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A History of Prom Themes

Students are preparing for 2018's prom, "A Night in Hollywood". A theme is characteristic of proms as the practice is more than 50 years old.

Students+at+the+1976+prom+dance+in+a+spring+decorated+venue.
Students at the 1976 prom dance in a spring decorated venue.

Students at the 1976 prom dance in a spring decorated venue.

1976 PLHS Yearbook Staff

1976 PLHS Yearbook Staff

Students at the 1976 prom dance in a spring decorated venue.

Megan Friel, Coverage Editor

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As traditions rise and die, one night remains latched onto the arms of high schoolers with a clenched jaw. Ankles wobbling in stiff heels straight from their Kohls packaging, sweaty armpits trapped in tuxedo jackets and anxious teenagers are nothing new when it comes to prom. For half a century, prom has graced Nebraskans with a night of pubescent woes that seep into the dinner ambience of semi-formal restaurants across the Omaha area. The 2018 prom is being held on 14 April for the upperclassmen of Papillion La Vista who are curating their finest Pinterest ‘fancy hairstyle’ and ‘how to tie a bowtie’ pins in preparation for the night.

The Junior Class Board handles the preparatory measures that go along with sponsoring a prom, including deciding on the theme of prom. The options are introduced by juniors and gain support from the senior class. 

Students prepare the decorations for the 1997 prom, “Winter Wonderland”.

“Someone said a ‘Vegas’ theme that I thought was cool,” junior Peyton Juracek said. “It’s big, but not Hollywood which seniors really wanted.” 

The seven of spades hang above a crowds of students at the 1972 prom, “Casino Royale”.

While some are taken seriously, others were saved for later consideration for homecoming, whose themes are generally more experimental than prom’s. 

“Homecoming you can test out the water, but prom is always more cliché,” Juracek said.  

The prom king and queen of 2003′ “A Night in Paris” pose after their coronation in front of a paper Eiffel Tower.

It was ultimately decided that the glamour of Hollywood would be the 2018 theme, featuring decorations characteristic of the city. Lights, paparazzi and the infamous Hollywood Sign are all going to be featured at this year’s event.

“Prom themes usually all deal with Hollywood or red carpet, so it was more like ‘Do you like it?’ and ‘Are you okay with it?’ in the beginning,” Juracek said.  

Assistants dressed in nautical attire take tickets for 1988′ prom, “Enchantment on the Sea”.

Over the years, prom themes have taken inspiration from seasons, such as 1976’s “Pieces of April”. Others are quite clearly based on cities or places, including 2003’s “A Walk in Paris” or 2018’s own “A Night on the Red Carpet”.  Proms have often repeated themes, while others live on in infamy like 1970’s “Atlantis” themed event.

At the 1970 prom, a couple dances among peers and hanging decorations that fit the theme of “Atlantis”.

What remains consistent is not the cliché theme or balloons spread across the floor. Instead, it’s the allure of prom. Prom night remains a tradition that teenagers can’t get enough of, and whether it lives up to our expectations or not will be revealed after walking the red carpet. 

 

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About the Writer
Megan Friel, Coverage Editor

Megan Friel is a junior and this is her second year on staff. Outside of her studies, she plays softball, soccer and golf. She also marches competitively in the Monarch marching band.

 

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A History of Prom Themes