Hello there to all of my ‘pershing road’ readers, that is, if you’re still here after my ‘sabbatical’ from this blog!! I started ‘pershing road’ last fall after hemming and hawing, writing and prepping throughout the summer months. I was so excited and gung-ho to get it up and running, and I was pretty diligent about posting regularly. Then the time came to dive head-on into preparations for Gracie’s after-prom party. Many months later, after lots of blood, sweat and tears (literally!), I am glad that it’s over and so proud of what was accomplished!
What is the After-Prom Party?
I was a co-chair for the decorations committee for my son’s after prom party five years ago, then again for my older daughter’s three years ago, so, of course, I wanted to be a part of it for my youngest’s prom! I am extremely grateful that our school district and amazing local community support this event. It is put on by our PTSA and it is a lock-in party after the formal prom party. We hold it in the high school and we usually have a 95% or more attendance rate from the prom goers and junior class members (even if they don’t attend prom!)
Although I have been involved with decorations, that is just one aspect of the many important factors that make this event possible! It is completely free for the kids to attend and we do a lot of fundraising and rely on donations from so many community members! We actually start planning around October. There are a lot of games and entertainment such as a casino area, musicians, magician, hypnotist, bouncy houses, photo booths and an unbelievable raffle with hundreds of prizes, everything from concert tickets, kayaks, dorm fridges, AirPods, clothing, hiking and camping equipment, you name it! Not to mention the food!!! The food committee gets donations from all different local venues and there is so much good stuff to eat all night long!!
The formal prom ends at 11:00pm and the students rush home to change into comfy sweats or shorts and get to the school as quickly as possible before we close the doors. The party goes from 11:45 pm, when the kids have to arrive and check-in by, until 4:00am.
Why have an After-Prom Party?
We consider it our job to make this after-prom party so awesome that they:
- Can’t wait to get there
- Don’t feel like they’re ‘in school’
- Have so much fun that they tell their friends, who then can’t wait to go in the future!
There are too many horror stories out there about terrible tragedies that occur on prom nights. Our school district and we parents don’t want our students to be faced with any of these challenges! Each year the PTSA chooses a secret theme for the after-prom party. We then decorate around that theme in the hopes of transforming the school into a fun-filled environment that doesn’t look like the same old walls they see day in and day out!
Why is it so much work?
This year we decided to transform different areas of the school into different cities around the world. The students enter the party into one of our gymnasiums. Believe me, it’s a pretty ugly space! We have our work cut out for us!
Welcome to London, England
We built a huge Big Ben towering up into the center. Lots of left-over cardboard came in handy for our double decker bus that we made as the backdrop for the food cafe area. Assorted cafe tables, kindly donated from local families and friends, finished out the eating area. Then we created the outline of the London Eye ferris wheel out of strings of lights on the wall. Old materials from past proms and school musicals came in super handy to build a facade of the London Bridge.
On another wall we decorated around the bleachers to make it look like Kensington Palace, complete with some royal visitors!! These made some fun photo ops for the kids.
At the exit heading out of London we had the Platform 9 3/4 for all of our Harry Potter fans! This was another fun place to take pictures!
Where to next?
When the kids left London they found themselves entering the Central Park area of New York City. There was a fun hot dog cart serving hot dogs from one of our favorite local restaurants!
The walls were decorated with lights to outline the cityscape at night and the Brooklyn bridge. We transformed a staircase into a NYC stoop which then led to a fun newsstand filled with delicious treats!
My teens are as into the show ‘Friends’ as I am. When I think of NYC I think of ‘Friends’ and felt it necessary to make this image of the Central Perk facade on my Cricut machine. We had a Central Perk sitting area as they exited the park and entered the subway.
From here we had a very long hallway to decorate. What else could it be but the NYC subway? We bought and created some artwork of New York scenery, enlisted some talented art students to make some graffiti, and transformed this space into a subway.
Off to Venice, Italy
The last area we had to decorate was where we were serving coffee and desserts. We decided to make it resemble an outdoor cafe in Venice, Italy. We set up many tables and had lights and flags strung above. There was a musician playing and many kids tended to hang here and relax and enjoy all of the amazing desserts from local vendors!
I am mostly highlighting the decorations in this post because that is the committee I was on, however, they are just one part of why the after-prom parties at our school are such a big hit! Each time I have been involved I am blown away by all of the hard work put forth by a multitude of parents, staff and community members!
What about the actual prom?
I haven’t posted about the actual prom yet because those pics will require permission from my girl!!! Hopefully I’ll be able to share those in the near future!!
Do you think an after-prom party is important?
I’d love to hear what you think about our after-prom party! Do schools in your community host one? Do you do other things to help avoid prom-night tragedies? Please leave me comments below!