SparkNotes Blog

6 Shakespearean Prom Themes Your School Should Definitely Think About Using

When it comes to prom, most schools do a casino theme, or a Hollywood theme, or some other third theme. If your school wants to break the mold, have them give these Shakespearean themes a try. Just remember: if nobody dies by the end of the night as a direct result of their own hubris, then the whole thing was a waste of time and that is just a fact.

THEME: Enchanted Forest
Embrace the magic of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Bring the forest to life with twinkling string lights, moss-topped tables, and glitter-accented tulle foliage to evoke a mythical woodland setting. Don’t forget the tree slice coasters, gossamer-winged butterfly centerpieces, and fairies who meddle in the lives of mortals and treat humans as their cosmic playthings.

THEME: Masquerade Ball
Dazzle the students with a Romeo and Juliet-style prom, complete with ornate masks (either brought or provided), an ivy-accented balcony for prom photos, and the occasional duel in the public square. Rose corsages are encouraged. Decades-long blood feuds are mandatory. If hardly anyone is dead by the end of it, it will have been a better than average night.

THEME: Tropical Island
Turn your prom into a tropical paradise with a little help from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Think fruit centerpieces and tiki-torches. Think drinks with little umbrellas and bamboo straws. Think shipwrecks, a sorcerer with a score to settle, and the duke who has wronged him.

THEME: A Night in Venice
To recreate Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, use vintage lanterns and streetlights against an elegant starry backdrop. Make sure there’s a cardboard Venetian sky arch with a gondola for photo ops—and if you really want to make it a prom to remember, have the night end with a little courtroom drama over some finances and the constant, unrelenting threat of revenge-fueled barbarism.

THEME: Midnight Mystery Castle
We’ll be drawing on Hamlet’s castle of Elsinore for this one. Decorate the venue like a gothic cathedral. Make liberal use of candelabras, chandeliers, and cotton batting spider webs. Remember to rent a fog machine or two (or five), because if your midnight castle-themed prom doesn’t have a fog machine, what’s even the point? Likewise, if the ghost of someone’s dead father isn’t lurking around suggesting murder as a form of conflict resolution, why bother going? (Be sure the outward design reflects the corruption and wickedness lying dormant within!)

THEME: A Night in Rome
There is no prom. It was all a trick. Everyone stabs Caesar.