Category Archives: Retro Prom

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.

Celebrate The Return Of Spring!

Say good-bye to the cold and celebrate the return of spring with a retro flair. As color surfaces through the snow, create a space for releasing pent-up energy that is bursting with the colors of spring. Make it a night to remember that is full of activities and contests, prizes and favors, snacking and dancing.

BASIC DECOR
Fill neon prom balloons with helium for bouquets and with air to float around the floor. Hang three metal gossamer hanger with lights near each other at different lengths for interest. Drape some gossamer from hanger to hanger and some gossamer from the hanger to the floor for drama. If you prefer, position the three hangers over the different stations and drape the gossamer to the floor. Integrate color by hanging gossamer of different colors. We suggest pink gossamer, light blue gossamer, flame retardant yellow gossamer and purple gossamer. Cover unsightly walls with retro daisy patterned gossamer to present a flower and retro motif. One panel of this retro gossamer could also be added into the gossamer canopy created with the hangers.

Make a stage area underneath one of the gossamer hangers for the DJ and final contest rounds. Cover the stage floor with yellow floral sheeting. Set off the different station areas by covering the floor of each station with more floral sheeting. Color options include white floral sheeting, purple floral sheeting and/or light blue floral sheeting.

Welcome the guests at the main entrance with a set of retro standing cardboard daisies. This set comes with 6 daisies (2 per stand) measuring 6′ high. Drape more retro gossamer behind these daisies and around the base. One daisies set could be used as a prop for candid photos shot by the guests themselves. Make a welcome sign with solid color flat paper decorating material in your choice of color. Use flat paper to make activity signs for each of your contest stations.

For the snack area, decorate the serving table and the conversation tables with the different solid colored gossamers draped from the ceiling hangers. Drape the retro gossamer around the edges of the tables. If the serving table is long and rectangular then use the retro gossamer as a runner. Accent the tabletops with mini flower fans. Cover the chair backs with more gossamer tied on with the retro gossamer. Mini flower fans can be stuck into the retro gossamer sash to add interest. For the centerpiece, fill clear crystal latex balloons with helium and retro confetti strung with various colors of ribbon tied to balloon weights. Choose event tableware in an array of spring colors to continue the fun spring color scheme. Include a “decorate it yourself” cupcake area with a variety of cupcake flavors, frosting colors and sprinkles.

CONTEST STATIONS
CAKE-CHAIRS – Invite guests to bring cakes that will be used as prizes for “cake-chairs.” Set out chairs decorated “a la snack area” to be used for this version of musical chairs. Give each round’s winner a create-a-ticket as proof of eligibility for the final cake-chair to be done at the end of the evening on the stage. The tickets can also serve as coupons toward a business sponsoring the event. For the final cake-chair round, the ultimate winner gets to be the first to choose from one of the donated cakes. The runner-up chooses next and so forth until the cakes are gone.

FLOWER A/Q
Unlike the question/answer pattern, this game does the reverse. Give answers related to flower themed categories and challenge contestants to create a corresponding question. The winner of each round receives a qualifying ticket for the ultimate Flower A/Q round played on the stage at the end of the evening. Stumps Party has a huge selection of favors from which you can choose to be given as prizes. Think of frames, mugs, frames, pillows, mint tins, money clips and more.

2011 Prom Themes Guys Like

Prom committees are typically female based, but even if this is true for your school’s prom committee, don’t forget about the guys. Ladies, we’re always wishing the guys would get more excited about parties and dancing, so let’s give them a reason to be excited.
Here are three prom themes that guys are SURE to love!  

Vegas or casino theme party: You’ve hit the jackpot here because guys love to gamble and play cards.  Ladies, get what you want from the Viva Las Vegas casino theme kit and give them a bit to do as well. Set up a plastic Roulette wheel and several card tables with giant playing cards. Have a willing chaperone wear a casino dealer’s vest and visor to oversee the games. Use fun flashing dice and personalized poker chips for the games.

Roaring ‘20s and gangster theme events: What guy doesn’t love gangsters, canes, and hats? No guy, that’s who! Set up your prom with a gangster theme kit complete with a gangster standee for the guys and flapper standee for the girls.

Retro event themes: Never underestimate powers that Austin Powers has over men. You’ll have them saying, “Groovy baby,” all night long with afro wigs and retro party wearables. Hand out retro beads as prom favors.

No matter what prom theme you choose, try your best to incorporate something fun that will get the guys as excited as you are about prom.

Host a Vintage Themed Prom for Retro Romance

vintage-prom-theme-kitA vintage-themed prom is perfect for mxing classic cool and old-school romance. Vintage is big in fashion right now, which makes it perfect for coordinating with beautiful prom gowns. Stumps Prom has a variety of retro themed prom supplies perfect for coordinating to create a vintage themed prom that’s just your style.

Create a backdrop for your event with the Manhattan At Night Photo Mural. The black and white photo creates an old-school look perfect for setting the mood. The mural measures 8’3” by 13’8” and is great for covering entire walls.

Our As Time Goes By Prom Kit is a great option for creating a complete package that can then be customized with accents for just the vintage look you want to create. The As Time Goes By Theme Prom features beautiful clocks and arches in a beautiful black and white color scheme. The Waltzing Couples Standees add an extra special touch.

We also have 1920’s, 1950’s and 1970’s theme kits if you want your vintage prom to fit with a specific decade.

Accent your prom focal point decorations with items such as old world 1920’s lampposts, top hats and bow tie borders, vintage 1920’s banners, and tons of drapes and swags made from gossamer decorating material. Keep decorations simple but full. Consulting encyclopedias and archives for an idea of specific vintage trends you’re interested in can really help you determine which color schemes and themes you want to capture. Great vintage color schemes include brown and orange, black and red, pink and black and black and brown. Keeping colors subtle such as black and white or sepia tones is another great idea.

manhattan-at-night-photo-mural Be sure to advise your DJ about your vintage theme in advance, asking him or her to find music to fit with your era. To tie the decorations into the music, place a Record Player Centerpiece on each table. They’re fun and retro!

After deciding on your decorations, choose a memory booklet to help students commemorate their beautiful prom night. For this theme a classic memory booklet placed inside a Top Hat Confetti Booklet Cover is a fantastic choice. Your booklet cover will be imprinted with your custom wording and the inside printed with your custom content.

Finally, top the theme off with a prom favor such as a classic glassware item custom imprinted with your event logo and slogan. For a fun door prize, give out disco ball key tags to tie in to the retro theme.

Check out all of our prom decorations and prom favors for more ideas on how to create your vintage themed prom!