Category Archives: Prom Themes

Make Lasting Memories at your Prom or Homecoming!

Plan the Perfect Dance!

Choosing the Theme is the First Step.

What are the hottest themes this year? Poll your student body and find out what is HOT at your school, or search online for ideas! Will this be a formal or casual dance? Once you pick a theme, you can begin gathering your prom supplies and decorations to create those lasting memories!
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Stumps Blog Prom Themes

Go Back In Time With 20s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s Prom Themes

Sometimes there is nothing more fun that pretending to be somewhere else or becoming someone else. Small children love to play pretend – it comes naturally. We have whole industries built on fantasy. Just look at Hollywood for a major example. Again, Halloween is one of the biggest party holidays of the year, because even the adults get to dress in costume. We, the people, love to play pretend.

Elegant and beautiful formal evenings are one of the perfect places for people to be able to become someone else in another place and another time. With a decade themed prom night, your evening can range from the truly glamorous of the 20s and 50s to the glittering glitz of the ridiculously fun 80s. All it takes is an imagination and a little bit of elbow grease. With some luck, the following ideas will get your started on the imagination end; this year’s prom crew can provide the rest!

1920s Prom Theme

Known as the “Roaring Twenties” or the “Jazz Age,” when we think 1920s, we often think of Bette Davis, flappers, speakeasies, and Greta Garbo, to name a few off the top. To create the look and feel of the 1920s without revisiting the popular Great Gatsby theme from 2012, turn the prom into a speakeasy. Start with some invitations with iconic Art Deco lettering to invite the juniors and seniors back to a particular moment in time, and make sure all the guests know the “secret entrance” code: knock twice, give a whistle, and then knock once more. “Park” a gangster car standee near the entrance for added back-alley authenticity.

For drinks, make sure the punch is a clear liquid – perhaps mix sprite with clear kool-aid – and instead of traditional cups, use coffee mugs! (Since alcohol was illegal then.) Set up plenty of fog machines, because a real speakeasy was sure to be filled with cigarette smoke.

To announce the prom court, instead of doing it in the traditional fashion, stage a “raid”. Have the principal or whomever is going to announce to court come and “raid” the prom venue, complete with police sirens and everything. Once you have secured the attention of everyone in the room, announce the prom court!

Decorations can be simple, yet swanky. Black and gold satin and gossamer table linens, votive candles, and gobs of real looking strings of pearls on the table tops. For the photo standee, be sure to have fedoras and feather boas on stand-by to complete the point.

1950s Prom: At the Hop

Pink and black poodle skirts. Greasers and bomber jackets. Greased Lightnin’! And it is all going to happen at the hop! The 1950s was a time of hope and promise for the U.S. as soldiers returned from war and the war economy produced a time of prosperity that had been preciously unprecedented. Keep this feel good vibe in mind while planning a 1950s prom.

Be sure to have a juke box, or at least a cardboard reproduction. Keep the music themed to the 1950s, or use music from bands like Me First and the Gimme Gimme’s, who do updated covers of classic tunes. This is definitely the time to be channeling Elvis Presley, milk shakes, and cat eye glasses.

Set .45s on every table in the form of centerpieces, of course. Have records whirling from the ceiling, as well.

Alternatively, this could also be a good decade to use to play off the popularity of the new film, “On the Road,” featuring James Franco and Kristen Stewart. Beatniks, blues, wine, and social commentary could make for an interesting spin. Prom night attendees can even pose in the car from “On the Road!”

1960s Prom Theme

In contrast to the feel-good fifties, the 1960s was a time of turmoil and swift change. Playing on the art and ideas brought to the fore in San Francisco by the beatniks in the previous decade, protest slogans and peace signs are two prominent icons of this decade. Rainbows and flower power interspersed with some hand-made protest banners about Vietnam can set the stage here.

Use leis for favors at the door to give guests the look of flower children as they make their way through the beaded curtain. Face painting is always an option, and not as childish in the proper context. The music choices for the evening are varied, as the songs of the sixties remain some of the most popular music of all time. Create Haight and Ashbury street signs and hang faux-electric guitars on the wall. Scatter guitar picks at the tables, personalized with your prom info.

You could even make your prom into Woodstock, minus the illegal drugs, violence, and mayhem, of course. As any prom attendee would have obviously been too young to attend the ACTUAL Woodstock, the summer of ’69 and the famous music festival remain an idyllic fantasy for many young people. Capture the moment in time with 1960s peace sign stand in to help guise the brilliantly bedecked teenagers in sixties garb for a photo op. All in all, being able to attend “Woodstock Prom: 2013″ (through rose-colored lens, of course) could be the perfect magical evening.

1980s Prom: Studio 54

Many schools who choose to do an 80s prom theme go with neon, leg warmers, and feathered hair; more “Breakfast Club” than “Rent,” if you will. Those proms can be fun and special, to be sure. This year, however, consider a spin on the 80s prom theme and consider styling the venue like an 80s nightclub. Dark lighting, a mirrored disco ball, and dancers in the background help create the illusion of the infamous New York nightclub, Studio 54.

Brick corrugated paper should line the walls, complimented by strategically placed reflective metallic curtains to help with the illusion of dark and depth. Place different lights, like LED balls, throughout the venue space to create an understated yet dynamic lighting effect.

Be sure to play some *timely* 80s rock and dance music to fit with your theme. Instead of setting up a typical drinks and snacks table, create a bar tableau. When each couple comes in, give them city favor bags with money clips and some fake cash to spend “at the bar” for their drinks at Studio 54.

Diamonds are a Prom’s Best Friend–Bring the Sparkle Out in Your Theme

All About the Bling!

Year after year, junior and senior high school girls go on city-wide searches for the perfect prom dress.  Typically, the more the dress sparkles, the better. The jewelry, the accessories, and the shoes often sparkle and shine as well. With glittery accents making such a huge splash in the world of prom attire, why not plan a prom centering around every girl’s best friend, diamonds?

Shimmery, Shiny Dream Come True

A great base to use for your sparkly diamond-like prom is a themed decorating kit—you’ll want to find something that has a good selection of pieces so you can add a few other creative touches to the event, but not so many pieces that you set up the kit and are done. Try the Dream Come True kit for a solid base Dream Come True kitto a diamond-themed prom. Then you can add a variety of other decorations around your event space to expand the theme and play up the sparkle factor that so many girls love.

Another great start for your shiny, diamond-like decorations is a Fire and Ice theme kit. You could either use the whole kit or put more focus on the ‘ice’ decorations, as those will be the best addition to your diamond-themed prom. Using the kit will add another color to your prom—similar to how precious gemstones are used to complement diamonds. Following that concept, you could also pull in green to represent emeralds or blue to represent rubies, but those should be accents to your shimmery diamond decorations.

Sparkly Additions to Your Diamond Prom

After you have the decorations for your sparkly diamond prom started, you’ll want to look into the additional touches not found in the kits. For example, look into various fabrics to work with in your event space that will enhance the diamond theme you’re building. Drape your tables with iridescent chiffon (silver fabric over a solid color would add a bit of dimension to the tables).  Look into metallic gossamer to use as wall covers. Choose either one color or a few different colors (try to keep it to three colors at most), hang a couple sheets of metallic gossamer from the ceiling to the floor—make sure to leave excess at the floor. Black, white, and silver would be great colors for your diamond-themed prom. When you have the sheets hanging from the ceiling, gather them together about four feet above the floor. The walls in your event space will be hidden and extra shimmer will be added to your room.

The last touch is the selection of prom favors. The best favors to go with a sparkly, diamond-themed prom are glassware favors. Flutes, goblets, snifters—whichever glassware favors you choose for your diamond-themed prom guests, you’ll be able to get them personalized for that extra-special, memorable touch.

By starting your prom planning with a solid decoration base, you’ll be able to transform any event space into a memorable moment in time for your prom guests. There are many options to work with for a sparkly prom—try diamond accents on your school colors!

Energize Prom Cruise Guests with a Carnival Theme

Combining Prom Themes

No matter where you have your prom, an easy way to make it a memorable event is to combine two themes to make your own! Your prom will be much more personalized for your school and your students. If you do it well, you can tie in a variety of themes. This will also take focus away from the physical location of the dance. Combining themes makes it easier to have a dance anywhere, from the school gym to a banquet hall to a cruise ship!

Combining Nautical and Carnival Themes

Combining a nautical theme with a carnival theme gives you the opportunity to tie in a few other themes. Subtle hints are all you need—many cruise ships, for example, have a casino room, so you could also incorporate a casino theme. You can also tie in other themes with your favors. If you choose to add Personalized Poker Chipsthe casino theme, section off a portion of your event room with alternating red metallic curtains and black metallic curtains to create a mini-casino! Create Black Jack and Texas Hold ‘Em tables and give your guests personalized poker chips as a fun party favor.

A great way to combine prom themes is by mixing up the party favors. Give male prom guests gob hats and the female prom guests feathered masks. Also, rather than simply handing out beads to your guests, work the beads into the centerpieces for your tables! This way, not only will your dance have a much more “finished” feel, your guests will feel like they’re taking home a piece of the dance.  You can also place personalized candy jars around the table filled with extra snacks for your guests to enjoy while they’re dancing the night away.

If your prom is in a school gym rather than on a cruise ship, you can still combine nautical and carnival themes and make a splash with your students! Use decorations to set the cruise ship scene—hang anchor and porthole cutouts along the walls to give your guests the feeling of being on the lower Ocean Backgrounddeck of a cruise ship. You could also hang an ocean background on a wall and place a few lengths of ship’s rail in front of it— your guests will be able to lean over the rail and look out at the deep blue sea! Then, to incorporate the carnival theme, you could create a few different stations with carnival-themed snacks for your prom-goers. For example, you could hand out popcorn, cotton candy, and mini pigs-in-blankets. You’ll probably want to stay away from things like snow cones, as they could stain clothing.

The possibilities for a prom with more than one theme are endless! You just have to use a bit of creativity. Combining prom themes will make your even fun, memorable, and exceptionally personal for your high school and your students.

Decorate for a Fabulous Red Carpet Opener

Imagine the headlines, “Seniors Go Public on Red Carpet,” “Juniors Outshine Seniors on Red Carpet,” or “Divas: 2013 Who Wore it Best” after the paparazzi get word that your high school is hosting a fabulous Red Carpet Prom this year…. Well, maybe the local papers won’t cover your event, but your school’s journalism department will find countless headlines and endless material for their 2012-2013 yearbook.

A Dream Come True

If only for one night, your school’s prom attendees will feel the overwhelming elation of a celebrity lifestyle. Walking the red carpet is one of the most prominent events in a celebrity’s life marking their distinguished honor and celebrating their accomplishments. And just as significant as it is for a celebrity to walk the red carpet, it is just as notable to recognize all of the hard work and accomplishments high school students have come to experience throughout their educational career. So, why not host a Fabulous Red Carpet Opener?

Give Them Something to Grabble Over

It's sure to be a show stopper!

It’s sure to be a show stopper!

It goes without saying; a red carpet prom begins with a grand entrance! Let the beauty of a collage of colors – pinks, reds, blues, greens, yellows, and oranges – strut down a scrolled red carpet lined with flashy, golden stars as they enter through a Hollywood canopy. Because the paparazzi will try to get as close as they can to the celeb students, it’s best not to forget lining the runway with an elegant rope railing. Sequin stars and metallic confetti will provide all of the eloquent embellishments necessary to be a show stopper. And of course, nothing would say Hollywood with glitter illuminated column lights and a Hollywood movie camera.

It's all about the swag!

It’s all about the swag!

Memories in the Making

Every prom attendee needs a memento to remember their special night. And that’s especially true of their first (and possibly last) night to ever walk the red carpet. Prom go-ers, especially, love to have their picture taken to remember their junior or senior prom. And since every red carpet walker is hoping to make the front page of the People Spotlight Magazine, getting a picture of their chic dress or beastly tux is a must. With a Hollywood Clapboard backdrop, all of the media will be spawning over them. And since every celeb carpet walker leaves with a special thank you gift of attendance, give them the ultimate swag bag – one for him and one for her.     

Sharing in the reward of student achievements is the highlight of witnessing their educational growth. Do so by giving them a night to remember and a walk of fame with a Fabulous Red Carpet Opener Prom.

Who Done It? Start Planning Your Clue, Murder Mystery Prom

With a Clue or other murder mystery event there’s no subtraction, only addition as you bring extra anticipation and entertainment into a spectacular prom setting.

Mystery Themes
Nowadays you can go online and buy complete kits for hosting murder mystery parties, and they match popular, exotic prom event themes beautifully. Make the decision to hold your murder mystery prom in a medieval castle, a Vegas casino or an Egyptian tomb with confidence that there’s a murder script available to fit the setting.

Want to do Clue? Although you can also buy a kit specifically for a Clue party, another way is to sit down with friends, play a game of Clue while taking notes, and develop a script from them.

Managing a large group is different from the small, dinner party-sized games you might have played before. If working with a kit, be sure to find one that is designed for large groups; and if writing a script, you will need to find ways to block and pace the action so it doesn’t get bogged down.

Decorating Clue
Probably the best main setting for a Clue theme would be the ballroom. We would recommend building a sumptuous ballroom by selecting decorations by color, perhaps lots of rich red or purple event fabrics accented with gold and involving indispensable ballroom pieces such as a grand chandelier.

Light it subtly, with lots of candelabras and LED candles placed on pedestals and tables for an old-fashioned look.

It’s probably not realistic to try to recreate all the rooms of Clue in the party space. In the game from which you get your script, you can name some of the rooms “off-limits” if you want or need to. The remaining Clue rooms – perhaps located in the corners of the party room – can be suggested by certain props: trees and plants for the conservatory, a desk for the study, a bookcase for the library and so on.

Advance the theme further with a magnifying glass prop, Clue weapons set and favors from Game Night Event Theme pages.

Solve Other Decorating Mysteries
When the prom committee has chosen the murder mystery theme setting (or at least narrowed it down) browse decorative props and theme kits to see what’s out there in larger, show-stopper type decorations and to get a feel for color schemes. And once the theme and color scheme is set, you can begin the work of selecting decorations, from large to small, to fit both your prom budget and your dreams.

Organize a Zombie Event

This Halloween, host a Zombie dance for your school, club, reunion, or charity event to bring out the ghastly spirit in all of your guests.  They’ll laugh late into the night at this freaky, costumed event filled with eerie surprises, delicious food, and creative favors.  Find the white make up and bug eyes.  This is your Halloween to be a creative, one-of-a-kind zombie!

Entrance to the Dead

Before your guests can fully enjoy their new zombie statuses, they have to enter the zombie cemetery.  Every undead cemetery needs a spooky entrance.  Fashion a graveyard entrance that allows your guests to enter the party in a scary way.

Zombie Music

Wake up the dead with some chamber music, Micheal Jackson, Dead Heads, or The Nearly Deads:

Ask your school’s dance team to perform a zombie dance for your guests’ entertainment.

Afterward, the squad can grab various zombies from the crowd to initiate a group dance.  A hot 2012, favorite is the horse dance. Do the zombie version.

Waking the Dead

Once inside the graveyard of the undead, visit your guests’ plots.  Before the party,  research each guest’s life motto or favorite quote.  Then, custom create tombstones with their names and sayings to add to the zombie fun.  You can give away the tombstones as favors after the event.

Dead Heads

The time has come to strike fear in your guests by letting them see some zombies! Hang vampire bats and hairy spiders in real or fake trees. When they look down there will be fellow zombies, graveyard ghouls, and severed fingers at their feet to welcome them to the undead.  In the distance, zombie silhouettes can be seen coming to join the fun with their kin!

Having a cemetery, tombstones, and zombies surrounding your guests will have them feeling a genuine sense of intrigue and, perhaps, being dead!

Zombie Food

Besides brains and candy, serve blood red drinks to your hungry guests.  Whip up a batch of Mummy Dearest Cupcakes made with your favorite cake mix, chocolate frosting, chocolate cookies, soft lady fingers, vanilla frosting, and mini M & M’s.  For a healthy side, try making a few eyeballs.

Zombie Makeup and Costumes

Encourage guests to dress up for your zombie event.  They can simply paint their faces and wear wigs.  Add full length zombie costumes made with bed sheets, rags, or toilet paper.  For inspiration, watch how this zombie make up was applied.

Enjoy your zombie event!  In the comment section below, share some of your favorite zombie dance party ideas.