How 'Mom Proms' Are Inspiring Women to Party for a Good Cause

Betsy Crapps—a mom of three from Michigan—started the charitable trend.
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Whether you went to high school in the Pretty in Pink, She's All That, or Mean Girls era, chances are you have either fond and/or cringe-worthy memories of your prom! It's one of those milestone experiences for every teen. And re-living that experience is something moms across the country are planning to do -- for a good cause. Betsy Crapps, a 47-year-old mom from Canton Township, Michigan, started the phenomenon, which is catching on like wildfire! A recent Time article estimated that about 80 Mom Proms will be held this year.

"I started Mom Prom when my mom was selling our family home and brought my old prom dresses to me," Crapps tells Parents.com. "I thought, 'What in the world am I going to do with these?' My mom was very sweet and thought that my daughter, in kindergarten at the time, would enjoy playing dress up. [But] I decided to wear it to my friend's Oscars party. I called my neighbor since we were driving over together, and she wore a bridesmaids dress. We had so much fun laughing and talking about prom that I decided to have a Mom Prom. Twelve of us got on our old gowns and went out to dinner and dancing! We laughed so hard that our faces hurt the next day."

Soon, Crapps had a brainstorm about how she could turn the phenomenon into "something big." "I asked a friend if she could DJ a Mom Prom for us," Crapps explains. "I got use of our church gym and decided to put our gowns to good use -- to make it a charity event. Our first Mom Prom at the church gym had 80 women, and we raised money for a family homeless shelter."

That was in 2006. Fast-forward to 2011, and Crapps' Mom Prom got national coverage, thanks to an AP story about the event. "It went viral!" she says. "We were on GMA, CBS Early Show, Wake Up Australia and even mocked on Saturday Night Live's 'Weekend Update.' That is when lots more women started to organize their own proms."

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Now, there's a National Mom Prom Night every year, and organizers are gearing up for April 29 of this year to put on their old prom dresses and have a blast. Crapps owns the "Mom Prom" trademark, but there's no fee to hold your own. Crapps only asks that organizers contact her and provide the date of the prom, charity, and contact info, so she can keep track. Ticket costs are meant to be pretty affordable -- around, say, $35 a ticket, as one upcoming event in Oklahoma is charging -- so anyone can attend.

"My goal is that as many women as possible hear about this idea so they can host a prom for their charity close to their heart," says Crapps. "I would like to know how much was raised and how prom went. I am so blessed in my life, and I feel this is a wonderful gift to give to others." Cheers to that! Party on, moms!

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