Homecoming is a traditional part of fall in many American schools. It's a celebration that brings alumni back to campus and gives current students a chance to celebrate their school. Homecoming events are usually scheduled to coincide with a school football game or other big sporting event, with a dance held for current students. Whether you're a parent planning to host a homecoming party for your teen or you're planning a party for your fellow adult alumni, the basics of throwing a great homecoming party are the same.
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Homecoming Party Basics
Scheduling can be tricky for homecoming parties because this weekend tends to be filled with school-sponsored events. Check the school's homecoming weekend schedule to make sure your party doesn't conflict with something else that people are going to want to attend. One nice thing about homecoming parties is that there's no wrong time of day for one, so you can choose any period of time for your event. During a full weekend of social events, people won't be surprised by an invitation to a breakfast party at 9 a.m. if the big football game starts at noon.
As for food and drink, stick with casual crowd pleasers. Even if the guests have been out of high school for decades, everyone enjoys eating like a teenager during homecoming weekend. Things like pizza, pinwheel rollups, cheese and crackers, popcorn, veggie trays, sodas and sparkling water are always going to be well-received. Hire a bakery that does edible printing to decorate cupcakes with the school's logo or mascot.
Hosting Homecoming Parties for Teens
Parents of teens often decide to organize homecoming parties as a way to keep kids out of trouble during homecoming weekend, which tends to be a time when kids gather to drink and do other things of which their parents might not approve. In this case, the party might be scheduled for immediately after a homecoming dance or other nighttime event, so parents should be prepared to supervise kids into the early morning hours or even overnight. Homecoming parties for teens can also be scheduled earlier in the day on Saturday or Sunday.
Parents may want to be prepared with activities that teens might actually be willing to do, such as lawn or board games, temporary tattoos and maybe even a karaoke machine. Put out big inflatable props and accessories for kids to pose with for photos. Before making any decisions about entertainment, consult your own teenager for suggestions about things her friends will actually enjoy.
Hosting Homecoming Parties for Adults
When you live close to your old school and homecoming weekend rolls around, hosting a homecoming party for your old classmates is a great way to catch up. Organize a party at your home and invite just the people you knew in school or throw a party at a restaurant, park pavilion or other space and extend the invitation to everyone from your graduating class.
Depending on how long it's been since you graduated, other alumni who are coming to town for homecoming may be traveling with partners and children. Hosting a daytime party means many of your guests may need to bring their kids along. That could be fun but will require you to buy more food and prepare kid-friendly activities. A more adult-friendly option is to throw your party at the same time as the high school's homecoming dance and have everyone dress in their best formalwear.
Nostalgia is always a winning theme for a homecoming party for adults. Use the year of your graduation to inspire the decor and entertainment or choose a broader theme like "the 1990s." Put out a request for photos people have from high school and print them out to display at the party. Make a playlist filled entirely with songs from your high school era. If sports are a huge part of your school's culture, play some of the teams' greatest moments on a loop on the TV. Ask people to write their favorite or funniest high school memories on a big display board.