How to dance for homecoming

What Is Homecoming? - Homecoming vs. Prom and Why We Celebrate It

One of the best parts of back to school season is prepping for the first big event of the year — homecoming. Really, you can start prepping months in advanced for this all-important occasion because there is so much to figure out, from what to wear to how to ask your crush to the dance.

But have you ever stopped to think about what this whole homecoming tradition is about? When was the first homecoming, and what’s the story behind the big game and the quirky traditions like homecoming dance themes? Most importantly, what does homecoming even mean?

Below, we break down everything you need to know about the long-standing tradition of homecoming.

So... what is homecoming?

Every high school has their own homecoming traditions and depending on where you live and what school you go to, homecoming can mean a lot of different things. It may, quite literally, mean a coming home of sorts, an opportunity for your school’s alumni to visit their old stomping grounds and see old friends, teachers, and underclassman they left behind.

Sometimes, homecoming consists of a week of events, including a pep rally, parade, and a big football game, typically a match-up against your school’s rivals. (TBH, if you’re not a huge sports fan, it may be the only football game you’ll go to all year.) Among the festivities, a homecoming court is often crowned, with the nominations of homecoming kings, queens, princes, and princesses.

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But the main event — the piéce de résistance of any school’s homecoming — is the dance. You’ve seen it play out in all the best high school dramas, including Pretty Little Liars, Riverdale, and Vampire Diaries. Homecoming is a staple at most high schools, no matter how it’s celebrated. In the most traditional format (shown in most on-screen portrayals of the event), homecoming resembles a dance much like prom... but, more like a baby prom.

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How is homecoming different than prom?

In recent years, as homecoming has become a bigger event, it’s started to resemble prom more and more. Homecoming proposals have become more elaborate, mimicking the creative signs, cute treasure hunts, and yummy treats that now seem to come with every promposal.

First, the obvious difference: The two dances come at different times of the year. While prom often marks the beginning of spring and the end of the school year, homecoming, which often takes place in September or October, doubles as a kind of welcome-back-to-school event.

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Homecoming is also much more inclusive than prom. At most schools, prom is open only to seniors and sometimes juniors, but homecoming is for all — even the underclassmen, meaning you can start enjoying the festivities as a freshman.

Finally, homecoming can be a lot more casual than prom. While some schools go all out and throw prom at an event space off-campus, homecoming is usually held in the school’s gym. Some schools have a more casual dress code for their homecoming dances, where jeans and a cute top will suffice, while others require a dress or suit for the occasion. Even then, the dresses are usually short and the suits are more chill, compared to the gowns and tuxes some will rock for their big prom night.

You may even want to opt for a cute two-piece look. For your consideration, here are some fun mix-and-match homecoming outfits that you'll want to buy ASAP...

What’s the history behind homecoming?

According to Billboard, homecoming is an American tradition, which explains why Britain native Charli XCX was so thrilled to perform at a lucky California high school’s homecoming dance back in 2014.

Homecoming began at colleges as a celebration for the first football game of the season, where alumni would come back to visit their former campuses. According to Vice, while no one is positive which college officially started the tradition, the University of Missouri, Baylor University, and the University of Illinois all claim to have began hosting homecoming events in 1911, 1909, and 1910, respectively. No matter who started it, the tradition spread quickly to other colleges and high schools around the country and has become the fun-filled occasion it is today.

Carolyn TwerskyAssociate Editor

Carolyn Twersky is an associate editor for Seventeen covering celebrities, entertainment, politics, trends, and health. On her off time, she's probably watching Ru Paul's Drag Race, traversing NYC for the best donuts, or, most likely, enjoying time in her favorite place in the world: her bed. 

Leah CampanoAssistant Editor

Leah Campano is an assistant editor at Seventeen, where she covers pop culture, entertainment news, health, and politics. On the weekends, you can probably find her watching marathons of vintage Real Housewives episodes or searching for New York City’s best almond croissants. 

The Homecoming Experience: Dates, Dresses, and Dancing

By Sarah Moore

About a month after school starts, many teenagers are preparing for their school’s homecoming weekend. For most schools, Homecoming typically includes a Friday night football game followed by a Saturday night school dance.

Having a Date for Homecoming

The most popular factor that differs between schools is whether the majority of people go with dates or not. At some schools, many people feel as though they would be ostracized if they don’t walk into the school with a boy/girl on their arm. However, one thing that accompanies going with a date is an elaborate ask or proposal. When asking someone to homecoming, there is a lot of pressure to be as creative as possible. I have heard of proposals that range from spelling out “Homecoming?” in Chik-Fil-A nuggets and decorating their (soon to be) date’s room to proposing by singing a song in front of everyone during lunch. Although there is a lot of pressure to come up with a creative proposal, it is not anything to stress about, and you can find plenty of ideas online.

I had an awkward experience when a boy I barely knew asked me to his school’s homecoming. My friend, who went to the same school as the boy, was trying to find a homecoming date for him. She asked me to go with him, and though I was hesitant, I agreed. One week later he was standing on my doorstep with flowers and candy. This proposal lived up to my expectation of awkwardness (but not quite as bad as I thought it would be). I went to the dance with him, and it ended up being fun despite the initial uncomfortable situation.

Going to Homecoming with a Group

My school is casual about dates. At my school, the “norm” is that people go to homecoming with a large group of friends. What I’ve learned from personal experience, and from friends who go to other schools, is that going with a large group of friends is the easiest way to include everyone who wants to go and to ensure that nobody feels left out. And it removes the pressure for “needing” to have a date.

Planning for Homecoming

And then there are the plans before the dance. Usually a large group of friends will meet at one person’s house. Parents are invited to take pictures of the group, and each person typically brings some type of food. Going to someone’s house before homecoming is a fun way to see everyone dressed up and prepare for the evening.

Which brings us to another element of homecoming — the attire. Since Homecoming is more casual, most guys wear dress pants with a dress shirt and tie and most girls wear short dresses with heels. The dress can be a struggle. Some people spend a lot of money on the “perfect homecoming dress,” while others spend as little as possible—from upwards of $200 on a dress to under $30. Although there is no universal key to finding the “perfect dress,” the goal is really just to find something that looks good, makes sense, and allows for lots of movement and dancing.

Being a senior, I have pretty much seen it all when it comes to homecoming, from the stress of where pictures should take place to the drama that follows two girls buying the same dress and the creative ways people ask someone to be their date.

The No. 1 rule I have learned is—Don’t Stress!—because homecoming is what you make it, and there is every reason to make it fun!

Homecoming with a similarity description

Chance Harris is a cheerful and optimistic guy who dreams of becoming a professional dancer. The hero is literally torn between studies, work, personal life and rehearsals, from time to time hitting the people around him with his irrepressible energy.

Shortly after returning home, Chance learns that a dance competition is about to take place, where the best dancers from all around will take part. Realizing that this is a real chance to get into the big leagues, the young man becomes a participant in a fateful story filled with new acquaintances and unexpected surprises.

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Homecoming Dance - Yorktown

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Dancing Rules and Expectations

Students will not be allowed to participate in dances if they are inappropriately dressed for school activities. Refer to the Yorktown clothing guide for suitable clothing. Students must not only come in appropriate clothing, but their clothing must remain appropriate throughout the dance.

Students suspected of being under the influence of any substance will not be allowed to participate in the dance. Students inside the dance who show any signs of being intoxicated will be immediately removed from the dance. The student's parents will be referred to a counselor and suspension will follow. If a student is part of a Yorktown sports team, their coach will be notified and that team member will be suspended for a minimum of two weeks.

The dance style in Yorktown has become too inappropriate for the school. Teachers, administrators, parents and students all feel that the school can no longer sponsor an event that hosts such dances. Students who do not follow the appropriate dance style will be immediately removed from the dance. The student's parents will be called and are expected to pick up their child.

Any type of inappropriate behavior during the dance will be considered a refusal to dance. Such conduct includes all of the above or anything deemed inappropriate by the school. Students will not be allowed to participate in the dance after 10:00.

Stay cool Yorktown

  • Respect school buildings : Yorktown has a very new building, so respect the school.
  • No Drugs or Alcohol Use: Remember that it is illegal and disrespectful to be under the influence of or carry drugs and/or alcohol at any time, especially at school functions.
  • Gorgeous dress: Yorktown is a place of business, so be sure to wear clothes that won't show off or be demeaning. Refer to Yorktown Dress Code for more details.
  • Cool language: Speak respectfully to your peers and do not use profanity.
  • Limited PDA: Nobody wants to see an extra PDA. Show respect for the school, your peers, and yourself by keeping it appropriate

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Yorktown High School


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