Although annual wacky hair days at schools have been around since at least the 1980s, the publication of Barney Saltzberg’s 2004 children’s book “Crazy Hair Day” breathed new life into the idea. Today, such events on a school calendar promote the power of literacy and give students a chance to display imaginative and creative hairstyles for an entire day.

Blasts of Color

Many boys and girls get creative with temporary colored hair spray, which is cheap, easily washed out and available at drug stores and novelty stores. Stunning hair color combinations like purple and hot pink, or silver and gold, are among the most common sights on wacky hair day. Some students keep it simple and stick with the colored spray only, while others add additional products — such as gels and pomade — to achieve unusual shapes.


Students with short, straight hair often sport one of many variations of the spiky look, getting all or parts of their hair to stand on end. The “faux hawk” style requires only the center section of the hair to spike. Punk rock-inspired upright spikes resemble animal-like horns jutting out from the tops of kids’ heads. Those who elect a spiky style sometimes add colored hair spray to enhance the look.

Braids and Ponytails

Kids with medium-length or longer hair can wear unusual braid designs, such as those that crisscross the scalp in a maze-like fashion. Other braids extend horizontally or vertically from students’ heads and seem to defy gravity. Eye-catching buns made of braids are another choice, too, along with oddly positioned ponytails. Groups of friends often have contests to see who can create the most ponytails, securing them with colorful bands and/or other shiny accessories to optimize the wackiness factor.


Wigs are an alternative to messy hair products and time-consuming styling techniques. Students looking to impersonate the wacky styles of popular celebrities customize wigs to obtain the desired look. Wigs that copy the hairstyles of famous fictional characters such as Raggedy Ann, Rapunzel, Harry Potter and Medusa have become more common. Other kids modify, cut and color wigs to create styles they can’t achieve with their own hair due to length and/or texture limitations.