Prom Themes: Party Planning Inspiration

Prom is one of the most highly anticipated events during high school. This end-of-the-year party is known for having unique themes and giving students the chance to dress up and celebrate their transition to life after high school.

However, planning prom can be difficult, and there are so many themes out there that it can be hard to choose one. Our article gives you some of the most popular prom theme ideas so you can start getting inspired and planning a memorable prom event.

What You Need to Know About Prom

Prom is an essential party hosted by the majority of high schools across the United States. This event is held in May, at the end of the school year, and typically only senior high school students attend as part of the celebration of their transition to new things.

Some schools do allow underclassmen, specifically junior high school students, to attend, but this does depend on school rules and traditions.

Prom night will be planned by a committee of students working with teachers, and most proms feature a formal venue, a fun theme, and semi-formal outfits for all students attending.

Picking a theme for prom and decorating the venue accordingly is one of the most time-consuming parts of this process. This is because it’s important that the prom theme is fun and appealing to the majority of students in attendance.

Prom Theme Ideas for Event Inspiration

The following prom theme ideas will help give you inspiration as you get to work planning this event.

A Night Under the Stars

One of the most popular prom themes year after year is the ‘night under the stars’ theme. This theme features twinkling stars along ceilings, lots of blues and blacks, and a dreamy atmosphere for students to celebrate their night.

Alternatively, you could embrace Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting to give a more unique twist on this popular theme.

Gatsby Themed

Another highly popular prom theme is The Great Gatsby. This classic piece of literature is a staple in many high schools, and the promise of glamorous parties and roaring 20s vibes hidden in its pages is appealing to many prom planning committees.

With a Gatsby theme, expect lots of gold, silver, and black designs, 1920s-themed outfits, and a snazzy checkerboard dance floor.

Under the Sea

A unique theme that gives an enchanting look to prom, the ‘under the sea’ theme features lots of blue and white, plus fun oceanic decorations like silver tassels and fish-shaped balloons. This theme promises an enchanting ocean wonderland where students can enjoy their prom night.

Winter Wonderland

Even though prom takes place in May, a winter wonderland themed prom is a great way to add some wintery glamor to this formal event. Lots of blues, whites, and violets are utilized for winter themes, and you can decorate the prom venue with icicles, snowflakes, and cute winter props.

Decade Dances

Decade dances embrace certain popular decades, such as the 70s, 80s, or 90s. Embracing a certain decade as a prom theme gives a chance to step it up with fun themed decorations and themed prom outfits. Students can enjoy a trip back in time for their prom night, and teachers or chaperones can enjoy some nostalgia.

Masquerade Ball

Masquerade ball themes are highly popular for proms. These themes embrace more formal outfits, plus there’s the exciting aspect of matching masquerade masks and accessories to prom outfits. 

Lots of rich reds, blacks, and blues are popular for masquerade balls. You can choose to lean into a more Phantom of the Opera-type theme or a less-specific formal ball theme.

Fairytale and Enchanted Forests

Fairytale themes and enchanted forests make for a magical prom night. Both of these themes are complete with lots of green colors, decorative plants, and unique elements such as fairytale characters or magical forest creatures.

These themes are especially fun when you have a large venue to decorate with string lights and prop trees.


Carnival and circus themes are a unique way to add some color to prom night and include fun activities such as arcades and carnival games. Carnival themes are great for outdoor areas where you have lots of space to set up different booths for students to engage with.

Bonus point if you have a large tented area you can decorate in red and gold like a traditional carnival.

An Evening in Paris

‘An evening in Paris’ is a popular international prom theme and it typically features cut-outs of the Eiffel Tower, Parisian-inspired décor, and French food and themed drinks.

Other similar international prom themes include nights in Venice and Greece, and you can decorate the prom venue with appropriate scenery and color schemes to match.

Space Themes

Similar to ‘a night under the stars,’ space themes embrace the sky above and offer a magical prom night. With space themes, you can decorate with hanging planets, lots of space colors, and even some neon glow to give prom a futuristic, outer space vibe.


Casino themes are popular at prom due to the more formal attire required and the fun of dressing up to play games and walk down a red velvet entryway. Lots of blacks, whites, and reds are great for this theme, and you can organize tables for students to play games. Add lots of decorations themed like decks of cards to complete the look.

Beach and Tropical

Beach night and tropical themes embrace palm trees, bright yellow and blue decorations, and utilize prop plants to give your prom venue a relaxing atmosphere. A beach party or a tropical getaway prom thing might be just the thing to help students relax and celebrate before everything that their transition away from high school brings.

FAQs About Prom Night

We answer frequently asked questions about prom night below so you can stay informed about the essentials of this event and put any remaining worries about prom to rest.

What Do I Wear to Prom?

Choosing what to wear to prom is a big deal for any student, and you no doubt want to look your best at this event. 

When selecting your prom night outfit, make sure to take into consideration the theme of your prom, and the type of prom outfit that makes you feel happy and confident. Browse our collection for additional prom outfit inspiration.

Should I Plan a Prom After-Party?

Many individuals attending prom decide to plan an after-party with their friend group to keep the fun going once the official prom event is over.

Whether or not to plan and attend one of these events is really up to what you feel comfortable with. Maybe your friend group wants to grab some food after prom, or maybe you plan a sleepover with your best friend. Either way, what you do after prom is up to you and your friends.

How Do I Prepare for Prom?

Prepare for prom the right way by creating a checklist of the items you need to remember for prom night and organizing plans for before and after prom. You’ll also want to purchase your prom ticket and secure your dream prom outfit well ahead of time.

Careful planning and organization will help everything go smoothly on the night of prom and ensure that you don’t forget anything leading up to this big night.

Do All Proms Have a Theme?

The majority of proms do have a fun theme, though this depends on the school and specific traditions.

Some proms may simply throw a fun formal dance in a nice venue, while others may go all-out with prom themes and matching decorations. Speak with your school’s prom committee to learn more about the traditions of your school’s prom.

Prom Ideas for the Perfect Night

When it comes to organizing and planning the perfect prom night, the prom ideas in our article will help inspire your planning. No matter which theme you decide on, as long as you have plenty of fun decorations and a welcoming atmosphere, prom night is sure to be memorable for everyone in attendance.