Category Archives: Fifties Theme

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.

A Night of Escape

Host a Sorority or Fraternity Dance

Typically, when students enter college, they are excited to leave the world of high school behind and continue with their lives, perhaps by joining fraternities or sororities.  However, once the stress of college sets in, those same students long for the days of high school, with less homework and more semi-formal dances.  As college life grows more intense, students look for a way to relax, almost exactly as they did during high school.  Because fraternities and sororities are famous for hosting mixers and parties, organizing a semi-formal dance can present a new challenge.  It’s also a good way to initiate those new members, allowing them to step up and organize a semi-formal dance while the older members observe and help, if needed. 

College Formal Themes

Start by thinking of a place to which you would want to escape.  You want the chance to be someone else, someone who has no worries, in a time when life is easy and fun.  You’re on your way to choosing a semi-formal dance theme.  Much akin to high school semi-formals, fraternities and sororities have themed dances, not only for Homecoming, but for various other reasons throughout the year. 

Masquerade College Formal Theme

Masquerade is a popular semi-formal dance theme, because it allows students to escape their collegiate identities and become entirely different people for an evening.  An air of mystery surrounds a Masquerade-themed semi-formal dance, and there are many different themes of the Masquerade itself—everything from a candle-lit Music of the Night (for the music and theater department dances) to a bright and colorful Peacock-themed masquerade.

Fifties College Formal Theme

Another semi-formal dance theme that is sure to help students relax is a Fifties theme.  While fraternity dances don’t always use life-sized props, this dance theme could give the fraternities on campus a chance to let their men show off cars that they’ve worked to restore.  If they don’t have many cars, there are always hot rod standees that could be used!  A Fifties semi-formal dance theme is a great way for students to let loose and let their hair down, but still have fun.  Girls can take it to the next step and find poodle skirts to wear, while guys could wear their leather jackets and slacks.  For this dance theme, formal attire is not required.  It’s all about having fun, dancing, and going back to the ease of the Fifties.

Casino Fraternity Dance Theme Ideas

A popular semi-formal dance theme among fraternities is Casino Night.  A Las Vegas casino backdrop will help students trade their stressful college life for a night of fun, dancing, and cards.  This dance theme also gives girls a chance to slip into that little black dress and get all dolled up for a night on the town— even if it’s simply on campus!  After a few high-energy dances, students will be ready to relax with a game or two of blackjack—or maybe a spin on the roulette wheel.  After their night away from homework, students will be relaxed, refreshed, and ready to tackle their homework again.  When planning a semi-formal dance, fraternities and sororities need only remember: relax, have fun, and don’t think about school for a night!  A semi-formal dance, especially in college, is meant to allow an escape, a time for you to relax.  It’s exactly what hard-working students deserve!

Spring’s Top 10 Prom Themes

Stumps Party presents the list of spring’s top 10 prom themes.

Candy Land
If you want a combination of color and fun, this is the theme. The student body will love the lollipop-lined walkways, the sweet taffy waterfall, cupcake backdrops, and sweet candy arch. The success of this prom is easily described in one word – sweet.

Mardi Gras
Put the party into your prom with a Mardi Gras theme. Fill your space with vibrant purples, greens, and golds. Add beads, feathers, and masks. Based upon the style of your decorations, you can replicate the look of an embellished, New Orleans street or simply elicit a sense of mystical magic, or Afro-Caribbean mambo. What used to be for the French is now perfect for your school.

Everyone will sing “Hurray for Hollywood” when committee members see how easily this theme comes together and when the student body takes pleasure in the glitz of this hot theme. Give them the star treatment with a red carpet entrance, rows of paparazzi, lights, cameras, Hollywood Walk of Fame stars, and more. This theme can also lean to a more casual interpretation with an emphasis on film, popcorn, and lots of yellow, red, and white.

Bring the upscale, cosmopolitan atmosphere to your school with a city theme. Surround prom-goers with skyscrapers, billboards and lots of lights. Pull these items together to give the impression of a city, or make it a New York night with the addition of a Times Square theme kit or Central Park props.

The Parisian theme is always a hit with its romantic, European flair. Imagine the excitement of your student body as they get to walk past the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe arch, or a Parisian café. Play some Edith Piaf, serve baguettes with pate, and cover the walls with backdrops depicting scenes of Paris, such as the Champs-Elysees.

You won’t be rolling the dice when you choose this popular theme. Students love the high-energy décor of playing cards, poker chips, dice, and roulette wheels. Choose from a jackpot night, a high roller night, or a Vegas escape theme kit. Include some games, a buffet and some live entertainment for the full casino experience.

The Indian theme has really become a favorite because of its modern exoticism. The juxtaposition of rich greens, purples, golds, blues, and pinks create a breathtaking look that is unique to the Indian culture. This theme benefits from lots of draping chiffon, shimmera, and gossamer fabrics, trimmed with string lights. Prom-goers will be charmed with the beauty of this destination theme prom.

Dazzle everyone with a stars theme prom. The student body will be taken aback when they find themselves surrounded with gold, silver, and white stars of all sizes that reflect light throughout the space. Choose from star-studded arches, stairways, columns, and tunnels. Decorate the ceiling with hanging stars, string lights, and panels of star gossamer fabric.

Prom-goers love the chance to revisit the days of chivalry and courtly love. That is why the castle theme is always a success. This theme can capture the romantic look of a fairytale castle, the medieval look of the Knights of Camelot, or the fantasy look of an ice castle.

Everyone loves the 50’s. It was the time of the sock hop, the soda fountains, the poodle skirts, and the emergence of rock and roll. People knew how to have fun and student bodies all over the country still have fun with a fifties prom theme. Fill the space with 45’s, vintage car props, jukebox standees and drive-in decorations. This theme has lots of possibilities, so just run with it and have fun.

Choose your theme and fill all of your decorative, tableware, publicity and favors needs at Stumps Party. We love proms and we want to make sure that your school loves yours.

Hot Theme Party Kits for the Musically Inclined

Certain prom event themes bring a special dimension to the party, and that dimension is a particular genre or style of music. Here are some of our favorite prom theme kits for the “musically-inclined” that would create good vibrations for a post-prom party, too.

Rock Star Theme Decorating Kit. This kit hits striking visual notes in purple, blue and red with neon touches and features giant guitar pedestal, pyrotechnic and speaker standees reaching 8-10’ tall! Hang plenty of metallic star curtains and float guitar- and star-shaped mylar balloons with this kit.

All That Jazz Kit. Create a 1920s sidewalk lined with city street lights that leads to a ballroom bandstand. Dance amid flapper and jazz guy silhouettes, then take a break at a table dressed in navy, black and silver tableware and musical votives.

Disco Theme Decorations. Can you ever have enough glass mirror balls? We didn’t think so. Pick up table top disco balls in addition to the big ones you’ll find with the Boogie Arch and sequined columns in this glittering collection.

Hip Hop Hustle Theme Kit. Place these decorations in front of a blue spotlight background illustration, install a graffiti wall with a two toned brick patterned flat paper opposite, pull out some thick markers and start the music.

Twist the Night Away Kit 1950s Decorations. Fifties parties have been popular for at least 30 years. They’ve developed a style all their own and this kit hits all the right notes for the atmosphere you’re seeking. The drive-in is here, the muscle cars are here, the juke box is installed. Add a great mix of music, some malteds and a Rockin’ personalized banner.

A Fifties Themed Post-Prom Rocks All Hours

1950’s Car StandeeTwist and shout with a Fifties theme for Post-Prom! Our rock’n’roll decorations and choice of five complete kits will have your school rockin’ around the clock. Start your planning by visiting our Fifties section and by checking out our fun and festive tips below.

Fifties Invitations

Give students a sneak preview of the fun and let them know that this is a “not to be missed” Post-Prom event by sending out unique invitations.
• Visit second-hand record stores and buy old 45s. Cover the label with the details of the event – where, when, RSVP, etc. Use these as invitations.
• If you can’t find the real thing, cut records from black poster board and add your own label, or try our Vinyl 45 custom invitation!

Fifties Decorations

There are lots of great props, centerpieces, tableware, favors and more in the Fifties section. Here are a few extra tips for pulling your Fifties look together for the biggest impact.
• A soda shop or drive-in are great settings for your Post-Prom! The Rock Around the Clock decorations kit brings the soda shop atmosphere together in a snap. Stumps Party At the Hop Drive-In kit has everything you need to bring the drive-in setting inside.
• A jukebox and Fifties music are a vital part of any Fifties party. Rent a jukebox for its contribution to the decoration’s authenticity to the 50’s theme as well as for its functionality in being able to play your music. If you are unable to rent a jukebox then Stumps Party has that need covered. Some of the 50’s theme kits come with a free-standing cardboard jukebox. If you are not buying a kit or if you want to add one to your kit then order the Wurlitzer Jukebox stand-up for looks and spin the records on a stereo.
• Create balloon arches with white and pink balloons or puchase the soda shop arch.
• Some great cars were introduced in the Fifties such as the 57′ Chevy. Try to bring in the real thing or make one to serve as a focal point for your evening’s festivities. If you are looking for pre-made cardboard 50’s automobile replicas then make your search for that perfect Fifties car really easy by choosing between any of Stumps Party’s cardboard standees. We have the 50’s drive-in convertible standee, the sports car standee, the low rider standee, and/or the 1950 Roadster car standee. You can even throw in a motorcycle standee!
Whether real, constructed or cardboard you’ll need a great background for that car. Check out the Fifties diner background that will serve that very purpose.
• Hang 9″ or 19″ plastic records from the ceiling or entryways.
• Create pretend soda shop billboards and place your actual menu for the party on it. Make a statement that your soda shop is a happening place by including Stumps Party’s 1950 billboards.
• Create your own impressive Fifties table setting with red and white gingham checkered tablecloths, Rock ‘n’ Roll confetti and centerpieces made from old 45’s. If you want an easy-to-put-together complete look for your tables then check out our suggestions for an undeniably fun Fifties table setting. It has suggestions for everything from table coverings, to place settings, to centerpieces.

Fifties Favors

Give students small favors they can use during the party … this will add color and fun!
• Place a pair of sunglasses at each setting – tuck a napkin in the fold of the glasses and have them act as a napkin ring. Stumps Party helps you get as many sunglasses as you need with our own affordably-priced sunglasses.
• Imprint Rock Around the Clock napkins and Cola glasses. Use them throughout the Post-Prom party and send a glass home with each guest.
• Inflatable or fake instruments like plastic guitars are also great favors and fun to play with during the party. You can even let students take the stage with inflatable musical instruments from a Stumps Party set that includes one 9 ½” microphone, one 22″ saxophone, and two 40″ guitars.


For some authentic fifties-style activities try some of these suggestions:
• A dance contest is always good for lots of laughs. Start with easy dance steps and encourage everyone to try. Purchase a pair of our truly fifties sunglasses that can be used as prices to recognize the winners of a dance-off. Everyone will dance really hard for the chance to leave with a pair of Guitar Fanci frames!
• Play “Name That Tune” using old fifties songs – extra points are given to the team that can name the title and the artist/group. Look for 1950’s music CD’s from a local resale business that can be awarded to the winning team. Make the prize more memorable by giving the winning students a custom creations Fifties metal CD case in which to store that CD.
• Rent a karaoke machine and give out prizes for the best authentic Fifties performance. You can even award the ultimate karaoke singer with a rock the night centerpiece that works great as a trophy!

Fifties Food

Below are some great snack ideas that have a fifties flair!
• Use Soda Shop-inspired food like hotdogs, a basket of fries and onion rings.
• You will also want to have floats, shakes, and malts of some kind. Don’t forget the cherries!

Rock Around the Clock with a Rock the Night Away 1950’s Prom

rock-the-night-away-fifties-prom-kitA 50’s-themed prom is always a fun idea! Stumps Party has plenty of 1950’s themed prom kits to help you transform your prom venue into a sock-hop, drive-in, or rockin’ diner.

Our Rock the Night Away kit is perfect for creating a fun, festive diner look for your prom. This entertaining kit includes a Hot Rod Pick-up standee, a Rock-N-Roll Diner decoration, two Rock-N-Roll Diner columns, a set of record murals, a 1950’s Roadster standee, a 1950’s Billboard standee and a motorcycle standee.

Create a focal point and backdrop for your prom using the Rock-N-Roll Diner. The diner stands 9’ 8” tall and 22’ wide. The window area even folds back so you can even serve food from the diner window! It’s perfect for setting the scene at your prom.

Position the Rock-N-Roll Diner columns such that they frame the diner. Each column measures 7’ 4” tall. The column’s checkerboard base ties it into the checkboard base of the diner while the musical note mylar balloon speaks to the evening’s music-influenced theme.

Continue the musical influence of the evening with the eye-catching Record Mural set. This set contains 44″ cardboard mock-ups of that decade’s music format of choice – the LP. These cardboard LP’s are perfect for spreading around the space by suspending them from the ceiling or by mounting them on the walls.

The Hot Rod Pick-up, 1950’s Roadster, 1950’s Billboard and motorcycle standees are great for making your venue really pop. The Hot Rod Pick-Up standee measures 3’ 10” tall and 7’ 3” wide. The Roadster standee measures 3’ 4” tall and 7’ 4” wide. The Motorcycle standee is 3’ 9” tall and 6’ wide while the Billboard is 6’ tall and 2’ 10” wide. Any combination of these standees works perfectly to create the ideal background for prom photos. Spread the standees throughout the space to give students great props for candid shots throughout the night. You can even place a couple of the transportation-related standees at the entrance to announce the transition into the 1950’s decade.

Accent the entire space with music note mylar balloons. Make impressive music note bouquets by adding Stumps Party musical notes latex balloons to the music note mylar balloons. Tie these balloon bouquets to chairs and tables or anchor them to various places with the help of foil balloon weights. Stumps Party carries these balloon weights in ten different colors and come in a package of six weights.

Welcome students to the prom or help students better find both food and picture areas with one or more personalized 50’s Drive-in signs. Each sign measures 11′ high and 5′ wide.

Ensure that your tables maintain the theme of the evening. First, cover the tables with the fun Rock & Roll metallic fringe tablecloth. Then, top it off with a Sock Hop metal centerpiece.

After choosing your prom decorations, choose a memory booklet to make the night last even longer. The memory booklet is a prom tradition created right here at Stumps Party! For this theme, we recommend the celebrate the 50s booklet. Imprint the front with your choice of design and three lines of wording in black.

Give students the opportunity to have the perfect frame for their perfect prom picture. Advertise the Stumps Party custom creation fifties pure adoration frame that students can order the night of the prom in the prom picture area. Sponsor a before-prom contest that would allow someone to win one of these personalized frames. To determine the winner, hold a small sock hop dance contest during lunch hour. Make sure to use 50’s music!

For all of your before, during and after prom needs – Stumps Party has got you covered. Wherever your imagination can take you we will meet you there with all that you need.