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The Cost Of Going To The Prom

It's Not Cheap – Not At All

 

Ah, being a high school kid nowadays – it seems to be very expensive, here in Easton, and just about everywhere else in the Good Old U.S. of A.  

, the pressure to wear the most fashionable shoes and clothes, driving the fancy ride – and then this spring, I mean, we've got ourselves Spring Break and the prom. 

Yikes. 

has done something smart for its prom; it has moved the event out of a fancy hotel in Boston, and to the South Shore, to Lake Pearl Luciano’s, a nice and classy function facility in Wrentham. 

Moving the prom to the South Shore saves money for the prom attendees. 

But, still, what the OA kids face is what kids everywhere face with the prom.   It costs a lot.   The ticket per student for the OA prom is $75 – with some kids (or their parents) paying the $150 for themselves and for their dates. 

Shoot, the purchase of a young lady’s formal dress for the big night runs anywhere from, what, $100 to $400?  Hair and makeup and nails can cost $40 or $50 or $250. 

The amount of money a couple or individual kicks in to the rental of limo can be $50 or $100.

On the girl’s side of things, she and/or her family can easily be looking at an $800 evening.

I totally agree with what OA mandates for those attending the prom – that they cannot drive, but rather have to be driven, either in a limo, or a school provided bus, or in another type of “chauffeured” arrangement. 

You don’t want young people driving to and from their prom. 

Okay, I’m throwing out numbers here, some of which I have taken from this highly informative story Average prom cost tops $1,000 per teen, which ran a week ago in the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper, about what families spend on proms on average in the our nation. 

One of my Facebook friends – she graduated from OA in 1982 – posted yesterday about costs associated with today's high school formals. 

Here is an excerpt (with a few minor copyedits) from the post:

How on earth are ... people with children affording this ritual?  When I went to my first prom, I borrowed my sister’s dress that she … wore to her wedding.   On my senior prom, my Mom and sister-in-law made my dress.   My friend did my hair and I painted my own nails.   I was picked up in my date’s family car, and not surprisingly I was home by 10 p.m.  Today … The average price for a dress is $100-$300 … then the shoes and the accessories.

Very interesting. 

The elegance, dressing up and formality of the prom are certainly major components what make the prom special.  

But there are more important components – that is being with friends, and girlfriends and boyfriends, significant others, and enjoying a special night – which, yes, is partly special because of formal dress and flowers and a sit-down plated dinner on tablecloths. 

Just think – there was a time when many high school proms were held in the high school gymnasium.

Uncool, you say?  Old School, and no class?  Weak? 

Au contraire – having the prom in the high school gym is heavy with tradition and nostalgia and so much of what makes high school fun, and which resonates and courses in our soul for all the years afterward. 

When I was a student at OA, a young lady moved into Easton from a nearby community.  I remember her telling us that in the town she came from, the high school there had its prom in the gym, and it was a wonderful event.

About eight or nine years ago, I was talking with a young lady who was working at my brother’s coffee-donut shop up at Five Corners in Easton. She was a senior at OA and very much part of the school’s “in” crowd.

I told her how in days of yore high school proms were held in the high school gymnasiums. 

She said she thought it would be great to have the prom in the high school gym. 

Then again, come to think of it, having the prom in the gym would not affect the price much of an OA prom ticket which goes for a fairly reasonable $75. 

I'm just trying to brainstorm here a bit about possible cost savings on holding and going to the event.

Maybe I’m out of touch, totally.  It has been 31 years since my high school prom.  I went with a beautiful young woman – she was lovely all around –and I had a super time.  

Experiencing the night with my friends made it special.

Not sure how much the prom cost my mom and dad back then.

I do understand that finery and formality can cost money.

But does it have to cost this much?  

Cooper Bella April 23, 2012 at 05:38 PM
By the way Ross, did you know that they split up the junior and senior prom this year? A friend of the family has a high-school son who is a senior and has a girlfriend who is a junior. I guess they will just double everything you said in the article. I guess that is something for us to look forward to.
Priscilla Penny Almquist-Olsen May 01, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Our OA proms were always held in the gym, the current Middle School. Part of the excitement, fun & challenge was planning & executing the decorations for such a large space. A theme such as "tropical paradise" was chosen & after lots of creativity (mainly, led by Kathy Burke Kelly, our creative genie) & hard work the "gym" was transformed into a romantic & exotic place. I remember that all the couples,led by our class officers, paraded into the gym & circled around to the music of a live band (was it our local and beloved "Cookie" Callahan's Band?) & to the joy & awe of our parents & teachers (our class advisor, Veronica Carter, is still alive at 104!) & chaperones. I assume the parents left after the opening triumphant extravaganza! I got my dress at Jordan Marsh i.e. cheap. I wore my summer pumps & carried a white clutch purse in my white-gloved hands.On one wrist was a bracelet corsage since my gown was strapless, very daring in those days. I did go to the hairdresser & got those bananna curls from my babyhood. I didn't paint my nails but I probably used some mascara, eye shadow & lipstick.There were no tickets to purchase.We just signed up. I would bet that Cookie Callahan & his band offered their services for free. Back then Easton was a tight-knit community of 7,000 residents. Everybody knew everybody. Whether it was a sports event or a prom, everybody in town was supportive. We were truly like one big family. Priscilla Almquist-Olsen, OA Class of 1960
Ross A. Muscato May 01, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Hi Cooper -- I did not know the proms were split up this year. It is expensive. Thank you for your comment and the information your provided. ross
Ross A. Muscato May 01, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Hi Priscilla -- very interesting and well done commentary, and a look back. That is a prom to remember. Thank you for the commentary. It is excellent. ross
Karen Cleary May 01, 2012 at 11:38 PM
I seem to remember paying $75 for my prom tickets in 1990. Whether that was for one or the pair, seems to escape me, though. It was in the Mansfield Sheraton. We weren't ALLOWED to book anything as far away as Boston (believe me, we tried). We all drove ourselves (at least my friends and I did) with one or two couples in each car. I got my dress at Jordan Marsh and had a friend of my sister do my hair and makeup. While it was certainly not a crazy expensive night, by today's apparent standards, I had to save quite a few of those part-time job paychecks to be able to pay for it. (and Mom may have helped a little.) Why did they split the proms this year? Are class sizes getting THAT big?
Anonymous June 01, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Being a graduating senior this year from OA, perhaps I can provide some insight into this. First off, the OA Senior Prom was held at the Lakeview Pavilion in Foxboro, NOT Lake Pearl Lucianos in Wrentham. As a class we elected to move the Prom from the Copley Plaza to Lakeview Pavilion in order to save the class and every attendee a significant amount of money. Last year, when we had a conjoined Prom, each ticket was $100 APIECE, so in effect, the cost was actually cut down by 25% this year. The choice of venue was a way to save money Believe me, there is no venue that can fit our class into one event for anything cheaper than that with similar offerings. The Class of 2012 is approximately 300 students, by far the largest seen in the high school thus far. Prom was split to ensure that each and every student could attend from both the senior and junior classes to their proms (last year, when the proms were conjoined, some juniors could not attend). Unfortunately, the times do not allow for "prom in the gym" anymore. A friend of mine's class from a neighboring town attempted to do this, and not only did it fail, but with the cost of catering and whatnot, the price soared over $100. Truly, having prom at a venue is more cost effective. Also, students are only allowed to take a limo or the bus to ensure that noone will be "drinking and driving." I hope noone objects to the price of the safety of the students of OA. Not to be rude, but yes, perhaps you are a but out of touch
Janet Sroczynski June 01, 2012 at 02:30 PM
dear @Anonymous, if my memory serves me correctly...on your point above that states "The Class of 2012 is approximately 300 students, by far the largest seen in the high school thus far" - well, like I said....if my memory serves me correctly we had 320 graduating students in my Class at OA-'83. We were the largest class ever, in the history of the school to that point, so much so......that they had to split our class up as we moved through the school buildings in Easton. After they split us up, we had to wait a year to rejoin our classmates at OA. And then finish the final 4 years together, grades 9-12. Chaulk it up to OA history, trivia.
Anonymous June 04, 2012 at 11:54 PM
My apologies, perhaps I should alter my previous statement. Since the high school has been a 9-12 high school, and since the school has been renovated, giving the high school a new "face," the class of 2012 was the largest thus far. Also, I should point out that at the beginning of our freshman year, our class size was about 335 people. Many students either elected to study at a different school, or simply drop out. Either way, our freshman class was about 335 people.

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