Anti-Bullying Week: what is Odd Socks Day, theme and history?

 (Anti-Bullying Alliance)
(Anti-Bullying Alliance)

Odd Socks Day is celebrated annually in November to mark the start of Anti-Bullying Week and encourage people to celebrate each other’s differences.

The day was created in 2017 by children’s TV presenter Andy Day, who was known for his comedy group Andy and the Odd Socks.

This year, the quirky yet meaningful event took place on Monday, November 14.

As the name suggests, it involved wearing a pair of odd socks without any fear of judgment from others.

Everyone is welcome to join in. In fact, the more people who rock their mismatched socks the better.

Five million children, thousands of parents and hundreds of workplaces got involved in the event last year. Celebrities such as Ant and Dec, Emma Willis, and Sir Mo Farah joined in on the fun.

This year’s Anti-Bullying Week theme is “Reach Out”, with the Anti-Bullying Alliance saying: “Bullying affects millions of lives and can leave us feeling hopeless. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If we challenge it, we can change it. And it starts by reaching out.

“Whether it’s in school, at home, in the community or online, let’s reach out and show each other the support we need. Reach out to someone you trust if you need to talk. Reach out to someone you know is being bullied. Reach out and consider a new approach.

“And it doesn’t stop with young people. From teachers to parents and influencers to politicians, we all have a responsibility to help each other reach out. Together, let’s be the change we want to see. Reflect on our own behaviour, set positive examples and create kinder communities.

“It takes courage, but it can change lives. So, this Anti-Bullying Week, let’s come together and reach out to stop bullying.”

Here are some fun ideas families and classrooms can try out to mark the special day.

  • Hold an odd socks fashion show with each family picking socks that reflect their personality and vibrance

  • Sit down to have a chat about what bullying means and the importance of reaching out

  • Volunteer for or donate to anti-bullying organisations

  • Share the word on social media to help raise awareness