How to have a sane prom

28 Apr


Joseph Pisani reports in the Huffington Post article, Prom Spending Is On The Rise Again, Expected To Average $1,139 In 2013:


— The prom is making a big comeback.


The recession forced parents and teens to cut back on spending for the annual high school dance, but wallets are finally opening again.


“Dresses are more elaborate,” says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at market research firm NPD Group. “They are now buying two pairs of shoes, one to go to prom and one to dance in.”


“This crop of kids cares about prom,” says Cohen.


And so do the parents, who see the dance as a rite of passage. The pressure to help give teenagers a memorable night is high. “You don’t want your kid to be the only kid who doesn’t have what the other kids have,” says Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist and professor at Golden Gate University.


Prom spending is expected to rise this spring to an average $1,139. That’s among families who are planning to spend some money to attend the annual affair, according to a survey of 1,025 parents of prom age teens by payment processor Visa Inc. and research company Gfk. Not included in the average were 12 percent who said they wouldn’t spend anything on the prom. A majority of parents with teenagers surveyed were still unsure how much they’d spend.


There are ways to cut prom expenses.


CBS News recommends in the article, 6 ways to cut prom costs:


However, it is possible to shrink prom costs to a more manageable level. Andrea Woroch, a consumer and money saving expert, provided some great tips on how to slash the price:


1. Don’t overspend on the dress.


You can find cheaper dresses at consignment shops and discounted bridesmaid dresses at bridal shops. You can also rent a dress. offers designer dresses and accessory rentals for savings up to 90 percent off retail.


2. Don’t overspend on the tuxedo.


The average cost of renting a tuxedo is $141, according to You can cut the price if you don’t order the deluxe packages that can include such things as a pocket square and vest. When my son went to proms, he saved a considerable amount of money by picking the no-frills tuxedo. Nobody, after all, is looking at the boys’ outfits. Price breaks are also possible if friends place orders together.


3. Skip the florist.


Grocery stores are often a cheaper source of flowers than florist shops. According to Woroch, the cost can be as much as 40 percent lower. You can also make your own corsage or boutonniere after following this tutorial from LovelyCraftHome.


4. Do your own hair.


Formal up-do’s can cost around $40. Up-dos, however, are being replaced by more casual looks that you can do at home. Here are some hair ideas from the popular website Pinterest. My daughter got her prom up-dos at a beauty school, which was a cheaper option.


5. Take your own photos.


Formal prom portraits can cost up to $75 per person. Skip those photos and use the photos that mom and dad take when dates meet before the prom begins. You can always use your smartphone to take pictures during the prom. 


6. Use coupons.


Here’s my own idea: use prom coupons at Retailers with deals at the site include  Nordstrom, Kohl’s, Sears, Target, Express, House of Brides, TJ Formal and Victoria’s Secret.


The key is to be reasonable.


The Partnership for a Drug Free America has some great advice for parents on prom night:     


To keep celebrations safe and healthy, here are some helpful tips and advice for parents and caregivers:    


Know Your Teens’ Plans and tell them to update you if the itinerary changes so you’re aware of their whereabouts.


Check In With Them Via Text – they are more likely to reply, since it’s discreet. You can send messages like “Hope ur having a gr8 time!” or “U OK?” before and after the dance.


Trust Your Teens and resist the urge to hover. You’ve filled them in on the rules and the risks – chances are they got the message.


 Additional Resources:
For a Safe Prom Night: Parents, Please Don’t Serve Alcohol to Teens


Survey: Parents Let Their Own Experiences Affect Drug and Alcohol Boundaries Set for Teens at Prom and Graduation Parties


The emphasis is on limiting alcohol use and keeping in touch with your child. 


Letty Maldando echoes the advise to keep in touch with your teen in her ehow article, How to Plan a Safe Prom Night for Your Teen


 Step 1


Prepare a complete itinerary of the prom night events. Include:


*Prom pre-party, party, and post party location information

*Phone numbers – friends, locales, limo driver, prom chaperones, etc…

*Transportation alternatives

*List of people they’ll be with – include phone numbers and parent info


Make sure that both you and your teen have a copy of the itinerary so that you can reach other in an emergency.


Step 2


Discuss prom night safety issues well in advance. This should not be something that parents should be shouting at teens as they are leaving. Prepare what information you want to share. Bring notes if you think you might trip up on your words. Don’t be shy about the topics (alcohol, drugs, sex). If need be, pull out some news stories and pictures of the consequences of unsafe behavior. Sometimes visual aids are more memorable than a lecture.


Step 3


Agree on an “unconditional” call for your help and/or a ride home if something should happen. If you are worried that your child won’t call you (even with this agreement) then assign a trusted relative, friend, or neighbor that will take the phone call and help them out of whatever the situation may be.


Step 4


Hire a driver to ensure that your teen has reliable transportation. If this is not financially feasible then make sure that you know the person who will be driving on prom night. Meet your teen’s friends and don’t be afraid to have the “no drinking and driving” conversation with them as well.


Step 5


Set up a check in time for each part of the evening. If they are going to be hopping around to several locations make sure to receive a call from them as they arrive at each place. If your teen doesn’t want to call in or misses a check in then set up a text message that they can respond to with a code word that indicates that they’re doing well. It’s best to speak to them directly but a text message is the next best thing.     


According to Maldando and the Partnership for a Drug Free America, parents should communicate both before and during the prom. They should know what their children’s plans for are for the evening.  



High school administrators have cancelled school dances and proms because of the phenomenon of freak or dirty dancing. King5.Com reported about a recent dirty dancing incident at Nathan Hale High School.


The dance lights have been shelved and the beat silenced at Nathan Hale High School after the principal determined that the homecoming dance got out of control.


“The students were dancing inappropriately,” said Dr. Jill Hudson. “I’m not going to get into the details.”


She wouldn’t describe the offending behavior.


“What I’m determined in calling it is inappropriate behavior,” said Hudson. “I cannot allow that at school functions.”


But she did tell the school’s student newspaper that “students were dancing with their genitals against each other and that’s not OK” and that creates an unsafe environment for other students.


There have been several incidents of dirty dancing at schools in California. Carla Rivera writes in the LA Times that some schools are requiring students and parents to sign contracts saying they won’t engage in dirty dancing


To many observers, many forms of freak or dirty dancing are really simulations of sex acts. A lot of issues arise such as setting boundaries for teen sexual behavior, peer pressure to engage in inappropriate behavior or dress and the general question of is this really good for teens?


What is Freak or Dirty Dancing?


Love to Know: Party defines freak dancing


Freak or dirty dancing is sexually suggestive dancing and the question is whether it is appropriate for teens in middle or high school?


What are Sexual Boundaries?


Women’s Health Center has an excellent definition of boundaries




A boundary is your personal physical, emotional and sexual comfort zone. We all have a gut feeling that lets us know when our boundaries are being broken.


Below are examples of how boundaries can be broken:


Interrupting a conversation


Taking someone’s possessions without her or his permission


Teasing or making fun of someone


Asking very personal questions


Telling other people stories about someone


Making someone uncomfortable by always being around or invading their private space


Saying or doing things that others find offensive or vulgar


Forcing someone into doing something sexual


Physically assaulting someone


Using inappropriate language or touching


Using violence in any way


Healthy Place says the setting boundaries are important to minimize sexual assault


Teens must understand that communication is not only verbal, but physical as well. What they are communicating with body language or apparel may or may not be what they intend to communicate.


How to Talk to Your Teen About Sexual Boundaries


Stop It Now MN has some excellent guidelines about talking to kids about sexual boundaries


Things have sure changed from back in the day.





Prom Night Perils



A Prom Night Plan: Avoiding the Perils of Drunk Driving


Straight Talk About Sex


Negotiate and Enforce Curfews


Keeping Teens Safe and Sober on Prom Night


Prom Lessons Learned the Easy Way



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