Category Archives: Prom Budget

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.

Why Students, Parents, and Schools Embrace Prom

We Invest In Lifetime Moments

With the sluggish economy and the cost of extra school activities on the rise, one would think that prom might suffer with a lack of participation and ticket sales.  Exactly why would teens (and more importantly, their parents) still be willing to accept the purportedly high price tag of this one-night event?  A survey of customers from Stumps Party, a national prom supplies and event supplies company, suggests that schools value prom traditions.

 Introduction to the Romanticism of Prom Begins at a Young Age

In today’s society, individuals become acclimated to the custom and tradition of prom and grand dances while still young.  From the moment a little girl sees Cinderella for the first time, she starts planning for the big ball.  Who doesn’t want to be a Disney princess for a day? Pop culture has kept that feeling alive for generations with films like Grease, Footloose, Pretty in Pink, Never Been Kissed and Twilight that remind us that prom was, and still is, a big deal.  By the time the real dance comes along, the anticipation of the event is at a crescendo-who can say no to that?

Planning for the Event Prompts a Sense of School Unity

Today’s proms aren’t thrown together at the last minute.  In many cases, planning begins as early as the beginning of the school year.  Faculty advisers organize student prom committees.  These committees spearhead tasks such as selecting prom themes, setting budgets and coming up with fundraising ideas.  Between planning the fundraisers, soliciting donations, and arranging groups of volunteers to pitch in with the activities, participating students learn skills such as effective communication and leadership, organization and delegation skills, and money management.  For the student body at large, those who lend a hand to these moneymaking efforts learn about teamwork and responsibility.

Kate Henderson, a prom adviser at Wendover High School, in Wendover, Utah says, “If our prom did not exist there would be a huge hole in our junior program.  They work concessions all year and clean the gym after all home games to raise enough money to afford a nice prom.  We also have an absentee and tardy policy that hinges on all extracurricular activities, which prom is part of.  If students have unexcused absences or tardies, they cannot attend prom. The students work very hard to be eligible to go.”  All in all, the planning and preparation of prom helps to promote a sense of accomplishment for all those involved.  These lessons alone may be well worth the time and money a school invests in prom.

Traditions are passed from one class to another.  In fact, the tradition of giving prom memory booklets to couples dates back to 1926, when Stumps first introduced these keepsake favors.  Trends may change (today swag bags are hot), but taking pictures at parents’ homes, crowning the king and queen, and decorating the dance remain.

Prom is Unlike Any Other School Dance Event

What sets prom apart from other dances and school events?  Prom’s role in American culture dates back to the debutante balls of the wealthy.  By 1894 middle-class parents wanted institutionalized settings to instill etiquette, so proms spread to elite colleges.  By the early 1900’s, proms were in high schools.  Since then, tens of millions of students have taken part in the prom tradition.  Today, most high schools only allow juniors and seniors to purchase tickets to the prom.  Students see prom as a privilege, a rite of passage, of having paid their dues.  It’s like a special induction into an exclusive club where they have now earned the right to attend this big night.  Dances take place in fully decorated, school gymnasiums, cafeterias, and banquet halls.  For many students, especially seniors, it is the last big occasion before graduation activities commence and so it represents a sort of end to adolescence.  Prom offers one last night to be together as a group, to sing and dance and celebrate collectively.

After Prom Activities Offer Safe Alternatives For Students

Many schools now offer an after-prom tradition that allows students the options of an all night, alcohol free event full of music, games and activities.  Students decorate these events in popular themes, just like they do with prom.  Today’s favorites include Paris, Mardi Gras, Under the Sea, Candy, Casino, or City prom themes.  Parents and teachers chaperone during the night.  Kayleigh Overmyer, a prom committee member and junior at Maumee High School says “After-prom is as popular, if not more so, than prom. It’s so much fun that we will sell as many tickets to that as we will to the actual prom, maybe a bit more!“  Deejays often play popular music at after-prom, too.

According to Mark Charvat, a prom deejay with over 31 years of experience at J & M Productions, this year’s popular musical artists include Usher and LMFAO.  Charvat explains, “Top slow songs are requested according to the prom’s theme.  For example, Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing is often requested at Hollywood theme proms because it was the leading song from the movie, Armageddon.” This year, Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On, the theme song from the movie, Titanic is a popular, prom song.

After prom events maintain a lock-in atmosphere in which students must remain inside the venue until the conclusion of the event and thus putting the fears of many parents to rest in regards to their safety after prom is over.

Prom Is A Finale Most Will Not Skip

When kids look to their years in high school, there are many milestones they will mark: their sweet 16, getting their driver’s license, graduation, and yes, prom.  Because the reality is, there isn’t any other event quite like prom, and there may not ever be.  It is steeped in nostalgia in a way that nothing else is.  It is the culmination of years of anticipation and whether it lives up to expectations or not, it will always be the apex of all high school dances, that by which all others are measured.  It marks the closing of a school year and often a school career, and it caps off an era of memories and experiences that can’t be replaced.  It still remains an event not to be missed.  Jacquie Downey, Director of Sales and Marketing for Stumps Party, adds, “Prom is a rite of passage and a memory that will last a life time.  Today’s teens will be telling their children about the fun they had at prom and so on.  Some experiences are just worth the investment.  Prom is one of those events.”






Prom Committee Timeline

Just like a wedding, it’s never start too early in your prom planning. Studies show that most prom planning takes place in the last week of April and first two weeks of May in preparation for a June prom; however, there are some things that must be taken care of long before April.

At least six months out:
• Select a prom date and secure your event location.
• Decide on a prom theme.
• Choose and order your prom favors.
• Hire a DJ or band.
• Purchase prom decorations.
• Design and buy prom invitations.
• Start fundraising for any additional prom surprises.

At least three – four months before prom,
• Delegate prom members to set-up and clean-up groups.
• Order prom royalty items and plan the crowning ceremony.
• Ask for teacher volunteers to chaperone.

About one month before the prom,
• Confirm dates with venue and DJ/band and all orders that haven’t yet been received.
• Sell prom tickets.

One week before,
• Gather and build all decorations that can be moved when assembled.
• Confirm guest count.
• Review and pay any invoices that have yet to be paid.
• Purchase snacks and drinks for the event.

On the day of prom, the prom set-up group should be transporting any remaining decorations and hanging everything. The clean-up group should be prepared to stay after prom is over to perform their duties before going to the after prom.

No matter how much planning you do, nothing is perfect, and something is bound to go wrong. The most important thing of all is that everyone has fun, so try not to stress too much!

Spirit Marks Put the Fun in Fundraising

School Spirit Items If easier = more fun, it would be hard to find a way to pump up the dance budget that’s more fun than selling Spirit Marks temporary tattoos.

In fact, SpiritLine Team Spirit store has already outlined Spirit Mark basic fundraising plans for you! Check them out, and select the plan that suits your school and budget the best.

We’re sure you’ll be wowed at the SpiritLine selection, too. We have mascot marks, glow marks, glitter marks and a great new assortment of Eye Blacks™. Want something special? Use our Create-a-Spirit Mark service!

There are a lot of sales opportunities for these temporary tattoos, from school registration to pep rallies. Stock your school store and concession stand, and see if you can get permission to sell them in the cafeteria, too.

Also, be sure to check out the natural companions to Spirit Marks, such as glow accessories, face paints and other unique fan gear. You’ll be glad you did. Happy selling!

Hit Fundraising Targets by Going Green

We appear to have accumulated a collection of fundraising ideas that are good for the planet. Who knew? Here are some ways for making an honest buck from ideas that re-use and recycle.

Plant Power
It’s a fact that many, many households accumulate plastic and clay plant pots they don’t need. Start a drive to pick up small, unwanted plant pots, which can be cleaned up and painted in all kinds of colors and textured paints — how about your school colors? Consult science teachers and discover which plants are economical, hearty and attractive. Plant seedlings in the reclaimed pots and sell them to parents and students. A sale just before the holidays would be good timing!

Recycle Aluminum Cans
Host an aluminum can recycling contest. Although prices fluctuate, recycling companies sometimes pay up to $.30 a pound for aluminum. Create collection bins from our tough and colorful corrugated paper, and place one bin in each homeroom. At the end of the contest, the winners will receive prizes donated by local merchants, and you’ll enjoy a relatively large profit with minimal investment.

Organize an “adopt-a-tree” program that gets the community involved with your school. Locate an area around your school or in a nearby park that looks sparse. Consult a landscaper on what trees would flourish in the area. Next, persuade a local garden shop to donate a few trees in exchange for a plaque advertising the generous donation. Have students plant and care for the trees. The trees will be “adopted” by community members who pay a fee to help in the upkeep. In exchange, a “parent” will have his or her name printed on a tag that is attached to a limb of each adopted tree.

Sell Stadium Cups
Stadium cups and other spirit drinkware can help cut down on paper and plastic waste if the program is done right. Implement a benefit package that will prompt students to purchase and re-use the cups. For example, you might work out a deal with the school cafeteria and a few local restaurants so that when a student presents the cup, he or she will receive a discount on a soda refill.

Toy and Book Drive
Collect gently used children’s books and toys to resell at a school flea market. Give parents plenty of time to clean out old closets and basements. A couple months should do, which also will give you time to work out a storage location. Allow two or more dates for dropping off the items. Send out numerous reminders – print it each week in your local school newsletter. Clean the toys and have a huge sale. Give part of the proceeds to a local charity and keep the rest for Prom. Or, keep all monetary proceeds and donate the leftover toys to a local children’s organization.

If you’ve found out how great it is to organize green fundraisers, let us know in comments. And if you haven’t yet, we at SpiritLine School Spirit Products wish you the best of success!

Classic Fundraising Activities

There’s something to be said for the classics! Here are successful fundraising activities used by generations of dance committees to earn money for their formal dance budgets.

School Basketball Tournament
Organize basketball teams with faculty members, staff members, students and cheerleaders. Set up a tournament and invite the whole school to come and watch for a small donation!

Bowling Night
Parents, students and friends all love to bowl-so why not cash in on this much-loved hobby? Organize teams and meet at your local bowling alley. Ask participants to contribute cash each time they bowl and watch the cash add up. You’ll have fun, too!

Dance the Night Away
Plan a 12- or 24-hour dance marathon in your school gym. Organize teams, and mandate that at least one team member must be dancing during the entire period of time. Have team members receive sponsors for the event. Provide music, snacks, drinks and lots of moral support for the teams.

Sell Spirit Items at Sports Events
Plan ahead and select a big game with a rival team. Purchase pom pons, stadium cups or a similar low cost school spirit items imprinted with your school name and mascot. Sell the items at a reasonable markup at games.

Tee Off for Dollars
You’ll find that many parents and other community members will be ready for a round of golf at just about any time, so a Golf Tournament to raise money for Prom is an easy and profitable venture!

Host an All Family Sock Hop
Get moms, dads, brothers, and sisters involved in a family night of fun. Keep preparation and set-up to a minimum; the idea here is to raise money. Rent a jukebox or simply hire a DJ. If you have someone in the school who likes to spin records, hire them for free. Get a popular teacher, coach or parent to act as the DJ. Sell rootbeer floats and ice cream desserts. Sponsor a dance contest and a best dressed family contest. Have a dance contest by age. Enjoy the night with the entire family.

Great Dance Fundraisers? Tempt Them with Food & Drink!

As you get ready for the new school year and start thinking about planning dances and how to pay for them, keep in mind that fundraising by selling food and drink never goes out of style, even in a recession. Here are fundraisers that are sure to tempt the appetite.

Gourmet Dinner Night
Organize a special gourmet dinner in the school cafeteria for students, parents and alumni. Ask local restaurants to offer their food at a special discount. In exchange for this discount, print the name of the restaurant in the Homecoming program, or put up a large personalized banner with the restaurant name in the Prom program or school newsletter.

Everybody Loves Pizza
Check with local merchants and see if they will be willing to donate pizzas or give you a special discount on some of their scrumptious pies. Sell slices to hungry students at snack time, offer it at games, or have an all-school pizza luncheon. Either way, it’s a delicious way to make some money!

What’s Cooking?
Your school cookbook – that’s what’s cooking! Compile student recipes into one cookbook, and get ready to rake in the profits. Sell it to parents, community members and students. You’ll be surprised how many budding chefs you have in your midst!

Sunrise Doughnuts
There’s nothing more satisfying than an early-morning doughnut, so take advantage of this and sell them to hungry students and teachers! Those who skipped breakfast won’t mind paying a little more for this sweet treat, and you’ll earn lots of dollars in the process!

Gourmet Coffee Morning
The enticing aroma of freshly brewed coffee could mean big dollars for you! Organize a gourmet coffee morning and greet students, faculty and staff with a steaming cup of Joe. Offer different gourmet flavors and serve up in a specially-created Cafe or Travel Mug.

Food Bazaar
Host a food bazaar just before a big football game. Each school club will have a booth set up in a designated area. Tailgaters will purchase food tickets from one booth and trade the tickets for food and treats they desire.