Today: Jun 16, 2024

This week kicks off Southern’s ‘A Haunted Homecoming’


When students at Southern, like Jillian Waldron, think of a school homecoming the first thing that may come to mind is glitz, glamour and flare. But this year’s homecoming committee has taken “flare” and replaced it with “scare” following the idea of a haunted homecoming.

Homecoming has been a Southern tradition for over 30 years, according to the homecoming committee, and this year they are making it a haunting experience completed with all the late-October components: Halloween decorations, food, music and fun.

“When I think of a school homecoming, what comes to mind is the same stereotypical dance where there’s nice decorations and it’s kind of tame,” said Waldron, a nursing major, “but when I heard about the haunted homecoming, I thought that was different and glad they are incorporating a different theme rather than the same old ‘pretty’ homecoming theme.”

In fact, all of Southern’s homecomings have been themed differently since the start to make room for improvements each year, according to Nikki Hutchinson, graduate intern to Student Life.

“Our theme changes every year,” said Hutchinson. “This year it is ‘A Haunted Homecoming.’ Every year homecoming differs from the next. This happens because as each homecoming passes we get student feedback and discuss among the volunteers and Student Life what went right and what did not. We try our best to improve the event in any way possible. There is always room for improvement.”

According to, an online database of more than 100,000 events and activities, the original homecoming tradition included a football game, which served as the focal point. The events included rallies, parades, speeches and dances. These were intended to unite alumni and students to create a stronger sense of school pride and they were wildly successful. Homecoming celebrations quickly became popular on college and university campuses, and by the 1920s homecoming had taken root across the U.S. as an American tradition.

Hutchinson said the outcome of students attending homecoming increases each year, as the committee has a strong team of volunteers and their publicity for the event has become more advanced.

“When it comes down to the students attending events, we have an awesome turnout,” said Hutchinson. “Over the years we have definitely improved our publicity strategy. Volunteer numbers have increased as well.”

The eventful homecoming week kicks off Oct. 24 and includes a pep rally, tailgating, football game and the actual homecoming dance located in the Adanti Student Center ballroom and ends Oct. 29.

Director of Commuter Student Services and this year’s current Homecoming Chair, Dawn Holmes, said that amongst the events, there is a spooky surprise in store for students.

“We originally thought of a circus theme, but since its Halloween time [the committee] decided to do a zombie homecoming theme,” said Holmes. “Students brainstorm and it’s ultimately what students want to explore. There is also a Thriller flash mob, but I can’t say when it will be.”

“Homecoming is all about the students, showing school spirit, and it’s a lot of fun,” said Holmes, “but more importantly it’s that sense of belonging and having students and the community connecting with one another and having a good time.”

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