Prom Prep Series: How to Survive Prom Without Drinking

Prom group of guys

Peer pressure is so over. Fact is, most of your peers aren’t even drinking. 81% of kids ages 12-17 have chosen not to drink in the past year. So remind yourself, you’re not alone for choosing to go by the law. Still, underage drinking does and likely will happen during prom season, and at your upcoming summer parties. And your social life shouldn’t take a hit just because you choose the right route, so take in our ways for dealing with drinking before and after the prom. Use them at prom, your next school dance, or you next hang-out for that matter. These tried and true tips can help get you through a sticky situation. And coming up, don’t miss our tips for safe driving on those prom and party nights.

  1. Stop before it starts. If you want to take a stance against underage drinking in your town, you can work with local police before prom to set up checks for alcohol stores that are illegally selling alcohol to people under legal age or work with school administrators to organize an assembly about the dangers of underage drinking.
  2. Tempted? Remind yourself. Drinking is illegal. Getting arrested on prom is no one’s dream scenario, but most people don’t see it really happening to them. When you’re tempted to drink, remind yourself that it could mess up your graduation from high school, college acceptance, and a criminal charge on your record can follow you for the rest of your life.
  3. Plain and simple no. If you can say no when someone offers you a drink, just say no thanks. No explanation is needed, rationalizing your choice opens the door for someone to disagree.
  4. Blame the old people. If someone hands you a drink before or after prom, just say “I’m already in sooo much trouble at home, my parents will ground me all summer if they smell alcohol on me.” Safe to say most people can relate to having un-hip parents.
  5. Pack a parachute, talk in code. No we’re not planning a military operation, we want to make sure that if you aren’t having fun, are around people drinking, or are sick from drinking too much, you have an exit plan. Arrange a get-me-out-of-here plan with your parents, or an adult you trust ahead of time. Think of a code sentence (like “I’m getting a stomach ache”) so that you don’t have to talk about what’s making you uncomfortable in front of people. Make sure they know what the plan is if you use the code sentence (come pick you up, send a cab, etc) If your friends or date are drinking and you feel like you want out, call or text your parents and let them help you get out of a bad situation before it gets worse.
  6. Protect yourself. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 39% of male high schools students say it’s okay to force sex with a girl who is drunk or high. Don’t become a statistic, hang with people who aren’t drinking or doing drugs so you can relax at your prom and after-party.
  7. Keep an eye out. Make the most of your role as a sober prom and after-party goer. If your date, your driver, a friend, frenemy, has had too much to drink, help them or find someone who can.
  8. Old news could save lives. Okay, you’ve heard not to drink and drive a million times now. We’re saying it again because seriously, if you do choose to drink before or after prom, don’t get behind the wheel. Don’t let your friends do it. You want to remember your prom as a special night, not a tragic one. If you or your driver drinks, call a cab, call a parent or sibling, commission a sober friend, sleep over at a friends, whatever it takes. Stay tuned for tips on safe driving on prom night.
  9. After-prom plans. This is a big one. If you want to avoid the “drinking because we have nothing better to do” scenario, plan ahead! Head to a late-night diner decked out to pig out, offer to have a people at your house with food and movies or games, like karaoke. Arrange a sleepover with all of your friends and stay up all night re-hashing prom gossip.
  10. Be the after-party. Check with your parents and plan your own party. Hit the backyard with music in hand and keep dancing the night away. Just make sure people don’t leave and come back to the party, and that your neighbors are OK with it if you’re going to make noise.