Ideas for a 1950s Prom

Updated July 19, 2017

Although high school proms have been around since the early 1900s, proms began to hit their stride in the 1950s. The Great Depression was over and proms were becoming the lavish teenage social events they are today. It is no wonder that the 1950s is a popular prom theme. From the clothing to the music, the 1950s made quite an impact on the party scene.


Decorating kits are an economical option for proms. Packages that include decorative cardboard cutouts of classic cars, jukeboxes and guitars make for a festive atmosphere. Hang large replicas of vinyl records around the room. Add pink, white and black balloons to give the room a "greaser" and "Pink Lady" feel. Don't forget to include a 1950s themed archway for students to walk through as they enter the prom. Archways are a perfect place for a prom photo.


With so many hit songs coming from the '50s, you shouldn't have any shortage of music options. If you are hiring a live band to play your prom, look for a band that performs music only from this era. This type of group will have an authentic sound and look. If you are hiring a disc jockey, he needs to be very familiar with 1950s music to give you the best mix. Prepare song lists to provide to your DJ. Popular artists from the 1950s include Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday.


Include activities and contests that were popular in the '50s. Host a hula hoop or limbo contest. Teach dancers '50s dances such as the hand jive or the twist and have a dance contest. Provide big pink gumballs and have a bubble-blowing contest. For an unusual group activity, order a mystery party kit to play during prom. Murder by Mail has a prom themed mystery kit for up to 84 or more characters. Students will have fun solving a mystery at a 1950s prom. This kit even incorporates many traditional prom activities including crowing your prom queen and king.


Poodle skirts, bobby socks, penny loafers, letterman sweaters and blue jeans are some of the clothing items iconic from the 1950s. Items such as these can be found in retro clothing stores or in costume shops. '50s formal wear included suits and tuxes for men, often accentuated by a pink tie or shirt. Women wore long gowns with simple lines in either spaghetti strap or strapless designs. Simple jewellery such as a strand of pearls would be an appropriate choice for prom.


A few finishing touches will make your 1950s prom the best it can be. Contact your local auto museum for a list of '57 Chevy owners who rent their cars out. Hire a professional photographer to take prom photos of students in the car. Hand out prom party favours such as cat's eye sunglasses for the girls and fuzzy dice for the guys.

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About the Author

Shannon Morgan is a freelance writer from Missouri who has been writing professionally since 2007. She currently writes web content for Demand Studios and Textbroker. Prior to becoming a full-time freelance writer, she worked as a senior medical review assistant for a major health insurance company. She attended Jefferson College in Missouri.