Making Better Memories

How to throw a grownup prom.

December 15, 2010

(Illustration by Emilio Santoyo)

Did your parents forbid you to go the Spring Fling because the ACTs, the SAT fallback, were the next day? Did your actual prom experience leave you wanting something ... different? Never fear. With this handy guide, you can plan the Senior Ball/Junior Prom/Sock Hop you never had — with the added bonus in that you can now legally spike the punch.

Crêpe paper
Evite/Facebook event post
Sound system and Pandora
Thrift store tux or dress (ruffles optional)
100 of your closest friends/neighbors
Hard liquor (optional, but recommended — Boone’s Farm works well)

Send out an Evite/Facebook event request two to three weeks in advance. Yes, back in our day, there was no such thing as an Evite or Facebook, but it’s still cheaper than sending written invitations and classier than tweeting your 100 closest friends. Want to go really retro? Log in to that Friendster account and invite people that way! (But be sure to also send them a Facebook invite, too.)

Don’t let a lack of funds get you down. Pick a theme. Put the PI in API and go “Under the Sea,” “Tropical Paradise” or “Honoring the Fighting 442nd Regimental Combat Team” (that would be the all-Asian American unit that fought in WWII. Thanks Wikipedia!).

Or, perhaps you are still recovering from the crippling case of the nerds you had in high school. How about Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica? It’s cool to be nerdy now. So go to the dollar store and stock up on tissue paper, balloons, plastic spaceships, storm troopers, etc.

Reliving your high school (not-so) glory days is only sadder if you actually buy a new/nice outfit. Don’t go down that path — go to the thrift store. Buy something with lots of ruffles in pastels. This goes for both women and men.

There is no prom without the posed prom photo. How else are you to remember how fat/skinny/broken out you were? Use a paper tablecloth and tape it to a wall as a backdrop. Affix prom-theme-related items to the backdrop — plastic fish, tinfoil stars, the aforementioned storm troopers, whatever goes with your chosen theme. People can use their own cameras to capture these moments forever.

Hook up your speakers to your laptop. Log in to your Pandora account and find an ’80s station.

Your Ride
Make an entrance and rent a Hummer limo for the night. This may be your last chance to rent a vehicle that is the product of the unholy mating of a Hummer and another Hummer. Even if you do decide to go frugal and just rent the standard stretch limo, both will give you ample room to lose your virginity all over again, or for the very first time.

With all these things in place, all that’s left is to heavily spike the punch and yourself, wait for your guests to arrive and, finally, have the prom you deserved — or at least get drunk trying.

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