume that blew people away. Also, I think just the fact that it’s Red/White Week and all the excitement around it really made us want to go above and beyond.”

Other costumes reflected on the music industry, like the Sia and chandelier costumes of Maddie Goldstein (11, YPAS) and Cindy Wan (11, MST).

“We looked on Pinterest and Buzzfeed for days, gathering 20 or 30 ideas,” Goldstein said. “It took us hours to narrow [the list] down, but when we saw the Sia and the chandelier picture, it was just so funny and so original. We had never seen it done before, and we knew we could pull it off well.”

“Maddie’s [Goldstein] costume for Maddie Ziegler was pretty easy since all she had to do was buy an all nude outfit and the infamous Sia wig,” Wan said. “However, my costume was the challenge: I made the chandelier from scratch. It took about two hours because we had to tie over 100 feet of fake pearl beading onto two hoops of aluminum wire.”

Some students preferred darker costume ideas, focusing on the Halloween vibe that comes with Red/White Week’s late October timing. Jill Gries (12, VA) and Bree Ashley (12, VA) dressed up as the villain and superhero duo Venom and Spiderman.

Costume Day

From Nemo and Dory to a clown costume, the most general theme of the week allowed creativity to flourish. After school during the carnival, students played games and ate food in their costumes. Students could dress as almost anything they wished, and most of them did.

On costume day, Julia Werner (left) and Evelyn Overstreet (right) are dressed as Nemo and Dory from the movie franchise Finding Nemo. Photo by Madisyn Miller.

“My three older siblings went to Manual, so I’ve had some experience with Red/White Week. All of them had said that the only thing they regretted was not going all out freshman year. I didn’t want to have that regret,” Evelyn Overstreet (9, HSU) said about her Dory costume.

Kenya Tovar (11, YPAS) said that she knew she wanted to do something creative for Red/White Week this year, so she did her own clown makeup and went to a Halloween store to get her costume in advance.

Kenya Tovar licks fake blood from her fingers to heighten the sense of creepiness of her clown costume. Photo by Robert Spencer.

I am really full of school spirit, and I love having the opportunity for people to see me dressed up in a cool costume,” Tovar said. “It was like my chance to shine even if I was like really scary.”

Emma Wilkie (10, VA) dresses as childhood book series protagonist Madeline for Costume Day. Photo by Phoebe Monsour.

“Walking down the hallway and seeing everybody’s costumes is really interesting,” Emma Wilkie (10, VA), who dressed up as book heroine Madeline, said. “It kind of makes the school day a little bit more fun and exciting. You don’t know what you’re going to see.”

Even the administration coordinated group costumes, like a box of crayons, to show their school spirit and participation.


In the morning, Sam Green (12, YPAS) led the eulogy for the bulldog. Students wore dark clothes in gothic styles to mourn the future death of their rival during the Male/Manual game the next day. Students used undead imagery to interpret the theme. Black makeup or face paint adorned many, which allowed for the artistically inclined to use their skills for this theme.

Gries said that she wanted to create a very intricate demon face paint look because she enjoys art, and it was her last Red/White Week. She made her own unique take on a makeup look that she found in a reference image.

Jill Gries spent hours perfecting her demon makeup for Dooms Day. Photo by Jill Gries.

“I think being average is boring. I’m an art major anyways, and it fits with my personality to do something crazy for Red/White Week. It’s my last [Red/White Week] ever, so there’s that,” Gries said.

“I guess what encouraged me is that I love putting my all into everything that I do, and I love showing school spirit and doing makeup and art. Honestly, it’s so much fun, and as a visual arts student, it’s really a form of expression,” Ashley said.

Students who dressed up said that the students who are unsure about costumes and makeup for Red/White Week should put in that effort because it can be fun and a source of creative expression.

“DIY [do-it-yourself] costumes always look the best because you can see all of the detail and work that was put in,” Goldstein said. “Also, when you’ve made the costume yourself, you feel so proud of your work, and it makes you feel that much better wearing it. Going all out is how you make the most out of Red/White Week!”

“Never worry about going over the top; everyone does,” Leon said. “Be creative, and do something fun with your friends. Having fun is the most important thing. If you’re confident and you feel good, nothing else matters, and people will see that.”

Many stressed the collaborative nature of Red/White Week costume ideas and suggested dressing up in groups can make the process easier and more enjoyable.

“I would say talking to other people about what they’re doing [for costumes] really helped me get ideas just because it inspired me to think outside of the box too,” Foshee said.

“Get a group of friends who are willing to do [a costume idea] with you,” Overstreet said. “If you all do it together, it’s not as scary as doing it by yourself. Also, my advice would be to not be too worried about other students’ opinions or judgments because there are so many other people who go all out too!”

Visual arts students Gries and Ashley said that patience and practice are pertinent to creating good face paint makeup designs.

“Make sure you take your time, and really make sure you blend and shade. You don’t want everything to look blotchy and cut off,” Gries said.

“It’s so cool to see people’s reactions, and practice always makes perfect with things like art and makeup,” Ashley said. “I think people would be surprised by how much they can accomplish with practice. Some advice I’d give is to just have an open mind and research things like tutorials–they’re super helpful.”

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