Friday morning I was at The Dry Bar squeezing in a little beauty regimen when I overheard two stylists chatting about the upcoming weekend full of prom girls.

For weeks, I have been fascinated watching the pomp and circumstance of prom season:

Shopping, planning, organizing, dresses, tuxedos, shoes, hair, make-up, nails, limos, tickets, pre-party, after-party. hotels, photographs, corsages, dates, set ups ……..
Zendaya-Prom-cover-medium1. PAYING FOR THE PROM – Prom spending continues to outpace inflation and just over the last year there was a 5% increase in prom spending. The average cost for the prom according to the survey by VISA INC :

2011       –   $807

2012        -  $1079

2103         – $1139

NOTE – Lower income families spend more money on the prom than families with incomes above $50,000. Single parents plan to spend almost double the amount married parents will spend.


Prom Circa 2009

2. Prom Apps -  There is a Plan’it Prom App that helps parents and teenagers organize and budget for the prom. The  app and tips are part of Visa’s free, award-winning financial education program, Practical Money Skills for Life (

If you Google “prom” in .15 seconds there are 145 million hits!


2. Prom Fashion –  Teenagers look to celebrities who walk the red carpet for their prom ‘fashion statements’. Major differences: Celebrities have studio budgets, designers who furnish wardrobe; stylists who search out jewelry, shoes and accessories; and make-up and hair artists who create perfect looks – Teenagers have moms, dads, grandparents, babysitting money and texting friends to facilitate their lofty dreams and high expectations.

Prom Circa 2000

Prom Circa 1990

4. Drinking and Drugs – The police refer to the Prom seasons (April to June) as “Teen Killing Season” reflecting the fact that 33% of teen fatalities involving drinking and driving take place in this time period.

Police are cracking down on teen drunk drivers by setting up check points on main roads and visiting schools to warn students on the dangers of drunk driving. Police are asking parents to speak with their children to help prevent deaths and DUIs.

Schools have cancelled proms to prevent unchaperoned after-parties.

For plenty of teens, prom night is seen as an adolescents drinking rite of passage.

Prom Circa 1980

Prom Circa 1980

5. Prom Stories. A few years ago we had a major calamity when my daughter and her friend discovered they had the same dress (different colors) the morning of prom; this year the world watched a teenage boy invite a famous model to his prom on YouTube; one school tried to stop an older brother in his military uniform from taking his little sister to her prom; and two families are suing the school for sending their daughters home because their dresses revealed too much! My favorite is a story about Mareshia, a 17-year-old teenager in Wilcox, Georgia who helped plan the town’s first ever inter-rational prom. Until Mareshia there was only a black prom and a white prom put on by parents – a hold over from Southern racial segregation. Hello 2011!

Prom Circa 1970

Prom Circa 1970

6. Parents’ Prom Tips. Many websites make a point to tell parents to speak with their teens about obvious safety concerns with drugs and alcohol before the prom and in advance of the pre and post-prom parties. Talking to your teens is always a great idea!

Prom Circa 1960s

Prom Circa 1960

A scary statistic -  * The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) reports that about 30,000 students a year are seen in emergency rooms for alcohol overdose, a common problem associated with underage binge drinking.

Another statistic - Teenagers who drink  - more likely to drive impaired, but renting a limo does not solve the problem, it can almost seem like you are condoning their drinking, looking the other way, supplying the arlohol, 40% of underage drinkers get their alcohol from adults.

Prom circa 1950

Prom circa 1950

7.  Emily Post is still giving ‘prom’ advice in 2013 with a little 1950 flair -

Spiff up your manners to match your outfit.

Let Mom and Dad take your picture. (You’ll love it later!)

Stay sober. And don’t get in a car with a driver or anyone else who has been drinking. Better yet, take away the keys. Have some cab money just in case. You want to remember this evening as a special highlight in your life, not a tragedy.

Be back by curfew and keep your parents informed of any change in plans. (“Look, Mom—I’m responsible!”)

Have a great time!

 NInja Mom


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