So, you're on the hunt for the best prom themes and ideas for your graduating class. Any school can host the overdone “A Night Under the Stars” themed prom night, but this year you’ll want to go with a big and bold party theme.
As one of the most special events in high school that students have to wait four years for, the classic prom is meant to be a magical night—that’s why we’re here to help with plenty of unique prom themes and entertainment ideas.
It’s officially time to round up the high school prom committee, plan all of the event logistics, and brainstorm prom theme ideas to get started. Luckily for you, the party pros here at The Bash already gathered the best 30 prom themes and ideas for a memorable night.
Here are the best prom theme ideas for a memorable night:
The Great Gatsby
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Aside from just reading the classic novel in English class, give students an even deeper appreciation for the roaring 20s with a Great Gatsby themed night. Book a talented jazz band to recreate the '20s sound, incorporate a black and gold color scheme, and light the venue with sparkling chandeliers. You'll also want to be sure to include feather boas, fake pearls, and confetti poppers at the photo booth to capture the evening in style. Don't forget to request songs from the most recent movie that guests will love and Jay Gatsby would approve of.
A Night in Paris
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There’s a reason why A Night in Paris is such a popular prom theme—it’s a classic. Transport guests to the city of love with twinkling lights, cobblestone accents, and of course a model or silhouette of the Eiffel Tower. Add the finishing touches by booking a french musician, hiring a street mime, and serving Parisian classics including macaroons and croissants. It’s been proven that you can never go wrong with any type of Paris theme.
New York, New York
Take a trip to the Big Apple even if you’re celebrating prom in the high school gym! Book novelty food trucks serving New York street classics ranging from pretzels to New York-style pizza, fill the space with skyline decor, create an NYC-themed music playlist, and even book a human statue of Lady Liberty for the perfect photo opportunity.
Fire and Ice
When brainstorming fire and ice prom theme ideas, you’ll want to start with the classic contrasting color scheme of red and orange against blue and white. Incorporate the theme into the food options like spicy appetizers and chilled dessert. You can also carry the fire and ice theme into exciting entertainment by booking a fire dancer or eater.
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First, decide between old Hollywood glam or a modern red carpet event. If you’re going old school, find a retro theater venue in your area, book a talented pianist, and schedule a visit from Hollywood’s most familiar faces including Marilyn Monroe and other talented impersonators. Stick with a red, black, and white color scheme and project classic movies that will immerse guests in the films.
If opting for a more glitz and glam take on modern Hollywood, you’ll definitely need a replica of the iconic sign to use as a photo backdrop for when the paparazzi strikes. Hand out awards when guests enter the space, incorporate red velvet for a luxe and elegant feel, and decorate the dance floor with disco balls for a dazzling effect. No matter how you choose to execute this, you can never go wrong with a Hollywood prom theme.
Beauty and the Beast
It’s a tale as old as time, that’s why it makes a perfect theme for prom night. Decorate the prom venue with roses, candelabras, and clocks to incorporate details from the movie. Serve “Be Our Guest” inspired dishes and finger foods, and you can even book a string quartet to play throughout the night, and of course, the slow dance song. You’ll want to channel all the elegance of the Disney classic with your Beauty and the Beast prom theme ideas.
If you haven’t already heard, the immersive Van Gogh exhibit has been one of the most popular pop-up attractions over the past year. Instead of the generic under the stars prom theme, try Van Gogh’s Starry Night prom theme for a unique spin. Book an art gallery venue in your area, project Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings for guests to interact with, and schedule a caricaturist artist so everyone can go home with their own piece of art.
Taylor Swift Eras
There will be a number of Swifties going to prom this year, so bring The Eras Tour to high school with a Taylor Swift prom theme. Decorate the space by incorporating touches from each of Taylor’s iconic eras, book a cover band to play her most popular hits, and serve themed food and drinks like Cruel Summer sliders and Lavender Haze lemonade.
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Who doesn’t love a trip to the carnival? This non-traditional prom theme guarantees a unique and memorable time for everyone. Decorate your space with red and white stripes to replicate the big top, book classic variety acts and carnival games for guests to play, and organize good old-fashioned treats like popcorn and cotton candy as snacks throughout the night.
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Bring a fairy tale to life with an enchanted forest prom theme. Transform the prom venue into a magical garden that will feel like people are walking into a storybook. The key is using twinkling string lights, different greenery, and leading archways, similar to a garden theme. Find live musicians in your area, incorporate pink and purple floral arrangements, and even book a fairy costumed character to enhance the magic.
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Extravagant and mysterious only begin to describe a masquerade ball prom theme. We recommend booking a ballroom with high ceilings, chandeliers, and sleek architectural details to make the evening even more sophisticated. Depending on the look you are going for, any color palette can be incorporated such as rich jewel tones or dark and metallic.
Pro Tip: As a prom invitation idea, make sure to include directions for guests to wear their best mask. Have a few extras on hand so no one feels left out if they left theirs at home.
This isn’t any ordinary Wizard of Oz themed school dance. It’s time to go green by transforming the prom venue into Emerald City. The yellow brick road can lead into the space and guide guests to an emerald green dance floor. Have fun with photo booth props, backdrops of Kansas, and of course ruby red slippers!
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Bring on all of the beads and bling for a Mardi Gras prom night that will make guests feel like they are celebrating in the French Quarter of NOLA. Green, purple, and gold are the main colors you are going to want to include, and of course, you’ll need a brass band to get the energy high and set the tone. Don’t forget the King Cake Mardi Gras tradition! Serve this dessert after a signature Louisiana dish for an authentic celebration..
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Travel back in time and celebrate prom traditions throughout the years by highlighting different decades. Book specific entertainment and set up prom decorations depending on the era you choose. For example, if hosting an 80s prom theme, book an 80s band for exciting live entertainment, cue up an 80s playlist and use a neon color scheme. Choose any decade you want because everyone loves a good throwback!
Channel the elegance and sophistication of old England with a Bridgerton themed prom night. Incorporate fresh floral arrangements with the help of a professional florist, book a silhouette artist to create custom artwork for guests, and rather than a prom king and queen, crown the Diamonds of the Season!
Photo: Sean Pavone/shutterstock.com
We’ll place a bet that a Las Vegas casino night is a unique and exciting prom theme you haven’t seen before. Rent mock casino games or arcade games to place throughout the venue if guests want to test their luck. Decorate each table with green felt to replicate poker and incorporate dice and playing cards in the centerpieces as the final touches.
Under the Sea
An oldie but a goodie is an under the sea themed school dance. Stand out from this predictable cliche by booking wow-worthy entertainment including costumed characters. Our site features mermaids, pirates, and other sea creatures that will create a one-of-a-kind photo opportunity for guests. Construct a blue balloon wall with green streamers and accent the space with starfish and seashells to help imitate an oceanic setting.
Creative Prom Ideas
A Unique Prom Venue
Your prom venue and theme go hand-in-hand. While you can transform a high school gym, banquet hall, or community center with creative decorations, other types of venues can set the stage for you. Consider a loft space, warehouse, theatre, garden, art gallery, ballroom, concert hall, museum, barn venue or patio.
Pro Tip: Check out The Bash for event venues in major cities across the country.
Photo: DANIEL CONSTANTE/shutterstock.com
Chances are, the majority of high schoolers are already on TikTok. Allow guests to create special prom content with a TikTok filming station for a unique entertainment option. Set up a backdrop, have plenty of ring lights, gather props, and even start a dance challenge with a unique hashtag so everyone can watch them afterward.
Sometimes a sit-down dinner is never actually eaten during prom night between all the dancing, talking, and pictures. Rather than a large dinner, keep the bites light by booking a variety of food trucks instead. Choose anything from Mexican and burgers, to donuts and ice cream. Trust us, the high schoolers will love a food truck for a unique prom idea.
Throughout the years, the simple question of “will you go to prom with me?” just doesn’t cut it anymore. Today, people are opting for grand gestures to ask their special someone to the dance. Students can submit pictures or videos of their special promposals to be displayed during the evening while peers vote for the best, most creative, etc.
Hair and Makeup Bar
Photo: Michael Jurick Photography
While dancing the night away, guests might need some hair and makeup touch-ups here and there. Organize a beauty bar for people to add final touches to their look when they enter the venue or right before they take pictures. Browse our site to find a hair stylist and makeup artist in your area that will make everyone look picture perfect for the special night.
Photo: Sarayut Sridee/shutterstock.com
Some students don’t feel comfortable on the dance floor, and that’s completely okay! You’ll want to offer other options to keep guests entertained during prom night. Consider booking a fortune teller to give dance-goers a reading throughout the night. If this is a senior prom, what better way to look ahead to the future than with a fortune teller?
Photo: Nataliia Pyzhova/shutterstock.com
Prom is such a sweet time in a high schooler’s life, so take it to the next level with a candy buffet. This makes a great addition to prom night because it can be tailored to any theme and accommodate dietary restrictions for everyone to enjoy. Set up bags and containers for guests to create their own sweet treat to take home for a post-prom snack.
There is always that awkward period of time right after dinner when people wonder if they should get on the dance floor but don’t want to be the first ones. Fill that space with a comedy show performed by a professional comedian that will act as a seamless transition during the evening. After students enjoy their meal and have a few laughs, the comedian can invite everyone on to the dance floor to help avoid any pre-dance awkwardness.
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The hardest decision you’ll make when planning a prom is choosing between a DJ or live band. While they both will make the night memorable on the dance floor, a DJ offers a wide range of music options, can remix favorite songs, and can even act as an emcee to help direct flow of the evening and transition between events.
Allow guests to show off their outfits with a prom fashion show. Guests can strut down the stage, show off their looks, and peers can vote for the best dress, suit, hair, makeup, etc. Have a special prize for the winners at the end to commemorate their special night.
If opting for a live band, you’ll enjoy the interactive experience between the musicians and the crowd. A live band will have a personalized and unique sound, while also being able to take requests of people’s favorite songs. They will bring tons of energy to the celebration, which is ideal for making prom extra memorable.
Photo: Theo Eilertsen Photography/Unsplash
Take a break from dancing and switch things over to karaoke for a memorable time. Find a karaoke DJ in your area that supplies all of the equipment, song selections, and knows how to get everyone involved. Putting on a private concert for your peers will be a special memory that lasts forever and makes a perfect prom idea.
Don’t forget about the chaperones! Get everyone involved on prom night by arranging a few rounds of teacher trivia or “Are You Smarter Than a Teacher?”. Students can guess fun facts about their favorite teachers to learn a little more about them and go head to head to test their knowledge.
Find more prom theme ideas and inspiration here on The Bash.