Homecoming has its traditions that stretch from coast to coast.
The queen is crowned, gets teary-eyed and has a picture taken for the local newspaper. The football team runs through a sign drawn up by the cheerleaders before the big game. Old alumni come back to see old friends and witness how their football team is doing. The king and queen have a song together at the homecoming dance, as the rest of the student body looks on.
Roughly 90 percent of homecoming traditions are commonplace across America--rituals that are done at one school and repeated at thousands more.
But every once in a while, you run into a homecoming tradition that is unlike any other. Whether it's just uncommon in the region or unheard of anywhere, it's always fun to run into a homecoming ritual that's so unique, it's charming.
Here are a few:
An Annual Costume Party
A one-year coincidence became a timeless homecoming tradition at C.E. Jordan High in Durham, N.C.
Back in the 1980s, the Jordan High homecoming game happened to fall on Oct. 31. So the band dressed in Halloween costumes to perform the halftime show. It was an interesting break from the weekly matching uniforms high school bands usually wear when performing a structured routine.
The tradition stuck, even if the date didn't. Homecoming still comes annually at Jordan, but rarely does it fall on Halloween. No worries. The Jordan band takes the field at halftime dressed in Halloween costumes every year, no matter what the date is.
Imagine the humor: A collection of pirates, vampires, cowboys and Oompa-Loompas performing "The Planets" in late September.
It's turned competitive, too. Andrew Weiss, the director of bands at Jordan, sponsors a friendly competition between the different sections to see who can have the most creative Halloween costumes. Winner gets bragging rights, and that's enough to have band members spending loads of time coming up with a costume. Some take months to prepare for it.
So the best costumes over the years? Smurfs, Toy Story characters and a Monty Python theme stand out to Weiss. So does the biggie--one student dressed as an eight-foot tall Keebler Elf tree. And then he had to march the entire show.
"The kids," Weiss says, "really get into it."
Hey, it's tradition.
The Speedo Dash
At Cupertino High School near San Jose, Calif., the boys water polo team makes sure your average homecoming ceremonies are anything but.
Soon after the king and queen are crowned at halftime of the football game, the water polo team traditionally races out of the corner of the stadium and across the field to the other side--in nothing but Speedos.
It's a sight—-seeing the homecoming court dressed to perfection, and watching two dozen scantily clad 17-year olds interrupting the Kodak moment. But it's proven popular at Cupertino, with the stadium PA announcer declaring their entrance and the student body (well, the girls anyway) wildly cheering on their dash across the field.