What is Homecoming and Why Do You Want One?

Young Women Hugging Homecoming Queen
Philip Gould / Getty Images

Homecoming is a time to celebrate the school you’re attending. And, after you’ve graduated, it’s a time to go back (or “come home”) to your town and the campus, see old friends, and reminisce about your school days.

Homecoming usually centers around a football game, but schools have been known to have homecoming basketball, soccer or even hockey games. It’s an annual tradition for most American high schools (and some colleges and universities, too!)

There are a ton of activities that center around homecoming, and they vary from school to school. The celebrations generally start within the school on Monday and last all the way through the weekend when the alumni show up.

Homecoming Activities

What is Homecoming Spirit Week?
Many schools kick off their homecoming celebrations with a Spirit Week. Starting on Monday, each day of the week is themed, and students are encouraged to participate. For example, Monday could be “crazy hair day,” Tuesday could be “rent a senior” day,” Wednesday could be “wear your pajamas to school day.” Some schools have competitions among the classes to see who has the most school spirit.
What is a Homecoming Pep Rally?
A pep rally is a time for the entire school to gather and cheer on their sports team. Cheerleaders, the color guard and marching band generally perform, and of course, the sports team makes an appearance.

Everyone cheers and makes as much noise as possible to psych up their team so they’ll crush the competition!
What's the Homecoming Game all About?
The football game is the main homecoming attraction, because the current students and alumni can attend. There’s generally a huge crowd and lots of energy, so the pressure is on for the home team to win.

If a school doesn’t have a football team, there can also be a basketball, soccer or hockey game.
What is Homecoming Court?
Some schools hold elections for a Homecoming King and Queen with an accompanying Homecoming Court of Princes and Princesses. Homecoming Court elections are different from school to school, but it generally goes down like this: the King and Queen are upper classmen (juniors or seniors) while the court are lower classmen. Since homecoming is all about school spirit, the students elected to the court are usually pretty involved in school activities. They might be on teams, in a lot of clubs or involved in a lot of social activities.
What's a Homecoming Parade?
Some towns stage a homecoming parade with floats, the school marching band, sports teams, classic cars and more. It’s a time for the whole town (and even former residents) to rally together, socialize, cheer on the football team and celebrate their town and high school.
What is a Homecoming Dance Like?
A homecoming dance is just for the students of the school, and it usually occurs on the Friday or Saturday night after Spirit Week (depending, of course, on when the big game is!) It’s usually open to every student no matter what grade they’re in.

Some schools keep it casual, while others make it a semi-formal affair. There’s always a DJ or a band, but the venue is up to the school- sometimes it’s in the gym or cafeteria, and other times it’s at an outside venue.

Whether or not you bring a date to your homecoming dance is up to you. Every school has its own customs. Some schools use it as a chance to have a special night with your boyfriend, girlfriend or crush. Others schools reserve prom for the big “date dance,” and leave homecoming as the “go with your friends” dance.

Either way, a homecoming dance is a time for the entire school to come together and party!
What is a Homecoming Banquet?
Some schools throw in a homecoming banquet as part of their festivities. It’s an evening where current and former students are recognized for their achievements.