Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

TPIB: Prom!

Prom! That’s right, it is prom season.  Last week as the girls and I were out shopping, we couldn’t help but look at the dresses EVERYWHERE.  The tween and I spent some time looking at them, apparently you are never to young to start thinking about prom.  We told one teen with a group of her friends that she would look amazing in her dress (and she did).  And then a panic set in – one day, my baby might be going to prom.  Much sooner than I would like.  Luckily for her, I already have the perfect prom planning guide: The Prom Book: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need by Lauren Metz.

As you all know, I am a huge fan of Zest Books for my teen nonfiction needs, so I was excited to see The Prom Book.  It has a resourceful planning guide, which includes breaking down your budget.  It has a great countdown preparation guide.  Apparently in March you should have been finalizing your look.  There is of course a section on make-up, nails and hair. It’s a good little planning tool.  There is a whole section on planning your look that is an amazing flow chart and a helpful list of things to carry in your purse.  My favorite part?  It has a post prom section that asks what you are going to do with your dress and lets teens know they can donate it (Donate My Dress).

I will say, from a library point of view, it has A LOT of fill-in-the-blank pages, which of course always makes use nervous.  Although, as I have mentioned before, this has never been an issue for me in the past.  I would, however, recommend maybe putting a note on the book letting teens know that they can make copies of the pages.  These would make great giveaways at a prom themed program (or at a fall Zombie prom) as well.  If you are a teen, or the parent of a teen, who is in the midst of prom season, you will definitely want it.  When prom fever hits, this book will fly off the shelves.

Take 5: Teen Books About Prom

Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Anti-Prom by Abby McDonald
Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
Carrie by Stephen King (What? It totally counts)
Prom Dates from Hell multiple authors

Programming Ideas: Things to Make and Do

You can have a pre-prom craft party where teens come and make their own corsages and accessories. Looking through your craft books will give you a lot of great ideas.  And here are a few of my favorites that have just a touch of elegance for prom.

Make Your Own Corsages
This is touted as a Mother’s Day corsage, but these little wrist corsages would be great for prom.

There are so many crafts out there for making hair accessories.  If you don’t believe me, do a quick Google search.  Here are a couple of my favorites.  For the record, I think these little button bobby pins are perfect for prom.

Braided Head Band


Button Bobby Pins Tutorial: http://www.littlemissmomma.com/2011/06/kojo-guest-post.html

Duct Tape Prom
Teens have made entire prom wear out of Duct tape.  That takes more time and effort (and $ – all that Duct tape!) then we usually have for a program, but teens can make their own Duct tape bow ties.  The bow ties can also be turned into super adorbs necklaces.

Duct Tape Bow Tie/Duct Tape Bow Tie Necklace: http://thecraftychica.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-to-make-duct-tape-bowtie-necklace.html

Bottle Cap Brooch Tutorial: http://blog.creativekismet.com/2011/04/20/bottle-cap-brooch-tutorial/

For some reason, type that made me want to sing “Jewelry, what is it good for?”  Jewelry seems like an obvious go-to for a prom related craft program.  And you no doubt have a ton of resources right there on your shelves.  These little bracelets kick-it up a notch in the elegance department, IMHO.

Anthropologie Inspired Lace Bracelet: http://kojo-designs.com/2011/08/kojotutorial-anthropologie-knock-off-vintage-lace-bracelet/

DIY Lace Bracelet: http://clurcook.blogspot.com/2012/08/diy-lace-bracelet.html

The After Prom Opportunities

Don’t forget AFTER PROM!  You can do Instagram crafts using the Instragram pics you know will be taken, including making these fun Instagram bookmarks.  There are all kinds of Mini-Scrapbooks, Scrapbook and Photo Frame crafts you can do.

More Prom Resources
If you don’t want to go prom fashion and accessories, you can think prom prep in terms of Spa activities, inviting make-up artists in to teach the basics, etc.

More Prom on TLT
The Zombie Prom
Steve Moser’s Prom Spectacular

Prom books and giveaway by HMH Teen

I wore a blue Scarlet O’Hara type dress.  Hoopskirt and white elbow length gloves.  And I drove myself and my date in a tiny little yellow car.  I could barely get the door closed thanks to that stupid hoop skirt.  Looking back, it was a hideous dress. I shudder at the horror of the memory of it.  But yes, I went to prom.  I went to prom with my high school boyfriend that I was sure I was going to marry some day.  The Mr. is not that boyfriend.  No, we broke up about 6 months later.  He was 1 grade year behind me and we decided we would go all out for prom the next year, his senior year.  He ended up taking someone else.  So let this be a lesson to you, make every prom year count because each one is special and you deserve it.  But don’t go overboard with the money, it really is just one day.

To help get you ready for prom, HMH Teen is providing you the opportunity to win a prize packet of prom themed books.  Read on for detials.

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

February 2009 | $8.99 paperback | ISBN 9780547259406

As Jessica stands waiting for the bus a hot new guy stares her down from across the street.  She doesn’t know it yet but she is his destiny.  Albeit quite reluctantly on her part.  Lucius is a vampire, and it turns out Jessica is to. Surprise!  Armed with a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica slowly, and reluctantly, transforms from American teenager to European vampire princess.  Can you take a vampire to prom?  And can Jessica keep her vampire to herself with that pesky head cheerleader trying to get her claws in him?  Read this great vampire book to find out how that goes.  I read it a little over a year ago and liked it.  I especially liked how Jessica stands up for herself in the end and chooses to embrace her destiny.  It has everything you can want in a book: humor, hot vampires, and a girl who ultimately decides that she is going to take control of her fate.

Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

March 2012 | $17.99 hardcover | ISBN 9780547626147
Prom night at the posh Lexington Hotel sounds like a dream come true, but Haven Terra soon learns all is not what it seems. Can she save her classmates souls from a group of glamorous yet diabolical angels in training? “Equal parts romantic and mysterious!”—Seventeen.com
Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber
October 2011 | $16.99 hardcover | ISBN 9780547577388
Perry finally has a gig scheduled with his band in the Big Apple, but it’s prom night and he is forced to take quiet, geeky exchange student Gobi. Turns out, though, Gobi is a trained assassin and the night turns from deadly dull to just plain deadly.  A laugh-out-loud page turner.
The Fashion Coloring Book by carol + lulu
March 2012 | $12.99 paperback | ISBN 9780547553955
Thinking about designing your own prom dress? This coloring book by artist Carol and fashion blogger Lulu features pages inspired by some of today’s hottest designers and will get your inner fashionista started!
US Residents can enter to win.  Simply open the Rafflecopter link and choose what options work for you.  One winner will be contacted by TLT and HMH Teen will send the books to you.  Teen librarians can enter to win a set for their school or public library.  Or teens can enter to win for themselves (you could donate them to your library if you wanted to.)

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TPIB: Prom Spectacular (by Steve Moser)

One of the worst parts of having worked at a tuxedo shop is that you suffer from “Prom Brain” every spring.  So, if you’re going to be thinking of prom anyway, why not embrace it and help your teens at the same time, right?  I can’t take credit for the basic idea of this program.  It was done at my library a few years before I started there.  In fact, my first exposure to the Prom Spectacular concept was coming on behalf of the shop where I worked at the time to try to sign up guys to become prom reps for our store.  What I didn’t know at that time was that I would end up working for the library and would be reviving this program in just a few years!

If you’ve ever been to a bridal show, then you’ve seen the Prom Spectacular concept in another form. Our program is basically a bridal show for prom kids.  What are the most important aspects of a successful Prom Spectacular?  There are two: a slew of local businesses to provide information and support for your program, and a fashion show.    As you enter our program, you’ll find our auditorium ringed with tables covered with displays.  Each participating business is given one six-foot table to set up as they please. 

Here’s a starting point for you.  First, you need to pick a date.  The timing for a program like this is tricky. We’ve found that mid-February seems to be the best time for the program.  In January, teens are not ready to think about prom.  By March, many of them have already found their prom dresses and set up their tuxedos.  

After you have a date in mind, you’ll need to line up dresses and tuxedos for the fashion show.  We get all of our dresses from the Deb Shop at our local mall.  They have been easy to work with and they bring staff members to help the girls change into and out of their dresses.  They are asked, because I know nothing about women’s clothing, to provide write-ups for the dresses that will be in the fashion show.  I round up 8-10 girls to model the dresses and they go to the store to pick out 2-3 dresses each to model.  The Deb Shop even provides shoes for the girls to wear if they don’t have their own.

Our tuxedos come from our local Men’s Wearhouse.  I line up 4-5 guys to model tuxes for the fashion show.  The guys each have two tuxedos to model with a change of vest and tie for each tuxedo.  That gives them four looks total.  In the fashion show, sometimes the models walk separately; sometimes they walk as couples if the colors of the vests and the dresses work out to match. Since our local Men’s Wearhouse staff is all women, and myself, and the thought of women in the room with teenage guys who are changing clothes makes me nervous, I get the pleasure of getting the guys into and out of their tuxedos in time for their next appearance on the runaway.  I assure you that this is not an easy task.  It has come to my attention that the majority of teenage guys have apparently never had clothing with buttons-and tuxedos have a LOT of buttons!

The Ohio State Beauty Academy is located in Lima, so I luck out on that one.  They send students to the library the day of the program to do prom hairstyles for each of the girls who are modeling for the fashion show.  The girls are in charge of their own makeup.  

Last year we doubled our attendance from the previous year.  I approached our local radio station, 93.9 KISS FM and asked if they could provide one of their on-air personalities to emcee our event.  I got DJ OldSkool, who hosts the after school hours on air.  He’s the one the teens are listening to while they’re procrastinating instead of doing their homework.  The radio station put together a music mix for the fashion show and he came and hosted the event for free!  Best of all, they gave me free advertisements on the air on four different stations!  I also promote the event in the area schools with flyers, on the announcements, and all other media outlets that will let me show up and talk. 

To round out the businesses, we include two local florists, and Chad Hughes of Lifebulb Design – a local photographer who promotes senior pictures and also photographs the event for me.  For the girls, we have a Mary Kay salesperson who shares makeup information and an Avon sales rep that can help with makeup as well as jewelry!  With a little digging, almost any community can provide a variety of businesses involved in prom night plans.

Program day starts early as I pick up a continental breakfast that’s been donated by our local Panera Bread or another similar restaurant.   I do this because we start hairstyles around 9:00 a.m. And my experience is that teenagers haven’t been up long enough to eat breakfast and get to the library on time at this point.  Maybe this is because I’m a guy, but I was caught off guard the first year with how long prom hairstyles take. I guess I’m spoiled with short hair that only takes about 30 seconds just out of the shower! Starting at nine provides just enough time that the hairstyles are done and we can do a run-through of the fashion show at 11:00. A practice run is a necessary evil as the teens need practice to be able to slow down.  If I let them walk at their pace, our fashion show would be about 10 minutes long!

After a rehearsal, and a lecture on walking slower and taking a few laps around the stage, we eat lunch. I’ve been blessed with donated pizza every year we’ve done this program.  After lunch, and for the last 30 minutes before the program starts at 1:00 in the afternoon, I send the teens up to the main floor to roam around in full prom gear to try to nab all the last minute promotion I can get!

We start the program at 1:00.  The models are sequestered in their changing rooms with cards and magazines to keep them busy.  The public is ushered into the auditorium and given 30 minutes to visit with the participating businesses and gather information on what they need for prom and how to save some money in the process.  Many of the vendors do prize giveaways. We make announcements throughout this time to let them know how long until the fashion show starts.   

I’ve found that starting the fashion show 30 minutes into the program ensures that patrons actually visit the businesses who are participating in the event. When we started with the fashion show, we lost the majority of our crowd immediately after the show, so many of them didn’t even make it around to all the tables.

I try to space out each model’s appearance in the fashion show so they have enough time to change without too much stress, but inevitably, we have one close call every year.  Someone is being zipped up as they run down the hall.  I have a volunteer or staff member at the back door of the auditorium who is in charge of making sure the models enter in the correct order.  I also intersperse blurbs about each business with the other write-ups in the fashion show to give us a little extra time for the quick changes.  Honestly, the fashion show has always been a success.  People say good things about it, but it’s all a blur to me because it goes by so fast!  We usually end up with about 20-25 minutes of fashion show.  After the fashion show patrons are invited to continue visiting the vendors for additional information. 

Overall, Prom Spectacular is a lot of prep work and can be a crazy half hour during the fashion show, but over the years, we’ve grown the program to include about 12 local businesses, and to bring in an audience of around 150 people.  Since everything is provided by the participating businesses, and the food is donated, the program costs me little to no part of my programming budget.  The businesses enjoy participating in the event, we get a lot of good PR, and it’s worth the work in the end because it helps my teens get ready for a big event in their lives!

Steve Moser is the Teen Librarian at The Lima Public Library.
He can be reached at 419-228-5113×121 or at mosers@limalibrary.com
Information on this year’s Prom Spectacular and additional photos can be found at www.facebook.com/LPLTeens – we’d love your “like”