Learn how to decorate a parade float with inexpensive float decor.
I've signed myself up this school year to become a troop leader for two of my girls that are in a scout program. It will definitely take a lot of planning to do all of our service projects and fun crafts, but if it was anything like last year, it will be well worth it! I love seeing little leaders develop. While they are making memories and messes, I'm going to embrace the fun and joy that our troop has throughout the year.
Fall weekends are all about school pride and homecoming! In every city and small town, communities are celebrating their school spirit as football season is upon us. This year, we did our first float as part of our hometown high school's homecoming parade. I wanted to gather up some of the lessons learned that I hope you can learn from as you endeavor in your own parade float.
In This Post
How to Decorate with Inexpensive Parade Float Ideas
#1. Get the Kids Involved
Kids love decorating floats - so reach out to your group and plan out a date or two for decorating. You'll need supplies like paint, scissors, glue, markers and crayons. Let me just warn you, it can get quite messy! Having wipes on hand can make cleaning up spilled paint or glue a breeze while you are decorating!
#2. Add Fringe to Your Parade Float
Fringe in your group's color provide a gorgeous and more professional look. It is an essential part of decorating your group's float! Here's my favorite type to use.
Here are some other products you can use for your float as well.
#3. Balloon Arches on your Parade Float
Balloon arches can be made out of inexpensive flexible PVC tubing.
My tip: Buy two PVC pipes, connect them and measure where you need to cut. Make sure that you cut it so that the connection point is not the center.
You'll need to blow up four balloons and tie them together in a cluster. Next, just twist and criss cross the balloons on the arch!
Homecoming parades normally occur in October, where its windy. So make sure you are careful about making sure that your arch is secure. If you don't want to go to the hardware store or make your own, check out a balloon arch kit.
Here are a few more ideas for the float arch:
#4. Make Signs for your Parade Float
This is the easiest item for your group to decorate when everyone shows up to your location to decorate. Create some signs for people that are walking around your float and ON your float! Another older troop helped create this amazing sign! You can use a craft cutting machine to get this done. You can tie the signs using zip ties.
#5. Yard Signs for Group Members
This was something I saw on another float that are keeping in mind for next year. Instead of printing flimsy posters, print out yard signs for photos of your troop and/or team to put on the float. That way, the signs are durable and reusable! Get some yard signs here.
#6. Pomping and Chicken Wire
You might want to wait on this if you have little ones, but it does make for awesome decor! I did a lot of pomping in college for floats. A LOT. You can either use chicken wire to STUFF the tissue (these are precut) in OR you can wrap the pomp around a marker and stick it in modge/podge onto the plyboard.
Pomping is literally just flour and water, but you can also buy premade pomp paste.
#7. Parade Float Seating with Straw Bales
We purchased six straw bales for around $40. I knew my little Kindergartners and first graders would complain about the scratchiness of them, so we threw moving blankets on top of the straw bales! You could easily put folding chairs as well if your trailers are big enough.
#8. Prepare Inexpensive Wheel Covers for your Parade Float
Our troop sells cookies as their major form on fundraising. So we themed our tire and wheel covers with cookies! Just grab some of these heavy duty ties to attach them to the wheel.
You could do something similar like helmets, soccer balls, and tennis baseballs. We made ours out of plywood and tied them using plastic ties.
#9. Stock your Parade Float with Candy and Necklaces
Make sure you have a lot of candy and necklaces on hand to throw out! Make sure you let the kids know not to throw them all at the very beginning of the parade route. Bulk parade necklaces here.
I would also go to the dollar store and grab plastic buckets instead of plastic bags.
#10. Wear Your Team Uniforms
This may be stating the obvious, but make sure all the kids wear their uniforms on the float! It will make for a more cohesive look as part of the homecoming fun (or whatever parade you are in).
These are my tried and true tips and tricks for doing your first float successfully.
#11. Get a Sponsor for your Parade Float
If you want to go all out and decorate your parade float without a big budget, try to ask for a business to sponsor you. If you agree to having their sign up as part of your parade, most businesses will be open to providing a budget in order for your group to decorate in order to advertise their business for them.
#12. Send Out Reminders for Parade Day
Here are a few reminders you may want to send to your parade group in preparation for getting on the float during parade day.
- Ensure that everyone has gone to the bathroom prior to getting on the float.
- Everyone should have their own candy and/or necklaces to throw.
- Rules are that only underhanded tosses are allowed.
- Bring your own drink that will last throughout the parade.
- To minimize the risk of kids getting sick, limit the consumption of candy on the actual float.
- Have some baby and antibacterial wipes in the case of a cleaning emergency.
- Have a First Aid Kit ready.
#13. Types of Parades
Now that you know all of the best tips and tricks for decorating a float for a parade, here are some parades that you should think about attending now that you have all the supplies:
- Homecoming Parade
- Church Parades
- Small Town Parades
- Kids Parades
- Summer Parade
- Independence Day, Patriotic, or Fourth of July Parade
- Christmas Parade
- St. Patrick's Day Parade
- Mardi Gras Parade
- Winter Parade
- Royalty Parade
- Spirit Parade
Homecoming Parade Float Ideas
Below are some photos of homecoming parade float ideas from our small town parade.
Bonus Tip for Audiences in Parade
Have a sign that says:
- Make this shot
- One for the home team
- I bet you can't make this
Have a laundry basket or a kids basketball hoop - you'll be amazed by how much candy gets thrown into these baskets.
Favorite Roundup of Inexpensive Parade Decor
Here is a round up of my favorite products that you can use to decorate a parade float.
I hope this provides some great ideas on how to decorate your parade float inexpensively! The best decorated parade floats start with a great parade that you want to be part of. Once you identify the parade, get your creativity going to make the float something that stands out. Creating your parade float doesn't have to be expensive. With these tips and tricks, you'll have a blast decorating your parade float!
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