› Homecoming Guide for Parents

Homecoming Guide

Tips for Parents on How to Help Their Kids
Have a Great Night

homecoming dance tips

My memories of High School Homecoming just include going to a football game and then going to a dance in the high school gym.  In my kid's world those things still occur but they've been amped up quite a bit.  As the Mom of four teens I've been though this a few times and after receiving quite a few phone calls from parents with questions thought I would summarize my experience with this Homecoming Guide.  I don't profess to have all the answers especially as Homecoming can be different in different schools and in different locations, so please share any traditions you have or tips to make it a great night in the comment section below!

How to Ask A Date To The Dance

This sounds like it should be simple, as in just ask.  However, where my kids go to school there is quite a bit of creativity involved in asking a date  to the dance.  Here are some fun ideas that I've heard of:

  • Create a scavenger hunt of clues with the last clue leading to a sign that asks a girl to the dance
  • Use a prop from a sport or activity that the girl is involved in such as writing the question on a volleyball, using tennis balls to spell out HC? on the lawn.  Writing "I'd feel like I hit a homerun if you went to Homecoming with me on a softball.
  • Placing crime scene tape around a driveway and tracing a chalk outline of a body with a note saying "I would just die if you would come to Homecoming with me"
  • A lot of guys also write the question on a poster board and present it to the girl with a bouquet of flowers.

Getting Dressed Up

homecoming shoes

My experience is that for Homecoming the boys wear a suit coat, dress shirt, tie, dress pants (with a belt!) and dress shoes.  The girls favor short cocktail type dresses and shoes with heels higher than it seems possible to walk in.  As the Mom of three boys I usually head to JC Penny and can be in and out in under 30 minutes with everything they need.  I often order shoes on zappos.com because it's so easy and their return policy is terrific.

Shopping for girls is usually an exercise in patience and stamina.  Although the mall and boutique stores are an option I know people who have very good luck on line at sites such as simplydresses.com, lilyboutiques.com, lulus.com, and laceaffair.com.  I always have my daughter do the "sit test" as in can you sit down and still have everything covered test.

Communicating with Other Parents

If my kids are going to the dance with someone that we don't know, I usually call and introduce myself to their Mom.  Often the boy will wear a tie that is the same color as the girls dress and flowers are usually ordered to coordinate with the colors that the kids are wearing so this something to discuss.  Since there is usually a pre-party with a number of couples to take pictures together and a party after the dance, conveniently referred to as the after party, I usually start asking my kids if they have heard who is hosting these parties.  Sometimes that is when I found out that we are being asked to host!  I would highly recommend calling the parents that are hosting these parties to confirm that they are hosting, to confirm that they will be home, and see if you can help with food or chaperoning.


homecoming flowers

I usually wait to order the corsage or boutonniere until I know the dress or tie color.  I live in the Chicago area and ordered the flowers, above from Sunset Foods. You will be busy on the day of the dance, so I would recommend ordering from a place that is convenient.   Girls usually favor a wrist corsage and a single flower boutonniere for the boys works just fine.

Day of the Dance

This can be a busy day, especially if you have a girl who wants her nails done or a special hairdo.  Make sure to build in time to pick up flowers and get to the picture parties on time. I try to give my kids a light dinner before they leave the house because there is often not much time to eat or not much served at the dance.   Some schools don't allow purses or bags into the dance so check on school policies and if kids will need to check their bags at the door.  Many girls bring a pair of footie socks or ballet slippers to slip on at the dance as either it's hard to dance in heels all night or their school has them check their shoes at the door as well.

Picture Party

Where we live it's a tradition for groups of kids to get together for a picture party before going to the dance.  The kids usually arrange this and arrange for anywhere from 5-12 couples (or more!) to meet at either a park or  someone's house to take pictures together.  Parents attend this and take photos of the kids giving each other flowers and taking group pictures.  My son recently attended a picture party where these appetizers were served outside.  Don't be surprised if the kids especially are too busy to eat, but it is nice for the parents to have something to nibble on while they get acquainted and take pictures.

The After Party

Even though the dance ends at 10:30 or so at night, many kids gather for an after party that lasts until 1 am or even much later for the upperclassman.  Hosting an after party is a lot of responsibility because it's late, it's dark out, and as parents you can be held responsible if there is any underage drinking.  We have hosted these before and take a few precautions to keep everyone safe but still having fun.  Some of my suggestions:

homecoming party list
  • Have a list of attendees and stick to it.  I have my kids make out a list so I know who is coming.  I have only one door that guests can enter our house and they must be on the list to come in.  This prevents party crashers and then you know who is in your house.
  • It's nice to have another couple help you with the party.  Not only can they help you stay awake but if you have a lot of kids in the house having and extra set of hand and eyes is always a great thing.
  • Have the kids place all bags and purses in a supervised area.  I have them place their things in the living room where we can make sure no water bottles or other items are going into the basement.  Many kids like to bring clothes to change into and they can keep their belongings in one area to make pick up easier
  • Be prepared, they will be hungry!  After dancing up a storm and possibly not even having time for dinner they may arrive at your house famished.  As much as I like to cook, this is one night that I don't.  I'm just too busy getting my own kids ready. If you live in the Chicago area, I would recommend Go Roma.  I have ordered them for countless parties and kids love their food.  They were even nice enough to sponsor this post after I placed an order from them.  Check out the right column to see some ideas of what I normally serve.
  • Believe it or not, some kids will have a co-ed sleepover as part of the after party.  My experience is that this is something that occurs with some upperclassman.  The parents that I know that have hosted these usually stay up, have another couple over to help supervise, have the boys sleep on one level of the house and the girls sleep on another level.  Their thought is that it is safer to have them stay in a safe place rather than driving home in the early morning hours when they may be too tired.  This may not fly in your house but they do occur.  Controversial? You bet!

Going to the Homecoming Dance can be such a great time.  Knowing what to expect or how to plan for it is half the battle.  I'd love to hear what your traditions are or how you navigate this night to make sure your kids have a great time and still stay safe.  Feel free to comment below!

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go roma restaurant

I have ordered from Go Roma so many times that I have their number in my cell phone and the e-mail of the manager on file.  They are amazing to order from, especially for big groups.  They have fed my kids sports teams countless times and the kids who attended our recent Homecoming after party were well fed as you can see below! They do have a catering menu but I usually call and tell them how many people I'm serving and they help me figure out the quantity of food to order.

I usually pick up my order, but Go Roma will also deliver.  For a party like this I will request the pastas be placed in foil pans so I can keep them warm in the oven before guests arrive.  If you ask, they will also throw in serving spoons, plates and utensils .  Nice!

This Ragatoni with Meat Sauce from Go Roma was a hit with the kids at our Homecoming After Party

This Bowtie Alfredo from Go Roma also went over very well!

I'm always amazed at how many kids will eat salad if it's served.  I order this chopped salad from Go Roma and order it without chicken and usually substitute mozzarella for blue cheese which seems to make it a bit more kid friendly.  It comes with dressing on the side.

Although the salad comes beautifully prepared with the toppings in rows on top.  I usually toss it myself with the dressing just before serving.  We had 30 kids for an after party and they ate two pans of this salad!  Yum!

Go Roma has amazing breadsticks.  I will often ask for extra Alfredo and Meat Sauce to dip the breadsticks in. 

A platter of fresh fruit is always a good thirst quencher after a dance.  You can get a bit fancy by saving the top of the pineapple as a centerpiece on the platter!

I aften have parents who offer to bring food for the kids to eat as well.  Even store bought cookies, displayed on a nice platter, make for an easy dessert.

I will have 2 liter bottles of pop in a bucket of ice for the kids but I also like having a big container of water.  Float a few sliced lemons and some ice and it looks even more festive!