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Pep Rally Tips and Themes

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Pep Rallies can be a very stressful responsibility, but with the right planning it can be very successful and fun for everyone! Provided below are some tips on pre-planning, coming up with themes, setting an outline, and getting things ready for the pep rally. And to help get the creative juices flowing, theme ideas for your pep rallies are listed below as well. As always, if you hit a roadblock, contact your NCA State Director for help.

Pep Rally Tips


  • Do a survey at your school and find out just what the students are interested in being a part of and seeing at the pep-rallies.
  • Continue traditions that have already been started but add to the traditions for variety
  • Make sure that you include everyone (school clubs too) in the pep-rallies and spirit days.
    • You can have a different club or organization do a skit with the mascot each week, then at the end of the season, hand out a prize for the most creative skit.
    • Have hall decorating contests between clubs or organizations
    • Have a contest to see which club or organization can get the most group members dressed up in the spirit day.
  • Plan to hold contests between classes or between school clubs or organizations at the actual pep rallies too
    • Section off the gym or auditorium where the pep-rally is held so that each class has a different section to sit in.
    • Make a decorated spirit stick and have a spirit contest between the classes at the end of each pep-rally.
      • You can simply have them make noise or make up a cheer that each class has to yell.
      • Try having physical participation games and contests where members from each class come down and participate.
      • Alternate with a variety to keep it interesting.
  • Get local businesses to donate prizes for all the contests.
    • Do this in the summer or early in the year to save time during the season.
  • Ask members from the theatre department to run sound and MC the pep-rally.
    • This is another way to get other groups involved.
  • Don’t just honor the football team at pep-rallies, include other sports teams in games played and do introductions and updates from their teams.
    • The more people involved, the bigger turn out you will have.
  • Make sure that all ideas are approved by the administration.
  • The most important thing is to keep the pep-rally flowing so make sure you do not allow for any down time in your planning, try to plan to take up every second of the allotted time!
    • A good MC can help make sure you have no downtime.
    • Also communicate to the drum major of the band what the plan is so they can start playing as immediately when it’s their turn, no lag time!


  • Do simple dress up themes to keep everyone in the spirit throughout the day.
    • Think of dress up themes that will not cost kids/parents much if any money in order to participate.
    • Make sure to always enforce the dress codes when doing dress up days.
  • Have the theme not only tie in with the dress but also with the majority of your pep-rally acts.
  • Think of popular songs, movies, or TV shows to inspire your themes.
  • Announce the themes ahead of time, and have signs and flyers posted around the school at the beginning of each week.
  • Dress a mannequin, old mascot suit, or hang on a hanger a sample of how to dress up in the theme.
  • Encourage the teachers and principals to participate in the dress up themes and in the games and skits at the pep-rallies.
  • Play music randomly over the intercom that relates to the theme during the day.
    • Talk with your administrators and see if you can do this the last 30 seconds of each class period, or maybe just once or twice before the pep rally that day
    • Use this same music during the pep-rally as students enter the facility.
  • Have themes rhyme with the opposing team’s name to be a little catchier.
    • Start off by taking all the teams that you play and come up with as many catchy sayings for them.
    • Narrow down the choices to the one phrase that you can come up with the most ideas for and that is the theme for the pep-rally.
    • Get members from each club at your school to join a committee to help come up with ideas. This way there are more people from all over the school coming up with ideas.
  • Make sure that themes change from year to year unless it is a tradition.
  • Have the team and coaches enter in different ways that relate to the themes.
    • Not just with the music, but have them ride in on a tractor or motorcycle, or be carried in on a surfboard.
  • Try to add school service projects in with some of the themes to help out the community and other needy organizations in the area.

Pep Rally Outline

  • Establish a basic outline that students will become familiar with.
    • By doing so, they may be more apt to participate!
  • Sample outline – add or take away as needed to fit time allotted
    • Have band playing music as students enter until everyone arrives
    • Fight Song (cheer and drill)
    • Opener – Fun routine by cheer, drill, song, mascots that uses the theme
    • Band performs (cheer quick pick up routines)
    • Welcome (MC)
    • Drill team performs
    • Intro coaches/team (special entrance using theme if possible)
    • Open performance: choir, drum line, club
    • Intro second sport if applicable: volleyball, wrestling, swimming
    • Cheerleaders perform a dance
    • Open performance: stomp, theater, club
    • Mascot skit
    • Tumble time (Band plays while cheerleaders tumble)
    • Student Competition
    • Dr. Who
    • Victory (class competitions for spirit stick)
    • Time for sports team to do their exit/team cheer/breakdown
    • Alma Mater

Closer to the Pep Rally

  • Make sure that you have all music, supplies and props for each pep-rally early in the week.
  • Always do a practice run through of the pep-rally.
    • View all performances to make sure that everything is school appropriate.
  • Designate people to bring certain materials that will be needed.
  • Do a sound check on all music and mics that will be used in the pep-rally.

Pep Rally Theme Ideas

"Hula the Hawks" or "Lei out the Lions"

  • Pass out lei’s as students enter the school or sell them as a fundraiser.
  • Have the dance/drill team perform a Hawaiian style dance.
  • Put lei’s on the football players as they walk in.
  • Do a hula-hoop, limbo, or hula contest.

"Can the Cowboys"

  • Dress in class colors
    • seniors wear red as the "Red hot chili peppers"
    • juniors blue as the "Big bad blueberries"
    • sophomores orange as the "Outrageous oranges"
    • freshmen green as the "Great green beans"
    • teachers black as the "Bad black eyed peas"
  • Sponsor a canned food drive that week.
    • Donate to a local food bank.
    • Make it a contest between grade levels or between a certain period class. Give out small rewards to the winners.
    • Contact the opposing team and have a contest between schools.
    • Announce the results at the pep-rally and game.
  • Line the cans up around the gym for decorations or have an art class make paper mache sculptures of canned food to display.
  • Have the mascots perform a skit where the opposing team’s mascot gets thrown in a trashcan.
  • Do a canned food relay with a bat spin or hopping on one foot.

"Mix up the Mustangs"

  • All groups that perform in the pep-rally switch roles, like the teachers or football players perform as cheerleaders, or cheerleaders and dancers switch places.
  • Have the students dress up in mix-matched clothes.
  • Do a contest where you have to unscramble a code to win.

"Plow the Farmers"

  • Dress up in overalls.
  • Have upbeat country music playing when students enter the gym.
  • Play musical chairs to The Farmer and the Dale.
  • Decorate with hay bales or bring in a tractor to display.
  • Do a kiss the pig or goat contest with popular teachers or players.

"Send the Jags to the Jungle"

  • Have the team enter to Welcome to the Jungle.
  • Dress up in camo or animal print.
  • Have the JROTC perform a skit.
  • Do a tug of war competition.

"Punk the Pirates" or "Rock the Raiders"

  • Dress in your favorite bands T-shirt, or dress as a rock star if the dress code allows.
  • Have a student play the National Anthem on electric guitar.
  • Performance from the drum line.
  • Have an air guitar or head-banging contest.
  • Get a student or local band to perform.
  • Have them team enter or perform a dance to We will Rock you.

"Put the Panthers in the past"

  • Have each class dress in different time periods from the past.
  • Find a student or teacher to sing a song from Grease, get the dancers to swing dance and teachers to perform as backup singers.
  • Perform and old school cheer and wear long skirts, or have teachers perform a cheer from their high school days.
  • Do a dance contest with music from different time periods.

"Ice out the Indians"

  • Decorate the gym in blue.
  • Have a coolest teacher/player contest. Whoever sits on the ice the longest during the pep-rally wins the title
  • The team can enter to Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby.
  • Dress up in blue or winter clothing.

"Injure the Indians"

  • Dress in bandages, slings, or crutches.
  • Do a relay on crutches.

Other themes

  • Hillbilly
  • Mission Impossible
  • Reality TV
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Patriotic
  • Thriller (Halloween time)
  • Fireman
  • Beach theme
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