Cosplay Prom is a standing tradition in our library. Every year the teen department hosts a Geeky prom where teens can dress up and dance the night away. This year was my first year planning the program and kids let me tell you I can’t wait to do it again!
At first I was a little bit nervous about hosting this event. Partially because it draws around 50-70 teens. In one room.. in costume… dancing. So, cue a tiny bit of Teen Librarian panic. Would they all get along? What songs should I play that are not lame and totally give away my age? Would other patrons complain about the noise? Did they all have rides? And finally… OMG do I have enough food? Needless to say my worries were mostly unfounded. I ended up with 88 kids who had a wonderful time geeking out over fandoms and dancing.
While this was one of the biggest events I have planned for teens it was one of the easiest. I think the hardest part was figuring out what songs to play. I asked my fellow librarians and also posted a question to the Facebook group: Teen Services Underground. If you are not a part of that group yet then sign up! They are a fantastic wealth of information and help. Here is my take on the nights events and a small list of the songs that were crazy popular for those looking for danceable tunes.
Cosplay Prom: AKA the most fun you can have with 88 teens!
If you have a big room and access to a media player or projector you should try this program. We have a large auditorium at our library that holds about 150 people. It has a big screen at the front that comes down for media use. I set up my laptop with a playlist on Spotify and planned to just play a mix of what I had and what they would request. I also had snacks (chips and cookies), lots of water, and some down time activities like coloring sheets and other simple crafty stuff they could do.
We advertised that they could wear costumes and that there would be a costume contest at the end. Teens had to register in advance so we knew how much food to get and so they could request songs. I had two fabulous volunteers that kept the music rolling and a set time when they had to be picked up.
The costume contest was very simple. They had to parade in front of the judges table and announce who they were and do a little skit. Bonus points were added for creativity and staying in character the whole time. I found some cheesy plastic trophies at our local party store and gave away candy bars to the winners.
This could easily be modified for a smaller department or room by having registration and just playing songs from a playlist on your computer or other device. As long as the music is loud and can be danced too they tend to stay happy. The hardest part of this program was figuring out what they would want to hear. Just when I think I know what is popular it changes and I am back to being the lame-o library lady with bad musical tastes. Ask your fellow librarians and don’t be afraid to get online and hunt around. My volunteers saved the day with their mad musical Youtube DJ skills. Seriously I wish I could share them with other teen librarians. These gals are my favorite peeps to work with!
At the beginning I set my expectations for the night. Keep in mind that I am 5 foot 4 inches and wearing a Thor costume. I stood on a chair and announced the rules to much laughter:
- No free ranging the library and scaring little kids and old people.
- Please don’t leave the building without letting us know where you will be.
- Cosplay does not mean consent! So keep your hands to yourself and no groping other people! (yes I did say no groping) If someone says no to pictures, hugs, or anything else walk away.
- Thor wants you to have fun, be safe, and request all the songs you like as long as they are appropriate!
- Judges will be walking around chatting with you before the judging begins. Bonus points for staying in character!
They all behaved despite the sheer amount of teens on the dance floor. I did have one little 11 year old that was warned to keep his hands to himself or Thor would call his parents in the middle of the dance floor.
They danced.. oh boy did they dance! There were conga lines, some kinda anime thing with lots of arm waving, and synchronized ballet from the superheros. It was hilarious. We ended up ditching the playlist and taking requests for Youtube videos. My volunteers spent time queuing everything up and making sure the lyrics were appropriate. They loved the Geeky remix videos the best. I have made a short list of the faves below to help you out.
The costume contest was quite possibly the best thing ever! The skits .. oh kids.. I have never laughed so hard at a teen program. There was this adorable teen in this business like outfit who turned out to be Pepper Potts and she rocked it. Another favorite was our Ghostbuster girl who made her entire outfit and had a proton pack!
What I would change:
Next time I will have an age range instead of a grade range. This was a teen event and we advertised for Grades 6-12. So we ended up with kids going into 6th grade showing up. 11 years old was a bit on the young side for a mixed age dance. We have discussed doing 12-18 or 13-18 in the future. I have a Harry Potter Yule Ball in January that I am going to try my age range on before we do Cosplay Prom again.
NO CHIPS!!!! Bad bad bad idea. They were everywhere and super salty, which required more water. Plus greasy fingers and costumes do not mix. Ick…
NO BALLOONS.. just no.
Using a microphone for the judging contest. It was really hard to hear some of the kids and the room set up was odd for the costume parade. I am not quite sure how to sort this one out in the future with the space. I would also like to bring in other librarians as judges. It was so hard not to be biased with some of the kids because all of them looked so cool!
The Doctor Who version of the Time Warp bombed so hard it got booed. Which is funny because apparently they loved it last year. You have been warned..
What you can use:
Playlist time! Here are some videos that my teens loved. Keep in mind that they may or may not be popular with your group. Be prepared with a back up if they start booing! My teens really wanted Fall out boy which have some lyrics that are kinda not all age friendly. The only one that we could use was “Dance Dance.”
Videos: These were the top 3 videos at our party.
Talk Nerdy to me: (seriously watch this because it is so funny)
Dark Lord Funk: Yeah this is so well done
Spinnin’ Round that Base- For the Pokemon fans!
Here is my Spotify link that you can use if you have an account:
If you don’t have an account be sure to add these songs to your playlist:
- Doctor Who Theme
- Caramelldansen- Caramell (This was the arm flappy song)
- Happy- Pharrell Williams
- Gangnum Style (um yeah… they created a huge conga line for this one)
- Queen anything! Seriously.. they love Queen
- Staying Alive- Bee Gees
- Come and Get your love (From Guardians of the Galaxy)
- Thriller- Michael Jackson
- Naruto Theme song or a remix
- Super Mario Brothers Remix
- Sherlock BBC Theme song
- Avengers Theme Song
- James Bond (Newer version)
- FairyTale Theme song (anime)
- Cha Cha Slide
- Sailor Moon Theme
- Attack on Titan
- Time Warp
- Old School Batman theme
- Hooked on a Feeling (Guardians of the Galaxy)
- Full Metal Jacket Theme Song
- Ignite Sword Art Online
- Pretty much any remixed version of a popular Anime song
Okay.. I hope that you have been inspired to try this at your library. It’s lots of fun and a great way to let your teens geek out. Mine request this every single year and we are trying to do a winter version now because of the popularity. It can be done on a shoe string budget because really.. they just want to dance and hang out with their friends. The only $$ I spent was on cheesy trophies, candy bars, and snacks. As always you are welcome to steal my ideas and send me messages with questions. I am happy to help!