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Staff Photo by Grant Morris


From left, Kelsey McCormick, Katie Long, Kelly Spencer and Jill Bedard work on plans for Nashua's first Mom Prom, Wednesday evening at Margarita's in Nashua. The charity event will benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and is touted as a "Girls Only" event with awards being given for Prom Queen and Tackiest Dress. Tickets for the April 29 event are $50 and can be purchased on the event's website www.mompromnashua.org.
Sunday, April 17, 2011

‘Mom Prom’ invites women to evening of fun for a good cause

The year was 1985.

Spring had sprung, and the lilting love songs of Madonna and Phil Collins filled the air. At your high school, excitement about the prom had reached fever pitch.

Months ahead of time, after four marathon shopping sessions, you finally found the perfect dress: a cotton-candy pink confection of satin, lined with waves of matching, itch-inducing tulle. It fit you like a tent.

Best of all, on the back was a bow the size of a Cadillac. You slipped on matching dancing shoes, teased the living daylights out of your hair and posed for pictures.

Years later, out of sheer mortification, you stuffed those photos in an unmarked box and shoved them in the attic, right next to your sticky-sweet dress.

Well, ladies, it’s time to unwrap that old magic.

A group of Nashua-based girlfriends is inviting all local women to New Hampshire’s first “Mom Prom,” a riotous event that combines nostalgic (and hilarious) formal wear, dinner and dancing, all for a good cause.

The event revolves around women digging in their dusty closets for prom dresses, wedding gowns or their worst bridesmaid nightmare.

Got a thrift store gem? All the better.

As organizer Katie Long said, “The sillier and tackier, the more fun.”

Long, 32, lives in Nashua. She’s a “pseudo schoolteacher” – currently on a break to raise her three young kids. Long and her friends are organizing the prom, which is scheduled for April 29.

Long’s older sister, Betsy Crapps, of Michigan, founded the first “Mom Prom.” It started six years ago, when Betsy and Katie’s mother discovered a cache of their old prom dresses. Inspired by the absurdity of taffeta and lace, Crapps and her friends decided to re-don their dresses for an evening out.

In public.

Sometime after the wild revelry, the women of Crapps’ church – a mothers group – hatched a plan for a unique fundraiser called – you guessed it. Open to all women, “Mom Prom” welcomed guests to step into a time machine by wearing old fancy getup and dancing the night away for charity.

This year, the Michigan prom raised $3,000 for a foundation supporting genetic blood disorder research.

These days, “Mom Prom” is growing. “Good Morning America” caught wind of Crapps’ idea and interviewed her last month. She has also appeared on “The Gayle King Show” and other media outlets. “Saturday Night Live” even spoofed “Mom Prom” on its “Weekend Update” segment.

This year alone, at least 20 proms have been scheduled across the country, including in California, Kentucky, Illinois, Nebraska, North Carolina, Texas, Michigan, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Georgia, South Dakota, Washington, Ohio and Idaho.

Long and her friends – the event’s “prom committee” – are happy to be hosting their event here.

“My cheeks hurt by end of the night,” Long said. “Dress after dress, it’s like, ‘Oh, God, can it get worse?’ ”

Nashua’s “Mom Prom” will feature some of the classic trappings, but with a twist.

A prom queen will be awarded fake flowers based on the ugliness of her dress. No men are allowed, but John Wayne and Brad Pitt will be on hand for photographs. (So what if they’re cardboard cutouts?)

Proceeds from Nashua’s event will benefit the Vermont/New Hampshire Chapter of Susan G. Komen For the Cure.

“We all somehow have a link to breast cancer, and we thought as a first big event, that would be a good charity because so many women are familiar with it,” Long said, adding that she hopes “Mom Prom” will become an annual event in Nashua.

“Not every woman can walk for three days or do a 5K, but literally every woman can come to a dance.”