Thursday, September 29, 2011

Decorating for Homecoming

I know that homecoming is not an “official” holiday, but in some parts of the country it should be. Below are some fun ideas for making homecoming week and the big game a little more special.

Locker Hangers: There are countless way to decorate a locker for homecoming. You can do the traditional cray paper twisted with your school colors, and add signs to personalize it. For members of the football team, using their jersey number is a must, marching band should have pictures of their instruments, cheerleaders lockers decorated with mini pompoms, and the dance line having dance shoes. Use colored papers the size of the lockers, scrapbook stores and craft stores are the best place to find a wide variety of supplies. If you are making just a few, make them super fancy, if you are making them for the whole football team, keep them simple and to the point. Sticker letters are easy but more expensive, Cricut machines are more versatile if you have one available. Be sure to check with your schools policies on what you can or cannot put onto lockers. Most schools require masking tape so it will not hurt the paint on the locker.

Hair Accessories: In some parts of the country, homecoming means large hair bows (directions here), while other parts uses colorful bandannas and colored hair spray. Either way you go, it adds the finishing touch to your homecoming outfit for the big game and during the school day.

Clothing: A tradition at my kids school is homemade sweat/t-shirts for the game. This year we ended up using spray paint, masking tape and contact paper to decorate the sweatshirts. You can make words in masking tape and then over spray around them to have the words stay the color of the shirt. Use contact paper to make a homemade stencil on the shirt. We made paw prints, freehand drawn from the football helmet. By using a light blue to fill in the whole stencil and a royal blue just around the edges, you achieve a shadow effect and more dimension to the paw prints. Two colors were also used on the school name to get more dimension and a more complete look. Be sure to make letters backwards if using the stencil technique. Look beyond puffy paints in your homemade shirts. Glitter and sequins can be glued on for more sparkle too.

Make-up: Whole face make up is normally the best way for guys to go. Use full face, half and half face, mascot designs, or a large hand print. With homecoming falling just before Halloween, face paint is readily available. Girls have more options, such as glitter eye shadows and eye liners in school colors. Those too may be found at the Halloween stores, many for less than “traditional” make-ups. Make your own football lines by “painting” lines with Vaseline on the tops of your cheeks, and then sprinkling it with regular glitter. Be sure to do it under your eyes only, as you do not want to get glitter into your eyes. Put paper underneath the line to catch the over flow and use again. Easily washes off with soap and water too. You can also paint mascots or school letters in Vaseline with a small paint brush. And you can use two different glitter colors to get more dimension on your cheeks too.

Yard Decorations: Yard signs have been a tradition for the football players with their last names and jersey numbers, but why not use it for everybody going to the game. Homecoming also falls right before most elections, so there tend to be deals on yard signs this time of year. Use your homecoming slogan on the sign, your last name and school name, the year you are graduating or the date of the big game and be sure to use school colors again. They can be adorned with cray paper, balloons or streamers. Go around to your friends houses and post them in their front yards remembering to keep one for yourself also. Homemade signs can also be made, but remember the weather when choosing the materials.

Tailgating: Becoming a bigger tradition is tailgating before the game. First of all, be sure the school is OK with you tailgating in the parking lot. The main reason for tailgating is the food, drinks and visiting with friends before the game. Have a small portable grill and your choice of meats for grilling. Prepare ahead of time side dishes that can be just brought along, and don’t forget the chips. A large cooler filled with pops and bottled water will get you by, as alcohol is never allowed on school grounds. Obey this rule if you want the school keep the tailgating tradition next year. A large table for serving food decorated in school colors, paper plates and disposable silverware are a must. Then pack up any “camping” games with you to keep your friends occupied. Hillbilly horseshoes, cornhole, ladder ball. All of these can be commercially bought, or click their names for a link to make the set yourself. Be sure to let the grill cool completely before packing it back in the car, clean up after yourselves, and you can start this new school tradition at your school too. As it catches on, have BBQ food contests, table decorating contests, game contests, let your imagination run. Tailgating recipes are available here.

Homecoming is a fun fall activity to celebrate the local team. Get in on the fun if you are a student or a parent, or just a member of the community. We own a family business in a neighboring town, and are letting their student council come and paint up the buildings windows to advertise their schools homecoming. Get involved, it is fun.

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