Written by Yael Livneh
It’s the weekend before prom. You’re sitting, staring at Student Activities Director Lisa Hall’s post on Schoology that lists ticket prices. For whatever reason, over $100 per person is just too steep for you. You hang your head in your hands, racking your brain to think of where you can get together $120 to cover the costs of admission. Suddenly, you realize that you’ll need an out t too. Everything seems hopeless, but never fear—your special night doesn’t have to be at the City Metreon. Throw your very own prom with your closest friends on a tight budget.
Looking for a more down-low vibe? Put up string lights in your backyard or at a local park and throw down with a swing dance. Want to experience higher culture? Carpool to SFMoMA and enjoy the free admission for visitors 18 and under, or splash $19 for a ticket if you’re 19 to 24 with ID. Maybe you’re looking for a more adventurous night. Book an escape room the weekend before for only $25 to 30 a person and take your whole friend group on a mind-boggling journey. Don’t have time to prepare? Grab your date or your friends and drive to Half Moon Bay for a beach bonfire.
Even if you’re not going to prom, looking just as fancy is still an option. Department store dresses and suits tend to run pricey, so look to local thrift stores for a cheaper wardrobe. Crossroads Trading, Goodwill and Fillmore & 5th Consignment often stock designer brands for low prices. If you’re stuck the morning of without an outfit, reach out to your friends or alumni to see if you can borrow, rent or buy their old dresses or suits. Facebook groups like Prom Dresses or New Clothes have great deals on secondhand, local pieces.
Good food is a must for a good time—you don’t want to be stuck hungry at 9:30 p.m. Whether you splurge on chocolate-covered strawberries or save on cheap candy, make sure to stock up for the whole night. Don’t forget to buy drinks. Feeling a little too indulgent? Replace chips with popcorn or gummy candy with fresh fruit and soda with hand-squeezed fruit juice or some sparkling water.
Even if you’re sitting at home with friends in your cozy jammies, take pictures. Ten years from now, you’ll look back at pictures of you and the homies laughing at something dumb and be glad you took the time to snap a photo.