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1. Pick a Theme
The theme of the after party sets the tone for the whole night. It determines ev- erything from the clothes you’ll wear to the food you’ll spill on those clothes. Needless to say, a good theme is imperative.
We’ve only a week until prom, so get brainstorming, Lancers. Everyone is in- cluded. No bad ideas. Except “Neon”, we’ve kind of worn that one out.
If you aren’t the creative type, though, why not learn from someone who is? Log into Facebook and stalk like you’ve never stalked before. People love to put up pictures from their after parties, so you’ll have no shortage of inspiration. Use your crazy, camp friend from St. Louis, your cousin, who graduated from East three years ago, or even friends from other schools. Some- one is bound to have done something that you can borrow or tweak to make your own.
If you’re looking to find a theme in a less creepy manner, try Pinterest.
Plus you’ll be sure to find crafts that will help you with the second item on this list.
2. Get Decorations
Now that you’ve got a theme it’s time to decorate the party space. Pick a few key colors from your theme and go nuts. For instance, if your theme is Mardi Gras, the room should be covered purple, green and gold streamers, balloons, glitter and anything else you can think of to make your friend’s average Prairie Village basement look like Bourbon Street.
For the basics, head to Party City, where almost every party asset you can think of is shelved in order of color. It truly is a type A, neat-freak, party planner’s
paradise. They also have sections devot- ed to certain themes, like 80s or USA, so for those of you wanting to knock out two steps at once, this is your place to do it. Want to spend more money on your cos- tume rather than decorations? Make your own from items you find around your house. Cut shapes out of that construc- tion paper that’s been in your desk since fifth grade and use double-sided tape to create a mural on your basement’s wall.
3. Get costumes
While you could order a full costume online, chances are you’ve already spent a sizeable sum on the rest of the night. This is where thrift shops come in handy. Plac- es like Savers and Maj-R Thrift are great for finding relatively cheap pieces to add to your outfit, just make sure to wash them first. You can find things like a pair of velvet bell-bottoms, perfect for a 60s themed after party, or an old man’s Hawaiian Tshirt for a Luau theme.
But a costume isn’t just a shirt and pants — accessories matter. In this case US Toy is a great place to find all different types of hats, wigs, necklaces, glasses and basically anything else your outfit could possibly need. You also likely find some- thing completely random, for instance a foam finger or a vuvuzela, which has noth- ing to do with your theme. My advice? Get it anyway, if nothing else it will be a good topic for small talk.
4. Make a Playlist
Music is great for filling awkward silences and getting people to dance around and have fun. But nothing is worse than having that one friend who always plays Sam Smith to show how deep they are grab hold of the aux cord.
To prevent moments like this make a playlist. Try to pick songs that are loud, upbeat and that most people can sing along to. If you consider yourself to have a more refined palate in your musical tastes and prefer artists like Bon Iver or Haim a good idea would be to stop being so pre- tentious. Play some Katy Perry.
Seriously, people don’t want beautiful melodies that or lyrics that make them ponder the meaning of life at their af- ter party. They just want to hear Lil Jon scream-asking what to turn down for and some guy named Fetty Wap talk about his trap queen.
For playlist ideas check Spotify. Under their genres and moods tab you can find great playlists that will get everyone in a party mood. Have an artist whose music you want on there? Use the related artists sidebar to add even more a similar songs.
5. Make Food
Finally we have the one major incentive to attend any event: food. With the amount of dancing and picture-taking you’ll be doing, you’ll be sure to work up a hunger that can only be satisfied with lots of junk food. And because curfews are generally extended for prom, it’s important to fuel yourself so you can make it past 12:30 p.m.
You can’t go wrong with the classic chips and dip, veggie plate and bowls of candy, but come on, this is prom we’re talking about. Kick it up a notch. Try having having a restaurant that serves finger foods cater. When your friends walk down and see the vast expanse of chicken nuggets and Chik-fil-A sauce their faces will pretty much look like the heart-eyed emoji.
Your theme can also help you come up with ideas for food. Dressing up like cowboys and Indians? Try the ever-cheesy “buffalo dip” (note: does not contain buffalo or any buffalo products.)