warm-upsHomecoming parades are a staple during the Fall season for many high schools across the US, and the floats that are included are quite the display! You want yours to stand out in the crowd and stir up excitement for your team!

Many schools will allow each class – freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior – to create their own float. In addition, some local businesses may participate. And of course, the football team has their own float, loaded with and surrounded by the team, coaches and cheerleaders.

So, what is the cheer squad’s role in building the float? Well, that will depend on your school. Some cheer squads will be solely responsible, while others might just be extra helping hands.

How to Start

  • Have everyone contribute their ideas for the float theme and décor, then have the group leaders (either captains or coaches) make the final decision for the float.
  • Decide who is going to work on the float, and which tasks (like painters, purchasers, designers, props and costumes) will be done by which people.
  • Secure both a float trailer and a vehicle to use for the parade. The vehicle will need to be able to tow the float, so find an SUV or truck. For your trailer, try to stick with 8 feet or less in width. This will make traveling easier and safer.
  • Find a location to build your float. Good places to look for are a garage that has a lot of space, or an unused shed…anywhere that can be secured in case of bad weather or vandals.

Decorating Tips
Here are a few basics for your float design:

  • Chicken Wire. This is used as the basic framework for your masterpiece, and the decorations will be attached to it. Look for wire with 1″ openings.
  • Tissue Paper Squares. You can use colorful tissue paper to fill in the holes of the chicken wire. You can also use different colors to make patterns or words.
  • Fake Grass. This is a great pop of color for the floor of your float, and it can even represent a football field!
  • Balloons. You can get big Mylar balloons, make a balloon bouquet or just use individual balloons all over the float to add some color and depth.
  • Streamers. These can be used all over the float, but give high impact if you attached them to the back so that they blow in the wind during the parade.

Common Questions
Who drives the float vehicle?
This will be up to the athletic staff, but the safest best is to have an experienced adult drive. Preferably someone that has driven for a parade before.

What should you do if it rains?
The parade organizers will let everyone know if they are going to delay or cancel the parade. There are many décor options that are waterproof, so consider using those just in case.

General Tips

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to plan and decorate. Building a float is a lot of work, takes a lot of people, and a lot of time. Don’t stress out your volunteers by waiting too long to get started.
  • Keeping your idea easy is the best route. Moveable parts, exaggerated decorations and unrealistic expectations will dampen the experience for everyone. Simple but well done can be impressive!
  • If you have the space, try to take the float for a test run to make sure everything holds up and looks the way you want it. Try to do the test run a week or two before the parade so that there is time to make any necessary improvements.
  • Be prepared for any weather by having cute team warmups ready if needed.