How to Plan a Homecoming Party for a Returning Veteran

If a friend, family member, or spouse of yours is returning from Iraq, or other deployment, this a is a rough guideline on how to celebrate your vet's homecoming.


  1. Image titled Plan a Homecoming Party for a Returning Veteran Step 1
    Comfort first. The first thing on a returning veteran's mind is getting clean. He or she has been forced to shower for only 2 minutes at a time, if they even had access to a shower. A long shower or even better, a soak in a bathtub with a bottle of beer will be the most guaranteed thing to bring a huge smile to your veteran's face.
  2. Image titled Plan a Homecoming Party for a Returning Veteran Step 2
    Plan a party among friends: You are probably wondering what that has to do with a party. Nothing. But in the author's experience, that is the most commonly anticipated part of getting home. Now on to planning the party. First off, consider a party for multiple members of the vet's unit if possible. It will lighten the load for you, and the vet will be glad to be with friends. If that is not feasible, just have a little get together with friends and family at home. A barbecue in your backyard would be very pleasant, as they would be glad to just be home. Also, if they have a favorite bar or restaurant, see if that venue has an area you can reserve. Many restaurants do offer that service.
  3. Image titled Plan a Homecoming Party for a Returning Veteran Step 3
    Guest list. This should be easy, as the veteran probably already has many family members asking when the homecoming party is and how they can help. You can invite old friends if it is in his hometown. Or you can invite neighbors you get along with.


  • Be warned, the returning veteran will probably look much different. They may also seem distant. This is perfectly normal, and something you need to learn to cope with. Many behaviors will be changed, and some will stay changed forever. Don't say things like "I miss the old Jeff" or "You aren't the same Jill I married". These changes are not the veteran's fault, and will only depress them.
  • Expect the veteran to stick with people he knows well at the get together. He may tend to avoid crowded areas. This behavior does not always mean they have post traumatic stress. Keep in mind, they just spent the last several months surrounded by other people at all times. They crave solitude.
  • Ask the veteran what they are looking forward to most when they get home. That knowledge can give you an idea of what the general theme of the party can be.
  • Concerning the last tip, if they say they are looking forward to Chuck E. Cheeses, don't take them seriously. You can probably guess as to the origin of that tip.
  • Decorate the house with welcome home and include the returning vet's name on the banner.
  • Decorate the house with festive balloons or yellow ribbons.
  • Get permission from your city clerk to place welcome signs throughout your neighborhood.


  • Avoid dance clubs unless the veteran requests it. Dance clubs can cause stress for some vets. Check first before planning a party at a dance club.
  • Be aware that the veteran will be a very cheap drunk. After even three months of sobriety, they will most likely have to build up their alcohol resistance all over again. Keep this in mind before spiking the punch with Everclear.

Article Info

Categories: Theme Parties