Homecoming can be an exciting time for students everywhere! It is a place where you gain school spirit, get to look your best, and spend time dancing and having a good time with other teenagers. It’s a fun social event but is it one that everybody, including 8th graders, is invited to attend?
Typically, 8th graders are not permitted to attend homecoming with a high schooler. Rules and policies vary, but high school dances are typically exclusive to high school students, and sometimes, only the upperclassmen. However, 8th graders can often attend homecoming as guests at other schools.
The rules surrounding this particular issue can be a bit confusing at times, but most of the time, 8th graders can’t attend a high school dance at their local high school, though they might be permitted to another high school’s homecoming as a guest. You’ll probably end up needing to contact the relevant high school for more info, but here are a few tips that should help give you some answers.
Can an 8th Grader Attend Homecoming?
As mentioned earlier, it is not typical for high schools to allow 8th graders to school dances. Don’t lose hope though, because there are some high schools out there that have different policies that do allow for students of younger ages to attend with older students. Some schools have policies that vary based on age, status in the school, and the student’s behavioral record.
In some cases, if an 8th grader is taken to a dance as a guest, this is not a problem. However, some students try to do this as a way of “sneaking” younger students into dances. This is not recommended not only because it’s dishonest, but because most schools have you fill out forms that request the age of your date as well as your date’s status at their school.
In general, you should not count on being able to take an 8th-grade student to a high school dance. If it is really important to you, you should immediately contact the high school that is hosting the said dance. Someone from the office should be able to tell you what the school’s policies are and whether or not bringing an 8th grader is okay.
Now, because not all high school policies are the same, you might be able to find a way around this particular issue. You will need to do your research and carefully weigh the possibilities. At the end of the day, if it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to get your 8th-grade date in, you may need to make other plans. After all, you don’t want to ruin the night for yourself or anyone else.
8th Grade: Middle School or High School?
One thing to consider is whether 8th grade is included in high school or middle school in your area. This could mean the difference between whether you can take an 8th grader to homecoming.
Typically, 8th grade is the final year of middle school for students. It’s rare, but in some places, 8th grade is the freshman year of high school. If this is the case, you might be able to take an 8th grader to homecoming because they’ll be an actual student of the high school. It’s much easier for the high school’s students to attend than it is for guests to attend.
The only time when this might not work in your favor is if homecoming is an exclusive dance (though this isn’t likely). At some high school dances, only the upperclassmen are permitted to attend (the word upperclassmen refers to juniors and seniors). Generally, however, homecoming is much more open, and usually, all the students at the high school are invited to go.
Prom, on the other hand, is a formal dance where, most often, only upperclassmen are allowed to attend. Now, there is a loophole here. If 8th grade is indeed considered the first year of high school and not the last year of junior high/middle school in your area, then an 8th grader/freshman could attend if they were asked by an older student to go. The same is true of sophomores.
General Homecoming Rules
Now, if you have managed to find a way to take an 8th grader to homecoming, there are still going to be certain rules implemented that everyone, regardless of whether they’re a guest or not, will be expected to follow. The level of attentiveness to these rules could make a huge difference in how much you enjoy your night as well as whether or not you get to take who you want to take.
The eligibility rules are, first and foremost, the most important to be followed. First, the age rules. Sometimes, as mentioned above, students who are younger than 16 may not be permitted to go, no matter what grade they’re in (though this mostly only applies to prom). If you or someone you take has been discovered breaking the eligibility rules, you may not be able to attend some dances in the future.
A student’s eligibility will also partially be determined by their track record as well as their behavioral record. If you or your 8th-grade date have low enough grades and poorly recorded performance, there might be some barriers between you and that dance. This sounds a bit extreme and it’s not always something that’s implemented, but some schools do employ these kinds of restrictions.
Similarly, if you have been reprimanded for misconduct of any kind (any sort of smoking, drinking, or other infraction against the school’s rules), that will show up on your record. Depending on the severity of this misconduct, it, too, could keep you (or your date) from attending, homecoming, prom, and any other dances that might be hosted by your school.
While every school is different, most schools enforce rules that no inappropriate behavior can take place during the dance. Inappropriate dancing and similar kinds of undignified behavior could get you kicked promptly out of the dance. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at the dance! Just be mindful of your actions so you don’t get reprimanded for anything.
The same is true if any of those activities take place at the dance itself. You could promptly be kicked out if you indulge in that kind of behavior. It’ll be different for you as a high schooler, however. If your date, who is an 8th grader, were to be caught drinking, smoking, or doing something else that breaks the rules, both of you and your parents could end up in legal trouble.
A strict dress code is not enforced by all high schools but almost every high school has a dress code of some kind. If you or your date are infamous for breaking the dress code at school, this could negatively impact your eligibility to go to homecoming. You might also be asked to leave the dance if your dress does not comply with the code there, either.
If you’re planning on bringing an 8th-grade guest to homecoming, you may get away with it if the age rules at your school are not strict. However, you’ll likely have to fill out your date’s personal information on a permission slip. If the slip passes inspection, you’ll have to show your student ID at the door. You can use that to vouch for any guest from another school.
Simply put, make sure you’re following the rules and guidelines set up for any dances you go to, not just homecoming. And if you do end up bringing an 8th-grade guest, you’ll need to make sure they do the same. Now, you may not be able to bring an 8th grader. Worst case scenario, you’ll have to wait a year or two until they become old enough to attend the dance as a high schoolers themselves.
Middle School Dances
Now you might be thinking, it doesn’t seem all that fair to make 8th graders and other middle schoolers wait until high school to enjoy social events such as dances. In many areas, middle schools host their own dances for their students to attend. It’s not quite the same as homecoming, but it’s at least a start.
Middle School Dances vs. High School Dances
So how different are middle school and high school dances? In middle school, rather than taking dates, students are often encouraged to dance with a variety of people. Some schools even have a rule enforced that requires the students to dance with everybody they are asked by. Even if they’re different, however, middle school dances can be fun.
The only catch is that you still may not be able to attend a dance with your 8th-grade boyfriend or girlfriend. High school students are rarely to be seen at middle school dances, and even if they were allowed to go, most of them probably wouldn’t want to in the first place because they won’t have much in common with anyone there (age especially).
What Kinds of Dances do They Have?
For all you 8th graders who are longing to go to dances, you’re in luck. Middle school dances are certainly different (with different rules) than high school dances, but they can still be fun! There are no homecoming dances or proms there, but there have been known to be masquerade dances, glow-in-the-dark dances, Halloween dances, and several others.
You can also enjoy a few other themes such as the 80s, 70s, and old Hollywood. So, before all you 8th graders get too upset, remember that you can enjoy a few dances right in the gym of your own school. And again, if you’re determined to go to a high school dance with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you may just need to wait a year until you’re eligible.
The Dress Code
Now, let’s assume that you’ve gotten everything figured out; you and your 8th-grade date have filled out all the right forms, you’ve bought the tickets, and everything is all set. Now all that’s left to do is find something to wear. Bear in mind, however, that the dress code is a large part of what will keep you in the dance without getting in trouble. Let’s talk about some specifics.
As mentioned before, keeping the dress code is important if you want to be able to remain at the event. There are a few restrictions, but for the most part, schools allow both boys and girls to wear what suits them. First, we need to address the formality rule.
Guys should never show up to homecoming in jeans. Homecoming is less formal than prom but it’s still a formal dance. Guys should dress up and not dress down, though buying or renting a tuxedo is not usually necessary. A suit and tie will do just fine in most situations. Plus, then the guy’s tie can match his date’s dress which is always fun.
As far as the girls are concerned, they just need to make sure their dresses aren’t too short, too see-through, or too long. Technically, your dress could be as long as you want it to be, but most people wear long dresses to prom and not a homecoming. If you want to blend in, shorter dresses are recommended.
However, you still need to be mindful of how short your dress is. Too short and you’re likely to get asked to leave. You don’t want it to be see-through either, not just because you’ll violate the dress code but because that might lead to some personal wardrobe complications and discomfort.
And for both groups, being careful about the thickness of your clothing is a good idea. This is less a dress code concern than common sense. If you wear extra thick clothing, you’ll regret it because you’ll heat up pretty quickly and that could seriously decrease your enjoyment of the evening. Don’t wear anything see-through, but make sure you aren’t wearing sweater-like apparel either. Be mindful about what you wear and homecoming will be a blast for both of you!