Homecoming is one of the most anticipated events of the school year for many high school students. From dressing up for the big dance to cheering on the school football team, homecoming creates lasting memories.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Homecoming activities typically take place during the 11th or 12th grade in American high schools.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at what grade homecoming takes place in, the history and traditions behind homecoming, and the main events like the dance, football game, and more that make it such a special time for high schoolers.

When Does Homecoming Take Place?

Homecoming is a highly anticipated event in high schools across the United States. It is a time for students to come together and celebrate their school spirit. While the exact timing of homecoming can vary from school to school, there are some common trends that can help answer the question of when homecoming takes place.

Homecoming is Primarily an 11th and 12th Grade Event

In most high schools, homecoming is primarily geared towards 11th and 12th grade students. These grades are often seen as the upperclassmen, and homecoming is seen as a rite of passage for these students.

It is a chance for them to celebrate their final years of high school and create lasting memories with their classmates.

It’s important to note that while homecoming is primarily for 11th and 12th graders, some schools do allow younger students to participate as well.

Some Schools Allow Younger Students to Participate

While homecoming is traditionally for 11th and 12th graders, some schools may allow younger students to attend the festivities as well. This can vary depending on the school’s policies and traditions. It’s always a good idea to check with your specific school to see if younger students are allowed to participate in homecoming activities.

Homecoming Timing Aligns with Football Season

One reason why homecoming takes place during a specific time of year is because it is often tied to the school’s football season. Homecoming typically occurs during the fall semester when football games are in full swing.

This allows students and alumni to come together to support their school’s football team and enjoy the festivities surrounding the game.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, the most common month for homecoming is October, followed by September and November. However, it’s important to remember that every school has its own unique schedule, so the timing of homecoming can vary.

The History and Origins of Homecoming

Homecoming, a beloved tradition in high schools across the United States, has a rich history that dates back to the early 1900s. It is a time for students, alumni, and the entire school community to come together and celebrate their school spirit.

Let’s take a closer look at the origins of this cherished event.

Homecoming Dates Back to the Early 1900s

The concept of homecoming first emerged in the early 20th century, primarily in colleges and universities. The exact origin of the term is debated, but it is widely believed to have originated from the University of Missouri in 1911.

The university’s athletic director, Chester Brewer, invited alumni to “come home” for the annual football game against the University of Kansas. This marked the beginning of what would later become known as homecoming.

As the popularity of homecoming grew, it eventually made its way into high schools. High school homecoming events typically take place in the fall, usually in September or October, and are centered around a football game.

It Was a Way to Rally Alumni Support

In its early days, homecoming was primarily a way to rally support from alumni. It was an opportunity for former students to return to their alma mater, reconnect with old friends, and show their support for the school.

The football game became the focal point of the event, with alumni cheering on their team and reminiscing about their own high school experiences.

Over time, homecoming evolved to include a variety of activities and traditions that go beyond the football game. These may include pep rallies, parades, bonfires, and even themed dress-up days leading up to the big game.

Homecoming dances also became a popular tradition, providing students with a memorable night to celebrate their school spirit.

Traditions Like Dances and Parades Developed Over Time

As homecoming became more established in high schools, various traditions started to take shape. Homecoming dances, often held on the evening of the football game, became a highlight of the event. These dances allow students to dress up, socialize, and create lasting memories with their classmates.

Parades are another integral part of many homecoming celebrations. Schools and community organizations come together to showcase elaborate floats, marching bands, and cheerleading squads. These parades often attract large crowds and create a sense of excitement and pride within the community.

It’s important to note that homecoming traditions can vary from school to school. Some schools may have unique customs or events that are specific to their community. Nevertheless, the core idea behind homecoming remains the same: to bring current students, alumni, and the entire school community together to celebrate their shared school spirit.

For more information on homecoming and its history, you can visit history.com or thoughtco.com.

The Main Events of Homecoming Week

Homecoming week is an exciting and memorable time for high school students. It is a week filled with various events and activities that foster school spirit and bring the entire student body together. Let’s take a closer look at the main events that typically occur during homecoming week.

Spirit Week

Spirit Week is a highly anticipated part of homecoming festivities. It is a week-long celebration where students show their school pride by dressing up according to different themes each day. From crazy hat day to pajama day, students have the opportunity to showcase their creativity and enthusiasm.

Spirit Week not only encourages school spirit but also creates a sense of unity among the student body as everyone participates in the fun.

Pep Rally

The Pep Rally is a high-energy event that takes place during homecoming week. This spirited gathering typically occurs in the school gymnasium or football field and involves performances by the school’s cheerleading squad, dance team, and marching band.

It is an opportunity for students to come together, cheer on their sports teams, and get hyped up for the upcoming homecoming game. The Pep Rally is often filled with cheers, chants, and even surprise appearances by the school mascot.

Homecoming Parade

The Homecoming Parade is a tradition that showcases the creativity and talent of the school community. It usually takes place in the streets surrounding the school and features floats, marching bands, and various student organizations.

The parade is a festive and colorful event that attracts both students and members of the local community. It serves as a way to bring people together and generate excitement for the upcoming homecoming game.

Homecoming Football Game

The Homecoming Football Game is the centerpiece of the entire homecoming week. It is a highly anticipated event where the school’s football team competes against a rival team. The game attracts a large crowd, including current students, alumni, and parents.

The atmosphere is electric, with fans cheering, school colors proudly displayed, and halftime performances that showcase the talent of the school’s marching band and cheerleaders. The Homecoming Football Game is a moment of pride and excitement for the entire school community.

Homecoming Dance

The Homecoming Dance is the grand finale of homecoming week. It is a formal or semi-formal event where students come together to celebrate and create lasting memories. The dance is usually held in the school gymnasium or a nearby venue and is a chance for students to dress up, dance, and have a great time with their friends.

It often includes a DJ or live band, photo booths, and refreshments. The Homecoming Dance is a cherished tradition that marks the end of a memorable week.

Homecoming week is a time of excitement, camaraderie, and school pride. It brings together students, faculty, and the community in a series of events that create lasting memories and foster a sense of belonging.

Whether it’s participating in Spirit Week, attending the Pep Rally, cheering at the Homecoming Football Game, or dancing the night away at the Homecoming Dance, homecoming week is an unforgettable experience for high school students.


Homecoming is a special tradition that allows high school students to celebrate school pride, reunite with alumni, and make memories with friends. While it’s primarily an 11th and 12th grade event, some schools do allow younger students to get involved in certain activities.

From its football origins in the early 1900s to the iconic homecoming dances of today, homecoming continues to be one of the most exciting times for high schoolers each year. If you’re lucky enough to experience it during your junior or senior year, be sure to soak up every moment and make the most of this iconic high school tradition.

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