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5 Rejected Homecoming Themes and Their Giveaway Items

High school homecoming is a magical evening filled with unforgettable memories with friends where everyone gets all dolled up, dances the night away, celebrates your school, and gets some sweet free swag out of the deal. Or as I remember it, a whole lot of fighting in the weeks prior to the dance while trying to make plans for the perfect evening, an overpriced dress, a gym full of sweaty, stinky teenagers, sore feet, and being surrounded by dance moves that make you feel like you’re in the middle of a “Girls Gone Wild” video.

The theme for this delightful evening is typically decided on by the student government’s homecoming committee, and they usually come up with something like “A Night to Remember,” “Under the Sea,” or “Majestic Moments in Space.” You get the idea. Since homecoming season is upon us, I’ve come up with a few homecoming themes that would never get the approval of any student government, and I offer some suggestions for promotional products that could be used to promote said event.

Hunger Games homecoming

“This is super fun! It’s a shame I have to kill you now!”

“The Hunger Games” Oh, this will be fun! You can divide students based on the cliques that they’d be spending the whole evening with anyway, and each clique can be considered a district. Then, as the magical night goes on set up a series of obstacles and have the cliques of students fight to the death! We all know that’s what they want to do to each other anyway. PLUS, they’re all dressed in formal wear for an added challenge – take that, Katniss!  These cinch-up backpacks are just like the ones in the Hunger Games movie, and can be used for students to store various survival tools and weapons. You can imprint clique’s “district” and the homecoming date and theme on these backpacks so that the students who survive will surely remember the evening forever.

“The Magic of Acne” We all know that the real stars of the evening are the massive acne breakouts due to all the stress of making plans for this event. So why not get dressed to the 9s to not only celebrate school spirit, but to honor the one uniting factor among high school students: acne!  As students leave their magical evening, make sure each one gets this handy first aid kit so they can keep any surprise acne breakouts in check.

homecoming dresses

“We were too busy paying $400 for our dresses to even understand what this theme means!”

 “What recession?” Everyone keeps saying that times are tough, but somehow kids (or rather, their parents) can afford dresses or tuxes upwards of $300, a limo, and fancy dinner. Let them live it up for now – their time to be hit by the harsh realities of the real world is coming – but be sure to shamelessly make fun of them and their frivolous ways with this theme that completely mocks them. These kids clearly need to learn about saving their money, so the obvious giveaway for this event would be a piggy bank.

 “Midnight in Guantanamo Bay” You can go a couple of different routes with this theme. You can either allow students to dress up in formal wear, or you can require that they wear orange jumpsuits. Either way, dance chaperones should be dressed in military uniforms and should carry pretend rifles. (You can go with real ones if you’re REALLY committed to the theme, but fake ones should be just fine.) With this theme your students will feel like they are really enjoying a romantic evening under the stars within barbed wire confinements in Guantanamo Bay. It’s hard to deny how perfect a few Jars of Knives would be to promote this event, but if that’s a little too hardcore for you, you can always go with the Military Truck Stress Reliever.

party like it's 1851

I do NOT think that’s how they partied in 1851, SIRS.

 “Party Like it’s 1851” In case you were wondering, no, there’s not really any cultural significance to this year – it was just a long time ago. This theme allows you to enforce strict dancing rules and dress codes. You can forgo the whole inappropriate part about homecoming by requiring students to wear traditional 1850s garb and ballroom dance. You have a lot of options for giveaways here. You can go with something patriotic like the Eagle Stress Ball, or something like the Gold Bar Stress Reliever because the California gold rush was going on during this time in history. You can even just go with something boring like a lanyard. The key here is to make sure these kids don’t have ANY fun.

None of those ideas seem suitable for your special snowflake students? Never fear! I’ve got some runners up: “Serial Killers Through the Ages,” “The Most Overrated Night of the Year (Besides Prom),” “Burn Ward Masquerade,” “50 Shades of Grey,” or “Celebrate School Spirit by Grinding on Your Friends, Significant Others, and Complete Strangers!”

As you can see, no matter what your theme, we’ve got a promotional product to help you set the mood. If you’ve already planned a more traditional theme and you’re looking for promo items for that event, you can’t go wrong with a simple, fancy keychain. Or, perhaps a star-shaped keychain will better match your theme.  When in doubt, go with a classic silver photo frame.

As you think back on the magic that was your high school homecoming, what were some of the promotional products you received? Got any other rejected theme ideas or promo product suggestions? Show your spirit in the comments below!

Photos courtesy of OakleyOriginals, The U.S. Army, and wishymom (Stephanie Wallace Photography).



Bubba is the Quality Logo Products mascot. He may have started out as "just a stress ball," but he's come a long way since the company's launch in 2003. Bubba has been immortalized in numerous vector artwork designs for internal and external promotions, and you can see him change outfits on the Quality Logo Products homepage whenever a holiday rolls around. Oh, and he thinks pants are for the birds. You can connect with Bubba on


  1. Myrtle

    Might I add, it’s super hard to get a table at any resturant in Naperville durring the homecoming season… 🙂 Great article on all fronts!

    • Jenna Markowski

      Very good point! I haven’t spent much time in Naperville since I graduated, but I would imagine homecoming season wreaks havoc on downtown!

  2. Mikey

    …wait, we actually sell a “Jar of Knives”?! That’s …um …unexpected. Heh, I suppose that just goes to prove that we really do have something for any occasion. A great, entertaining article!

    • Eric

      Any excuse to plug the infamous, good ‘ol “Jar of Knives.”

      One could only wish more things came in such quantities as “Jar of ___.”

      …such as bacon.

      Funny stuff, Jenna!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Yup! It’s one of the rare gems on our website and a QLP blog squad favorite. 🙂

      • Jenna Markowski

        Haha, ah yes, the magic of the Jar of Knives. Glad you liked the post, Mikey and Eric!

  3. Ness

    I think that I might want to have an 1851 themed party now…

    • Jenna Markowski

      It does have the potential to be a pretty good time. Taken out of the homecoming context it could be cool to dress up in fancy old fashioned outfits and ballroom dance for a night!

  4. Chase

    HAHA! Love it! My homecoming was lame…

    • Jenna Markowski

      Thanks, Chase! My homecomings were pretty, lame, too. I think that’s part of the *magic*.

  5. Jill Tooley

    Haha! This post is too funny, Jenna. I could actually see the Hunger Games theme happening (sans the obvious part) due to its vast popularity among teenagers. But the rest of these will surely stay rejected.

    I love that the goal of the 1851 theme is to make sure the kids aren’t having any fun! Can you imagine spoiled teens of today trying to ballroom dance? Or how they’d react if you gave them a lanyard as a favor? They’d probably freak out. Priceless.

    Thanks for the laughs! 🙂

    • Jenna Markowski

      Thanks, Jill! You’re totally right, the Hunger Games theme very well might have been a theme. It was part of NCC’s Springfest theme last year, anyway.

      Haha, I love the idea of kids losing their minds over a boring 1851 theme. If only we could get a homecoming committee somewhere to make that happen. 🙂

  6. Amy Swanson

    All my high school ever had for themes were: “Under the Sea” or “Paris at Midnight”, and I’m pretty sure my freshman year it was a ‘fiesta theme’. Lame.

    Your suggestions on the other hand are great and creative! Plus, any excuse to give out our ‘Jar of Knives’ item is a-okay in my book 😉

    Great job, Jenna!

    • Jenna Markowski

      My school had some pretty lame themes, too. I think one year we had a jungle theme. And I’m pretty sure my prom theme was, “A Night to Remember.” Blech.

      Thanks, Amy! I don’t know if I’d trust a bunch of high schoolers with a Jar of Knives, but I totally agree — any excuse to use that item is fine by me! 🙂

  7. Mandy Kilinskis

    I’m pretty sure that we had a Hollywood-themed Homecoming dance one year. Otherwise, I couldn’t even tell you what the themes were. Probably something generic like, “Year of Memories!” or “Dare to Dream!”

    I have this terrifying image of people also trying to set their dresses on fire a la Katniss. Make sure your school has fire extinguishers handy!

    Most terrifying rejected Homecoming theme ever? “Upton Sinclair’s ‘The Jungle’.”

    • Jenna Markowski

      Those themes sound right up there with cheesy, cliche homecoming themes.

      Good suggestion with the fire extinguishers. A whole bunch of “girls on fire” could end up more suitable for the “Burn Ward Masquerade” theme!

      Yikes, that one would be pretty scary! I think I’d have to pass on homecoming that year.

  8. Cybernetic SAM

    Wow! This was hilarious! I think my favorite was the “Party Like it’s 1851” I think more homecoming themes should be off the wall, it would certainly make it more memorable. Great Post!

    • Jenna Markowski

      Thanks, Sam! I totally agree. No one remembers those lame, cliche themes. Something wacky like these (but maybe slightly more appropriate) would be unforgettable!

  9. Rachel

    Yeah, I have no recollection of any of my homecoming themes. Heck, I was ON prom committee and I don’t remember what theme that was, either. Way to go, memory.

    I believe we got star keychains, though. Those were pretty cool. So, great suggestion there, Jenna! 🙂

    • Jenna Markowski

      Haha, it’s so funny that you were even on the committee and don’t remember the theme!

      BOO YA! Nailed it! Thanks for reading, Rachel! 🙂

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