The Century-Old History of HoCo

A tradition including royalty, football and dancing


Flickr CC - Duke_University_Archives

A 1940s Homecoming Queen is crowned.

Katherine Kilsey, Lion's Roar Staff

Countdown to the Homecoming Dance
Time to Dance!

Lincoln’s homecoming dance is right around the corner. Homecoming is a tradition at countless high schools all across the US that typically involves a pep rally, football game, and of course a dance. At LHS, homecoming means that it’s Spirit Week, which also includes battle of the classes leading up to homecoming. 

Every school has a slightly different perception of “homecoming”. For some schools, it serves as a “coming home” of sorts, where alumni can visit their old high school. However, homecoming for many students simply serves as a time to get glammed up and rep school spirit. The idea of the “homecoming dance” has been portrayed in numerous teen shows and movies, including Pretty Little Liars, Vampire Diaries, and Riverdale. While LHS may not have vampires roaming around the dance floor, it is still one of the most popular school events among the students, yet few are aware of the interesting history behind it.

Homecoming is a longstanding American school tradition. There is no data to show exactly which school actually created the idea of the homecoming dance, but the University of Missouri, Baylor University, and the University of Illinois have all claimed they began hosting homecoming festivities (mainly focused on a football game) in 1911, 1909, and 1910 respectively. While it’s not certain which one these schools was actually the first, the University of Missouri is credited by the NCAA, as well as game shows like (Jeopardy! And Trivial Pursuit) as the creator of homecoming. Despite the actual starting year, homecoming spread rapidly to become as mainstream and well-known as it is today.

The tradition of electing a homecoming king and queen came a little further down the road, closer to the 1930s. A king and queen, who were often seniors, were elected by the student body and usually chosen based on looks. Today, Lincoln has a homecoming court, where students can choose the classmates they think deserve the crown based on personality, kindness, and dedication.

At many schools in the US and in Lincoln specifically, longer and flowier dresses tend to be saved for prom and shorter ones are worn at homecoming. There may actually be a historical reason as to why this is the case: World War II. Between 1944 and 1946, as the war was heating up, many homecoming celebrations were brought to a halt with the intention of showing support to the US troops. Because of fabric rations during this time period, dresses worn to homecoming became shorter and more monotone, which is a style many opt for even in today’s time.

Lincoln’s homecoming dance is approaching on October 15. Within the next few days, students will be able to purchase tickets during the lunch periods. Keep an eye out for information posted by your class executive boards and student council, and don’t forget to participate in Spirit Week leading up to the long awaited dance.