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Prom 2016: 39 Tidbits of Trivia

Whether you love it or hate it, when it comes to prom, one thing is for sure: You will remember it! But the over-the-top event we know today—along with all its drama, glitz, and glamor—didn’t start out anything like that. We’ve collected a bit of ancient history for you as well as some current fun—and sometimes frightening (at least money-wise!)—facts about Prom.

  1. The tradition of prom—short for promenade—started in the 19th century.

  2. It was only in the 1900s that high schools adopted the tradition of the prom.

  3. Prom started as a formal gathering of college coeds to celebrate the graduating class.

  4. A “corsage” was the original name for the bodice or waist of a woman’s dress, and a small bouquet was often worn at the waistline. The term was later adopted for flowers worn around the wrist.

  5. The wrist corsage was first seen in weddings and then later on in proms and dances.

  6. Proms started out simple but became more and more extravagant after the Second World War.

  7. In the 1930s prom dresses were conservative and casual. After World War Two, the dress quickly became an extravagant focal point.

  8. By the 1950s, splurging on prom was already the norm.

  9. The 1980s saw a massive boom in prom fashion. Designer prom dresses were in high demand and high school girls now considered prom night to be the most important night of their lives.

  10. The very first prom movie was in 1948, “A Date with Judy” and starred Elizabeth Taylor.

  11. Stephen King’s horror prom novel “Carrie” has been made into a film three times: 1976 with Sissy Spacek, 2002 with Angela Bettis and 2013 with Chloe Grace Moretz.

  12. Prom is considered the number two most important event in a teen’s life. It’s outranked only by getting a driver’s license.

  13. The average parent spends 6 weeks and 400 miles of driving for prom shopping and prep.

  14. The average prom budget is now around $1,078 per family.

  15. The average prom dress costs “only” $200 but can quickly double and even triple in price.

  16. Today’s high school girls will try on an average of 10 prom dresses before finding The One.

  17. More than half of all prom attendees will save memorabilia from prom night.

  18. As of now, there are approximately 20 prom-themed movies. One of the most popular is the 1999 “She’s All That” starring Freddie Prinz Jr., Rachel Leigh Cook, Matthew Lillard, and Paul Walker.

  19. Big name Hollywood former prom queens include Rosie O’Donnell, Halle Berry, and Cindy Crawford.

  20. According to a 2013 survey, 1,025 parents of prom-age students consider prom night as a rite of passage, so the hefty price tag is seen as entirely reasonable.

  21. Modern parents try to rationalize the cost of a pricey prom dress as an “investment” that their daughter will wear more than once. (Good luck with that!)

  22. Hair and makeup alone can run from $30 to almost $300.

  23. Costs for shoes, jewelry, and evening bag can quickly climb into the hundreds—that’s in addition to the dress.

  24. Spray tans have surged in popularity and cost between $25 and $70.

  25. Boutonnieres now run $10 to $30.

  26. Prom tickets vary wildly depending on location. A school gymnasium might be only $20.  A fancy  hotel ballroom can run up to $250 per ticket.

  27. Tux rentals run $60 to $200.

  28. Corsages now cost between $20 and $50.

  29. The cost of formal prom night photos ranges from $30 to $125.

  30. Stretch limousines are still the preferred mode of prom transportation.

  31. On average, the Northeast United States spends the most on prom night, the South comes in second, and West is third and the Midwest, on average, spends the least. Average numbers run $1,528, $1,203, $1,079, and $722 respectively.

  32. Average prom spending jumped nearly 50% between 2011 and 2013 from $807 to $1,139.

  33. Single parents tend to spend more on prom night than married parents. Married parents spend an average of only $700 while single parents will often willingly spend up to $1,500 on all prom expenses.

  34. When it comes to splitting costs, parents pitch in an average of 59% while teens shoulder 41%.

  35. Regarding losing your virginity on prom night, 5% of girls claim this loss with only 3% of boys claiming to theirs.

  36. 14% of girls expect to have sex on prom night. Figures for guys aren’t available but are probably about the same.

  37. 54% of students will average more than 4 drinks on prom night.

  38. 90% of teens believe that their fellow classmates will drink and drive on prom night.

  39. The highest profile prom on record is held by Susan Ford, daughter of President Gerald Ford. She hosted her prom in the White House while her dad was in Europe. Prom security was handled by the Secret Service. (Talk about tough bouncers!)