19 Unique & Popular Prom Themes for a Night to Remember

Explore fun prom themes everyone will love, from enchanted forests to red carpet glam.

Updated February 28, 2023
group of teens at prom smiling at camera with confetti falling around them

While some people are frantically picking out their dresses and color schemes, you might be one of the lucky ones stressing over which prom theme you're going to wow your classmates with this year. Whether it's built by a student committee or put together by staff, prom is supposed to be awe-inspiring, and a few creative ideas might be all it takes to get there.

Prom Themes Full of Glitz and Glamor

While we're not prancing around at balls and courts anymore, so many of us still have that desire to experience old world glitz and glamor. Put together a prom worthy of being photographed and people dressing to the nines using these elegant prom themes.

MET Gala

The MET Gala is one of the most exclusive fashion fundraising events of the year. People watch celebrities roll in with their interpretations of that season's theme. Presenting a MET Gala-themed prom inspires students to show up in daring and inventive costumes, or in outfits inspired by famous past designs. Just make sure you have the iconic stairwell carpet for guests to be photographed on to really sell the theme.

The Golden Age of Hollywood

The Golden Age of Hollywood embodies all things glamor. From wrinkle-free silks to glittering jewels, classic Hollywood can inspire a ton of different prom decorations. You can have a black-and-white photo booth, film reel streamers, and invitations that look like awards show nominations. Bring back old Hollywood style with a Golden Age of Hollywood prom theme.

Gatsby's Roaring Twenties

group of women dressed in 1920s flapper outfits

One of the most trendy prom and homecoming themes from the past decade is the roaring twenties. Often set in the backdrop of a raucous party at Jay Gatsby's mansion, these parties harken back to an interwar period filled with personal exploration and cultural expansion. For a roaring twenties prom, you can hire a jazz or swing band, cater with 20s cocktails-turned-mocktails, and have incredible Art Deco-inspired decorations.

Red Carpet

Surround students with that celebrity feeling by creating a prom theme inspired by the 'red carpet.' Of course, this means you have to have a red carpet for them to take pictures and walk through. You can also have fun polaroid stations where people could get polaroids taken throughout the night. Strobe lights can mimic camera's flashes and velvet ropes cording off each of the tables will make everyone feel like a star.

Starry Night

prom king and queen facing crowd of cheering friends

The classic romance of a celestial theme is a perennial prom favorite. Bring in a touch of Van Gogh's famous painting of the same name with a Starry Night prom theme. You can decorate the room with black or navy blue tablecloths, drapes, and have low lights to keep it dark. Add strings of white lights around the room to represent stars. Accent everything with glow-in-the-dark stars, planetary bodies, and anything glittery so you can bring the galaxy to the prom. You could even serve foods related to stars and planets, such as mini sandwiches in the shape of stars or cheese from the moon.

Fantasy Prom Themes to Escape Into

So many of our childhood stories speak of far-off lands, fantastical adventures, and magical experiences. Whoever said fairy tales were only meant for kids, anyway? Live your fantasy on prom night with these imaginative prom themes.

Fairy Tales

Get interactive and give your guests a happily ever after with a fairy tale theme that instructs them to dress up like their favorite story. Decorate your venue with typical storybook elements like castles, vines, carriages, towers, and more. This theme's also great because it's super inclusive to people going in groups. Couples can dress up like classic fairy tale duos, but friends can embody iconic nursery rhyme and folkloric characters too.

Alice in Wonderland

alice in wonderland tea party setting

Get everyone to fall down the rabbit hole with an Alice and Wonderland prom theme. Because of its whacky and topsy-turvy Victorian aesthetic, you can get really creative with this one. For example, you could go full Mad Hatter's tea party and serve everything in tea cups and have mis-matching chairs. Or think the Queen of Heart's garden and include bouquets of red and white roses.

Beauty and the Beast

Everyone knows the story about Beauty and the Beast. Instead of hitting the theme on the nose, try being more interpretive. Think French provincial style chairs, tables, and decorations. Have the area where guests enter the event filled with cut outs of trees or fake trees to look like the forest that Belle had to go through to visit the beast.

Enchanted Forest

In nearly every fairy tale, there's an enchanted forest hiding something magical within. For an enchanted forest prom, try creating a cottage-in-the-forest ambiance. Think twinkling fairy lights, moss covering the walls, and fake trees setup around the perimeter.

Under the Sea

You don't have to go full-on Little Mermaid when you host an under the sea prom just because it's where a lot of kid's heads go to when they hear the name. Instead, incorporate the mystical aspects of the sea into your decorations. Stick with blues, greens, and corals for your color palette. Make centerpieces out of sand and seashells in vases. You could even organize kids to paint a huge mural of a shipwreck to put up at the dance.

Winter Wonderland

It's so easy to turn your prom into a winter wonderland. Stick with cool tones, cut out snowflakes, glitter confetti, and fake snow. Depending on your budget, you could even rig fake snow to fall from the ceiling throughout the evening. Pass out drinks like hot chocolate and apple cider and snacks like gingerbread.

Romantic Prom Themes to Fall in Love With

As a formal event geared towards couples, prom night is inherently romantic. Thus, themes dedicated to lovers are always a popular choice. These romantic prom themes will enchant anyone and everyone.

Shakespearean Romance

Kids love a star-crossed lovers trope, and no one did it better than Shakespeare. Use his romantic tales to create a heart-warming costume ball. To get into character, people can show up with masks, or pose for pictures on a handcrafted balcony. Lean into the Renaissance backdrop with velvets, drapes, stonework, and more.

Parisian Romance

The City of Love is always popular for romantic prom themes. Besides an Eiffel Tower model, you can bring other elements of French culture to your prom. Embrace the city of light's reputation by setting up the entryway as a walk through Paris. Put fake cobblestone on the ground and battery-powered streetlights on the path. You can also choose chairs and tables that look like ones you'd find outside a French café.

Classic Romance

Because prom is a formal event, and many couples attend, romantic themes are always popular. Titles such as "A Night to Remember," "From This Moment," and "Forever Tonight" are common. You can decorate with lots of deep red and gold accents, including tablecloths, curtains and chairs. Add soft lights and hearts as well. Include red roses on every table and have attendees eat by candlelight. Keep in mind that this theme works well for schools on a budget because you can downscale or upscale it to match the finances available.

Rustic Romance

Get a little western with a rustic romance-themed prom. Think mason jar candles, cowboy boots, and a starry sky as far as the eye can see. Depending on where you live, you can lean really hard into the western style or just have a smattering of barnyard elements.

rustic centerpiece made of flowers in jars on a slab of wood

Travel the World With These Prom Themes

Prom's the perfect opportunity to escape your hometown for a night, and prom themes based on far-off places are unique choices that can turn out awesome. While Paris, New York City, and Venice are popular for romantic themes, more unusual choices could include Egypt, Shanghai, Las Vegas, and more. You're only limited in your geography knowledge with this one, but if you need a little help, we've got a few ideas here.

Las Vegas Casino

American teens often fantasize about hitting the Las Vegas strip when they turn 18, going into the luxurious hotels and seeing how much they can rack up gambling on slot machines. Bring a little casino magic to your prom this year by sending everyone to Vegas. On top of having different stations where people can play cards or other games, you could hire an Elvis impersonator for guests to take photos with.

Tropical Paradise

The tropics are full of interesting ecology and culture that you can use to inject festive fun into your prom. Pick huge, bright blooms to the fill your space, and have snacks and drinks made from tropical fruits like pineapples and coconuts. You could even bring the sandy beaches to your dance floor with kiddie pools full of sand for people to make sand castles in.

Venetian Masquerade

Italy has a rich history, and there are many periods you could take inspiration from to center a prom theme around. Just one example is holding a Venetian masquerade. Venice, with its infamous canals, is a place unlike any other and it's the birthplace of masquerades. Have guests show up with half or full-face masks, fancy dress, and bring them into a beautiful ballroom backdrop.

girl at party wearing feathered mask

New York, New York

New York is the melting pot of the United States, and with so many cultures coming together, it can be hard to disseminate it down into a few elements for your prom theme. One direction you could go is touring the New York streets. Set up fake street signs with the iconic numbered intersections and have someone bring a hot dog stand, coffee stand, or bagel stand to keep guests sated.

Give Everyone a Night to Remember

Prom is like a wedding; it's a night people want to remember for the rest of their lives. Make it memorable by putting together a scene so magical and immersive everyone will feel like they've been transported to another land. Ultimately, the theme you pick doesn't matter as much as committing it to in every way, and bringing it to life.

19 Unique & Popular Prom Themes for a Night to Remember