Ditching the dance: 9 homecoming alternatives

If a gym full of sweaty teenagers isn’t your thing, here are WSS’ nine suggestions on how to spend homecoming night.

Alex Carlon

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Homecoming is a quintessential part of many students’ high school experiences. From finding the perfect dress to asking that special someone to be your date, the dance is an event that many await before the start of the year. But, not everyone finds this same charm in the frivolous rituals that accompany homecoming. For many, the evening of October 5 will be just like any other night – minus the onslaught of #hoco instagram posts. If you’re looking for something to do while your classmates hit the dance floor, here are WSS’ recommendations:

1: Hit the trampoline park

While getting down to “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” in the North Gym is no doubt a calorie-burner, heading to a nearby trampoline park offers a less claustrophobic alternative. With the majority of the other students in town preoccupied with hoco-related festivities, you and your friends will have the park all to yourselves.


Sara Baroncini
Planet 3 can prove to be entertaining and amusing with laughs sure to last the whole night.

2: Attend a fall festival

The evening of October 5 marks the perfect date to begin getting into the autumn spirit. Amana and Iowa City’s Oktoberfests, as well as North Liberty’s Fall Festival, will all be in full swing on the evening of homecoming. Stop by with friends or family to carve a jack-o-lantern or sip a pumpkin spice latte with full confidence that your classmates won’t be there to call you basic.   

3: Go bowling

If you’re a fan of loud music and jazzy footwear but school dances aren’t your thing, taking a trip to Colonial Lanes to bowl some strikes might be for you. With accompanying video games and a mini golf course, the bowling alley is sure to keep you entertained far longer than the three hours of homecoming.


Sara Baroncini
Many can overlook bowling as a fun way to spend the night, but with a few good friends and some snacks, you are sure to roll into a good time.

4: Treat yourself

If you’re skipping the pre-hoco manicure and hair styling this year, take a cue from “Parks and Recreation” and have a “Treat Yo’ Self” day instead. This could entail doing face masks, taking a bubble bath, or curling up with your favorite TV show.

5: See a movie

Revel in the fact that it’s officially Spooky Season by catching a horror flick the night of homecoming. “The Joker” and “It: Chapter 2” are both playing at the Coral Ridge Mall, so get your tickets and find a few friends to scream with.


Sara Baroncini
Going to the movies may seem like any occasional activity, but getting together on a night where most students are elsewhere can possibly reserve the theater almost to just you and your friends.

6: Have a photo shoot

Many students choose the night of homecoming to get dressed up and take high quality photos at one of IC’s more scenic locations. But, even if you’re skipping the dance, October 5 marks an ideal evening to plan a fall photoshoot. Get dressed up and find a particularly autumnal-looking tree to frolic around for some surely insta-worthy shots.

7: Get your life together

Your free Saturday night provides the perfect opportunity to finally tend to those tasks you’ve been putting off since the start of the school year. Use the evening of homecoming to take care of that pile of clothes sitting on your desk chair or that one overdue assignment you haven’t started.


Sara Baroncini
Getting organized and checking off tasks can relieve stress and assure you are ready for the next week to come.

8: Cook a gourmet meal

Though your classmates may have booked reservations at Iowa City’s finest dining establishments, you don’t have to break the bank to have a nice meal on October 5. Channel your inner Gordon Ramsey and find a fancy recipe to try out.

9: Throw your own homecoming

If the offerings at West High aren’t up to your standards, then why not throw your own homecoming dance for you and your friends? You can dress however you like, curate a playlist with music that’s not entirely from 2008, and dance like nobody’s watching. And bonus: your favorite teachers won’t be there to watch you break it down.