Free Comprehensive Homecoming Dance Planning Checklist

School Dance Homecoming Prom

As the school year begins, it seems too early to think about a homecoming dance planning checklist. Because for students, preparing for homecoming involves securing a date or friend group to attend with, getting the right outfit and making pre-dinner plans. But for schools, preparing for homecoming involves a lot of administrative considerations and heavy lifting, and getting organized early on can help. If you're a new administrator or volunteer, you may not know anything about how to plan a homecoming dance. After all, the experience of attending is far different than the experience of making it happen. 

That's why we're here to offer our homecoming dance planning checklist and some advice on how to plan a homecoming dance. Our goal is to make school event planning a breeze, and that goes beyond providing an easy method to collect funds. 

Ready to get started? Read on for our complete homecoming planning checklist. 

Table of Contents:


How to Plan a Homecoming Dance: The Basic Do’s and Don'ts 

Believe it or not, professional event planning is considered one of the most stressful jobs out there. To get a large-scale event together, you have to wrangle a lot of moving parts, and there is a lot of room for error. When you're not a professional event planner but have been tasked with planning homecoming, it's useful to know some do’s and don'ts that can reduce some of that unwanted stress. 

Do start early. Homecoming tends to fall in late September or early October, which means that you don't have a lot of time to get things rolling once the school year starts. Some schools complete the first few steps, like putting together a homecoming committee that can decide on things like a theme, at the end of the prior school year. 

Don't expect ticket prices to cover the full cost of the dance. Most schools are working on tight budgets, and many non-academic events don’t receive much discretionary funding. But you don't want the full cost of the homecoming dance to fall on your students, who are already paying an average of over $100 to attend. 

Do plan a week of homecoming activities leading up to the dance. Many of these activities, like themed days that students can participate in (pajama day, anyone?) don't have to eat up your budget. Plus, they'll increase excitement around the dance you've worked so hard to plan. 

Don't forget to delegate. We'll discuss this in more detail below, but it's important to remember that faculty and parents are often more than willing to participate in the planning and execution of something the students will enjoy. 

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The Complete Homecoming Dance Planning Checklist 

By breaking up your homecoming planning timeline into individual steps, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed by everything that comes with planning a major event. We recommend getting started no later than the first week of the school year, especially if you want to host the homecoming dance as early as September. 

Our homecoming planning checklist includes the following steps: 

  • Build Your Team of Volunteers
  • Create a Basic To-Do List
  • Delegate Duties to Appropriate Volunteers
  • Find an Advisor for Your Homecoming Committee
  • Collect Quotes From Vendors
  • Create Your Budget
  • Start Fundraising
  • Secure Your Vendors
  • Choose Your Homecoming Theme
  • Purchase Homecoming Decorations
  • Sell Homecoming Dance Tickets
  • Create a Day-Of Plan
  • Develop a Contingency Plan 

Now, let's take a closer look at how to plan a homecoming dance, including what each step entails. 



Build Your Team of Volunteers 

Start by building your team of student volunteers. Most schools will involve the elected student body government officers to take on the basic to-do list; however, you may also want to involve: 

  • Other students who are seeking leadership positions 
  • Other members of student body organizations, including members of the pep squad and other groups 

Student volunteer groups should include between five and 10 students. You should also recruit a handful of faculty members and parents who are willing to participate in fundraising activities and act as chaperones for the dance. 




Create a Basic To-Do List 

Once you have your group of students to take the helm, create a basic to-do list for them to follow. With guidance, these students can decide on the: 

  • Date
  • Theme
  • Location
  • Decorations
  • Refreshments 

Set times to meet with them and remind them that you must approve all of these decisions before they're set in stone. 




Delegate Duties to Appropriate Volunteers 

Some tasks on the homecoming dance planning checklist may require more adult supervision than others. Your committee of faculty members and parents can help students with tasks such as: 

  • Monitoring how the budget is used 
  • Securing contracts with vendors 
  • Advertising the dance and selling tickets 
  • Creating a check-in system for individual committees to communicate with each other 

Be sure to outline clear expectations and deadlines so that each task is completed efficiently. You may want to set up weekly meetings with all or most of your volunteers to have a group check-in, which will give you time to hash out any obstacles that arise and make sure that everyone feels comfortable with the job they've been assigned. 


Find an Advisor for Your Homecoming Committee 

All student groups require a faculty advisor. This advisor can supervise committee meetings and provide support for the students as they work through different objectives. 

Likewise, your student homecoming committee will require a faculty advisor. The advisor will need to attend all homecoming committee meetings and meetings with other volunteers. They should be prepared to take notes at these meetings and manage the homecoming committee. 



Collect Quotes From Vendors 

No homecoming planning checklist can operate without a budget. However, before you create an airtight budget, you may want to request quotes from vendors to get a realistic sense of how much money you'll need to cover the expenses. Request quotes from: 

  • Venues
  • Catering companies
  • DJs Photographers
  • Optional: professional decorators or florists 

Make sure to request quotes from three of each of the above vendors so you can secure competitive pricing options. 


Create Your Budget 

With the help of your student body government treasurer, it's time to review the quotes you received from your potential vendors and establish a budget. You can also review receipts from previous years to round out your expectations, but keep in mind that the price of vendors is on the rise and it may cost more this year than last year. 

Prioritize your must-haves, like a venue and a DJ, with your available funds. Create a separate budget for the nice-to-haves, like a photographer and a florist, and build your fundraising plan around that separate budget. Reserve additional funds for expenses that aren't related to vendors, such as store-bought decorations. 



Start Fundraising 

At this point in the homecoming dance planning checklist, it's time to start fundraising to pad your homecoming budget. Homecoming fundraising efforts should begin before the week of homecoming because many vendors will require you to sign a contract at least a few weeks before the big day. 

Consider fundraising options like: 

  • Bake sales
  • Car washes
  • Seasonally appropriate neighborhood outreach activities (e.g., lawn raking or lawn mowing) 

You can also contact local restaurants to ask about possible fundraising opportunities. Many local restaurants will dedicate a night to a specific school organization, donating a certain percentage of proceeds to that organization. Make sure to advertise the date and location of any restaurant partnerships to your community. 



Secure Your Vendors 

Next, start securing vendors. Start with your venue, which will ultimately determine the date of your homecoming dance. While many schools have homecoming dances on campus (the gym is a popular dance spot!), you can also consider hotel ballrooms or community gymnasiums. 

When dealing with vendors as part of planning homecoming, adult supervision is required to ensure that: 

  • All contracts are reviewed, signed and returned 
  • Copies of contracts are preserved for reference 
  • All vendors are appropriately accommodated based on the specifications of their contracts 

It is also helpful to have one volunteer manage all communications with vendors to ensure that no email or phone call goes unanswered. Vendors often have follow-up questions after you've booked them, so be prepared to stay in touch. 



Choose Your Homecoming Theme 

By now, your homecoming committee should have chosen at least two or three possible themes that require review and approval. Popular homecoming themes include: 

  • A Night Under the Stars 
  • Disco Fever 
  • Carnival Chic 
  • Masquerade 

Some homecoming committees will want general student body input, as well. Decide if you want to put the two or three themes to a vote. Whether or not the rest of the school weighs in, have a meeting to discuss what the possible theme entails and the vision your homecoming committee has in mind to make sure that it meets school guidelines. (This can also apply to prom and other dances, as well.) 



Purchase Homecoming Decorations 

While you can hire a professional decorator, many homecoming dances are decorated by volunteers. If you are not hiring anyone to tackle decorations, it's time to start purchasing decorations or supplies to make decorations. 

Before you start shopping, take an inventory of any supplies you already have on hand. Contact local party or craft stores to ask if they'll provide the school with a discount. If you can't store items early because they're perishable or too large, contact stores about putting those items on hold and picking them up the day of the dance. 



Sell Homecoming Dance Tickets 

The homecoming dance planning checklist recommends starting ticket sales at least two weeks before the big day. We recommend using ticket sales to recuperate your student body government's discretionary funds, rather than trying to boost your budget at the last minute. Follow these steps to ensure that ticket sales go smoothly: 

  • Announce ticket sales in the school paper, during daily announcements and with fliers or posters placed around campus 
  • Set up a ticket sales table before school, after school and during lunch periods 
  • Create a schedule to ensure that there are always volunteers available to staff your sales table 

These days, many students aren't walking around with cash on hand. Using a system like Vanco Payments makes it easy to sell school prom and dance tickets online by collecting credit card payments. This also makes it easy for students to buy tickets from home, rather than during school hours. 



Create a Day-Of Plan 

Before all of your homecoming events take off, create a day-of plan to reduce the chaos of preparing for, coordinating the details and hosting the homecoming dance. The day-of plan should include: 

  • A floor plan of your venue with spaces marked off for the DJ booth, tables and refreshments 
  • A detailed description or floor plan showing where your decorations, including lights, banners, balloon arches and more should go 
  • A schedule for your chaperones detailing when they should arrive, what duties they will fulfill and when the dance will end 
  • Any additional plans for things like a coat-check system, homecoming court announcements and more 

You should also assign one of your adult volunteers as the day-of coordinator who will keep the day-of homecoming planning checklist on hand and make sure that each step is completed successfully. 



Develop a Contingency Plan 

The last thing you want is to be caught off guard when it's time for your homecoming dance to start. Developing a contingency plan that you can use when something goes awry can prevent the event from falling apart at the last minute. 

Contingency plans should account for: 

  • Bad weather, especially if some or all of your event will be held outdoors 
  • Vendor errors 
  • A breach of school rules and how you'll handle students responsible for them 
  • Backup chaperones in case one or more of your volunteers is sick or unavailable 

In the best-case scenario, you won't need your contingency plan at all. However, you'll be glad to have one if the unexpected arises. 



Use Vanco Payments for Your Ticketing Software 

This homecoming dance planning checklist will spare you some of the stress and prepare you for the many obstacles that come with planning homecoming or any major school event. Now, it's time to secure your fundraising and ticketing software. 

Vanco Payments makes it easy to collect ticket sales online in a secure and intuitive manner. We also provide custom seating charts, card readers and ticket-scanning apps, making school event planning a breeze. Get started for free with our online ticketing software. 


Streamline Your Event Planning: Vanco’s Free Homecoming Kit Awaits

Imagine a homecoming so spectacular, it becomes the new standard. You might think this is a dream, but with Vanco's Free Homecoming Kit, it's your blueprint to reality.

This isn't just about planning an event; it's a journey to create a legacy. With each tool and resource in this kit, you'll feel the excitement building, the vision expanding, and the anticipation growing.


Your Toolkit for Success Contains:

  • Step-by-Step Guides & Checklists: Begin with confidence. These guides are more than instructions; they're your path to a flawless event.
  • Creative Fundraising & Spirit Ideas: Elevate your fundraising game. These innovative strategies aren't just effective; they redefine engagement.
  • Customization in Your Hands: Create a unique experience. From eye-catching promotional designs to heartfelt thank-yous, every detail can be yours.
  • Insider Strategies: Prepare for the unexpected. Our expert negotiation and emergency advice ensure you're ready for anything, turning challenges into triumphs.

Craft Your Legendary Event - Download the Kit Now!


Prepare for Homecoming and Other School Events with Free Checklists


There’s a lot to keep track of with any school event. That’s why we built three checklists, which will work for most school events, to simplify event management. The checklists and guides include the following… 

  • Prom event planning checklist. 
  • Homecoming event planning checklist and guide. 
  • A general school event planning checklist. 
Get the Free Checklists


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