Do all high schools in the US hold proms?

Q: We often see scenes about proms in high school in American movies.
Do all high schools in the US hold them?

A: I can’t say for certain if every school has a prom, as private schools often do things differently, but as far as I know, all public schools have proms.

“Prom” is short for “promenade”. In the past, in Southern states, it was common for young people to have “debutante balls”, during which young people who had reached a certain age would attend to meet other young people in their area. Such meetings often led to lifelong friendships, business partnerships or romances. Proms come from this tradition. The original purpose was to give young people a chance to practice social skills in a formal setting.

Most proms are formal or semi-formal. Boys wear tuxedos and girls wear gowns. For most girls, this is their only chance to wear such fancy dresses, so they tend to get very excited about prom and go all out. Sometimes girls get together in a group and go out to have their hair or nails done before the prom, as a bonding experience.

It is common for people to go to prom in a group. Sometimes they will save up their money from part time jobs to rent a limo to take them to prom. Usually 3 or 4 couples go together in one limo. It’s also common for people who don’t have a date to go in groups with their friends.

Typically, prom is for older students – junior and senior (11th and 12th grade) students. A younger student can go if they are the date of an older student, but they cannot purchase a prom ticket on their own.

The costs associated with prom can be very high. Tickets are usually between $50 – $100 dollars, depending on where the event is held and what is included (some proms include a catered dinner). Tuxedo rentals can be between $125 – $200. Gowns are not usually rented, and the cost can be anywhere from $100 and up (average is about $300, but I have seen girls pay $800 or more for a dress!), depending on the style and materials.

For both boys and girls, dress shoes are required, which can be another $100. If a girl wants to have her hair done professionally, that’s another expense that can run up to $150. Prom photos (the school contracts a professional photographer to take photos and set up a backdrop to match the prom theme) must be purchased, and the price depends on what size photos prints are wanted, and how many copies.

Lastly, girls are usually presented with a corsage (a small floral arrangement that can be worn) that matches the boy’s boutonniere. These can be anywhere from $20 for a super simple one, all the way up to about $150 for a very fancy one. Corsages are usually worn on the wrist, but can also be pinned to the straps of the gown.

At the prom, young people socialize, have refreshments and get their photos taken. There is always music to dance to. Most schools hire a DJ, but schools with a high budget sometimes hire a local cover band. I’m sure you have all seen scenes in movies where the prom king and queen are crowned, but not all schools do this. Other activities might include some games or contests the DJ calls out, like “freeze frame”.

After the prom is over, kids tend to continue their celebrations. Some go to all-night diners and get something to eat, some may go to a house party, some may just hang out with their friends at a coffee shop. Other prom-goers might get into mischief. My junior prom was held at a local hotel, which had a beautiful courtyard with a fountain out front. After the event, some boys from my school poured laundry detergent into the fountain. This made a HUGE, bubbly mess in the courtyard. This type of thing is a common prom prank.

Prom is an exciting event for many young people.

Q: アメリカの映画で高校のプロムのシーンをよく見ます。米国の高校はみなプロムを行うの?









プロムでは、若い人たちが交流して、軽食をとったり、写真をとってもらったりするの。必ずダンスミュージックが流れているわ。たいていの学校がDJを雇うんだけど、予算がたくさんある学校は地元のカバーバンドを呼んだりするわね。映画でプロムキングとプロムクィーンが王冠をかぶっているシーンを見たことがあるんじゃないかと思うんだけど、必ずしも全ての学校でやるわけではないわ。その他、DJがコールしてfreeze frameみたいなゲームやコンテストをやったりするわね。