My Top Five Most Ridiculous New Prom Traditions

What’s happening to high school Prom?

We already know there’s so much drama surrounding the event that Hollywood has immortalized it in movies like Pretty in Pink, Ten Things I Hate About You, and Carrie—you know, typical tales of unrequited love, fighting couples, pig’s blood and telekinesis (ok, maybe Carrie isn’t the best example). But now senior prom has reached a frenzy once reserved only for weddings—just without the gift registry (although that’ll be next, I’m sure).

Prom used to be just a dance in a high school gym decorated by the pep club. Now there are party buses with TV screens that drive students to urban hotels for catered dinners followed by club-hopping after the dance.

It’s getting out of control.

To help put an end to the madness I’ve compiled my list of the Top Five Most Ridiculous New Prom Traditions. If your child is smack dab in the middle of Prama Season (Prom + Drama = Prama) it may be too late to stop it, but if your kid isn’t quite there yet, there is hope.

1. Let’s start with the “Prom-posal” (yes, that’s an actual thing). I know boys who have choreographed flash mobs, girls who have asked someone via the Jumbotron at the Chicago Bulls game and someone who used the loudspeaker at school to get a date. I wanted my son to go old school and simply ask his date. They’ve been dating for nearly a year so it’s not like she was courting other offers but that wouldn’t do. After scouring the web he found this idea:



Still a little much for me but at least he didn’t try to arrange a celebrity prom-posal. Seriously, if you are the girl on the receiving end of a prom proposal initiated by actor, Bryan Cranston, aren’t you going to be a tad disappointed when your boyfriend asks you to marry him on a bended knee with nothing more then a ring in a box?

2. The cost. WTF? You could feed a small country with the price of this one night. My kid shelled out a lot of money for dance tickets, a tux rental, a corsage, and a limo. On the plus side, at least he didn’t need to get a spray tan, a manicure, a pedicure and an updo.

3. The details. The pictures! They should be at a house with a pleasant backdrop (aka not my house). The limo! It needs to have flashing lights, music and videos for the hour-long drive to and from the party venue. The after party! See #5 below.

4. The venue. My mom was reminiscing about decorating the gym and serving punch and cookies at her prom ala Grease. I know that’s never going to happen but do they really need to drive 45 minutes to a hotel in the city for the dance? I guarantee there are hotels and halls in the ‘burbs that could accommodate the party without forcing a trek into the city. They could take a page out of the original Footloose and host it in a barn across the county line! (Wow! There really are a lot of prom moments in movies.)

5. The after-party. Yes, there is an after-party in addition to the picture pre-party, the party itself and, often, the day after party. The after party used to be just hanging out at someone’s house but now there are all-ages dance clubs, comedy clubs and boat parties with DJs to continue the fun. In Manhattan there’s even a company that caters to the after-prom party set.

So what is a parent to do? Do you say no to the craziness? Can you if you aren’t footing the bill?

I think it’s a slippery slope.

You’ve been warned.



14 responses to this post.

  1. Great post! This is insane.You are right, it’s the parents that have to start saying “no” to this stuff.



  2. Posted by Rosemary on April 30, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Don’t forget the sleepovers!! One of the generous (read: naive) parents offers to have the “kids” spend the night after prom. In high school If I had spent that much time in a 24 hour period with my friends we wouldn’t be friends afterward. WAY too much orchestrating.
    Spot on observations, Connie!



    • Sleepovers! Completely forgot about those! I also agree about too much togetherness – you would think their non-stop texting would keep them together enough but an entire day and then some would push me over the edge.



  3. Posted by Mary Kakavas on May 1, 2014 at 12:38 am

    I’m from the old school. When proms were dancing in the school gym. All seniors got in the act of decorating the gym. We had punch and cookies – even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And guess what our teachers would stand by the punch bowls so some wise guy or gal wouldn’t SPIKE the punch. We had old fashioned fun. It didn’t cost our parents and arm and a leg. But times change. But the article was of so true.
    Great writing.



  4. Posted by Dale on May 2, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    It is totally nuts. Even in my day..waaaaaaaay back in 1981, we bought a dress (this particular year, the girls were anti-long-dresses in my school), the boys wore a suit, though most just wore nice pants and shirts, we used my mom’s car to get there and it was, yes, at a hotel in town and the parents (!) were invited for dinner but not for the after stuff, which was in a friend’s backyard ending with breakfast made by her parents! No limos, no tuxes…



  5. Posted by Christina Jones on May 3, 2014 at 2:05 am

    Article; Funny. Sign of the times; not so funny.

    Christina Jones,LCSW Psychotherapist & Consultant




  6. It is just excessive ridiculousness like so many other things in our culture right now. My question is how do all the parents afford this in these crazy economic times? Love the post.



  7. Guess what? It continues into college with sorority/fraternity formals! Just when I thought the indulgence was behind us . . .



  8. Posted by rachel lyons on June 20, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    i would add; the bouquets…
    have you heard about this one?



  9. […] the anxiety over who to ask or whether you will be asked, then there’s the ridiculous need to ask your date creatively because NO ONE just says, “Hey, do you want to go to Homecoming?” anymore; then there’s the […]



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