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An ecofriendly prom: Green prom party fun

Tiernan McKay is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. Her writing has appeared in magazines such as Alive!, Occupational Health and Safety, Restaurants and Institutions, Tampa Bay and Arizona Woman. Right now, she is either ridi...

A (green) night to remember

Prom, that memorable adolescent rite of passage, is just around the corner. Every year, high schoolers around the country stress over what to wear, bury themselves in the details of the event and become consumed by all things prom-related. As a parent of a prom-goer, suggest a unique approach this year. Join your teenager in a quest to "green" their prom experience.

prom corsages


Whether you are the parent of an environmentally-minded teen or living a green lifestyle yourself, prom is a great opportunity to embrace all things ecofriendly. Lyn Hicks, a Living Green Expert and owner of Harmony Hill Gardens in Sellersville, Pennsylvania, shares some of her best suggestions for an ecofriendly prom.

1 Make it an adventure

The traditional prom experience can be summarized with a predictable script: Go to the mall, pick out a dress, earrings and shoes. Order the flowers. Make reservations. Reserve the limo. Yawn. This year, challenge the teens in your life to make their prom as ecofriendly as possible, which really can be an adventure. "Extend the prom experience into a month of discovery," says Hicks. "Explore vintage shops, flowers farms, hip organic eateries. Discover new lines of make-up and nature's own beautifying agents."

2 The dress

For many, prom's biggest (and most wasteful) expense is wardrobe-related. It may be tough for your teen to resist the barrage of ads that say they must look a certain way on prom night, but let's be honest. Will she ever wear that dress again? Make a decision to only buy a dress that will be worn again, or buy vintage. See who in your group can spend the least on a prom ensemble and still look fashionable. Encourage your teen to express her personal style while emphasizing the need to be comfortable. "Dress swapping is great idea," says Hicks. "Get together with other prom-goers to share dresses, trade and try on new styles."

>> Find out more about picking prom dresses here!

3 Flowers

The typical corsage or boutinniere is so... predictable. Not to mention, traditional prom flowers are often grown with pesticides and delivered in wasteful plastic containers. This year, think outside of the box. "Seek out a local sustainable flower farm," says Hicks. "They will have seasonal flowers which will cost less, create a piece that has a more natural pizazz and often use recycled fruit and food containers to present in. They often use other elements like feathers, seed pods and greens not found at the traditional florist!"

5 Keep it local

Is there a restaurant in your town that seems to always attract the prom crowd? Instead of going with the flow, "Opt for a dining option that supports local farming using the community produce," says Hicks. "Maybe one mom could make an elegant organic dinner. This is a great way to enjoy quality food, reduce costs and include the parents in the excitement."

>> See some ideas about where to dine out in our CityGuide

6 Beauty

What is it about prom that makes teens feel like piling on the make-up? Wouldn't it be nice to look back on pictures and remember the nightly fondly rather than ask, "What was I thinking?"

Take some time to experiment with a variety of looks using make-up that is primarily organic and free of toxins. This is a great opportunity to teach your teen about healthy cosmetics. "Encourage your teen to gather with friends a few weeks before the prom to try out different products and see what creative looks they can come up with," says Hicks. "This is a great reason for a sleepover!"

More prom tips

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