We’ve all heard the disastrous stories that prom can bring about. Whether it’s missing a hair appointment, not getting the right dress, or the ever-unfortunate scenario of showing up in the same dress as another girl, some stories are just too good not to share.
After combing through countless websites of the worst prom difficulties and debacles, we've compiled a list of some of the most outrageous and unbelievable party stories out there. These terrible scenarios are sure to make anyone feel better about their minor mishaps. Try to remember we all make mistakes, as you read through fifteen cringeworthy prom horror stories.
15 Shellfish whims
“I went all out: an expensive dress, limo, dinner at a really nice seafood restaurant... Little did I know that was going to be the night my body decided to become allergic to shellfish. I had shrimp for dinner (I LOVED shrimp and never had a problem eating it before) and shortly after, I started to feel sick. I shook it off though because hey, it was prom!
When we arrived at the convention center, I started to feel worse, my stomach hurt and I was starting to get really warm and itchy. As I started to scratch my neck, I felt a lump about the size of an egg at the base of my skull. It was also at about this point that all of my friends noticed that I was the color of a tomato. It all went downhill from here.
I developed hives so bad that they covered my entire body within minutes and shortly after, I started having trouble breathing and my face started to swell. All of this happened in the entryway to the ballroom where everyone had to go to hand in their tickets and get pictures taken. Suffice to say, I had a pretty hefty crowd (practically the entire junior and senior class) watch as I blew up like a red balloon and had to be carted out on a stretcher in front of everyone. When I got to the hospital, I got to have my beautiful, expensive dress cut off of me and I spent the rest of the night hooked up to IVs as my friends danced the night away.” - AllyM
14 Ketchup catastrophe
“Senior prom. My girlfriend, myself, and I think three or four pairs of other friends went to a very nice steakhouse in a neighboring city. One of our goofy friends at the table ordered something that came with fries and they brought a glass ketchup bottle to the table.
At some point during the meal, my friend is goofing around, lays the ketchup bottle on its side, and says, "hey, let’s play spins the bottle." He didn't close the bottle properly, resulting in the lid not being secured. So he spins this bottle, the lid flies off, and ketchup splatters out all over the table, creating 360 degrees of disaster.
He was across the table from me. My girlfriend and I were covered in ketchup, as was my friend who thought it would be a good idea to spin the bottle of ketchup, his date, and one other girl sitting next to him. There was a look of horror on his face when he realized what he had done. The girls were pissed. I wasn't too upset over it, though. Either him or his family paid for any expenses related to the fiasco. We ended up skipping the dance and just went and partied instead.” - Ravyrn
13 Glowing beauty
“For my junior prom, my sister (a senior) and I went to the mall to get professional makeup done for free. I have fair skin, and the girl picked the lightest foundation she had, which was about three shades too light, and I looked like I had white face makeup on. Easy enough to wipe off, right? BUT it was my first time ever getting my makeup done, so I didn't know I could tell her that it was way too light.
We drove an hour to get to the mall, so I felt obligated to keep it on. SO I DID. My face is practically glowing in my prom pictures. It went really well with my old lady style forest green prom dress.
Luckily, I was also really bad at wearing makeup, so by the time we got to prom, it had mostly worn off. Not my most beautiful night.” - Hookahgay
12 I (swapped) spit on your grave
“In my junior year of high school, I flew to California for someone else's senior prom because I am so sexy and classy that I couldn't find a single person to date in my entire home state. Said date was super sheltered and Catholic, so I was his first kiss and he was very excited so we had lots and lots of kisses with too much tongue.
Prom was at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. We left and wandered off to this abandoned building and he proceeded to try to lick my epiglottis. Turns out, we had wandered into Ronald Reagan's grave site and two chaperones had to come get us, yelling the whole time about how we had defiled the ex-president's final resting place.” - Intangiblemango
11 Hair from here to there
“Prom was coming up and my boyfriend and I had gotten into a big fight as I caught him talking to another girl. They were getting a little too close. I found out that they were seen outside an ice cream shop holding hands! Needless to say, our relationship was over.
So, I had no date to the senior prom. I was literally stalked by a guy for three years through high school… he was kind of cute, but a klutz at the same time. He had always had a crush on me. I never paid any attention to him… until I was cheated on! So, this guy asks me to prom. I talked with my girlfriends and they told me to give him a chance, so I did.
Mike and I were all set to go to the prom. He said he had a limo that would be picking us up. He was supposed to arrive in the limo to pick me up at 6:30 p.m., however, he called to say there was a problem and that he was running late. At 7:10 p.m. Mike finally arrived, but not in the limo! My date showed up in his parent’s mobile dog grooming business van that was all rusted out!
I guess his parent’s credit card bounced when they attempted to pay for the limo, so he came in the dog van! I just so happened to be wearing a long black dress with a blue top and black heels. I’m sure you can imagine what happened next.
We got to prom and arrived at the red carpet. Everyone stopped and looked at us as we arrived! There was a long line of limos, sports cars, and then Mike’s parent’s dog grooming van! Laughs could be heard as Mike opened the van door for me. As I was walking down the red carpet, you could hear people whispering, ‘OMG, look at all the dog hair on her dress!’ It was the biggest nightmare of my entire high school life. I went from dating our high school running back to riding in a dog grooming truck to my high school prom!” - Stephany
10 Mine runs like a teenage movie
“I was asked to my junior prom by a guy in my science class. I bought a dress and got my hair and nails done. Time rolled around for him to pick me up and he never showed. When I finally got him on the phone, he laughed and told me I was a freak and what did I expect?
I stayed home that night with my father watching John Wayne movies and crying my heart out. Next week at school, I found out some guys on the football team put the kid up to it because I had turned them in for cheating, which by the way, I was told would be anonymous. I was horrified. They picked on me and put a rude sign on my locker.
The last laugh ended up being on those losers, though. When the girls at school found out about it, they actually stood behind me. I wasn’t in the super popular crowd, but it seemed like every girl stepped up to the plate to "protect" me. None of the guys involved in the incident got prom dates the next year.” - Delicatedisarray
9 Sucked in
"When we arrived at prom, we got our tickets 'cashed' (our theme was 007: Casino Royale) and collected our casino chips. To get to where the prom was held, we had to use four different escalators. We reached the end of the escalator, and I stepped off first, no problem. Then, a few other people stepped off with no problem.
We didn't notice at first, but one of our friends wasn't behind us. It turned out that her dress had gotten caught in the side of the escalator and was pulling her back with it! One of us hit the emergency stop button, and we were able to get her and the dress out without too much of a struggle. Once it came out, though, it was covered in black oil and soot! We spent over an hour in the bathroom trying to get it clean. It was horrible!” - Tiffany
8 The barftastic boy
“My date, my 19-year-old, college student boyfriend, took too many painkillers and started vomiting at the restaurant before prom. I called his roommate to come and pick him up.
We had been in a big fight the week before because I wanted to go to prom with my friend and he was jealous, so he insisted on going. In the parking lot, as I walked him to the roommate’s car (we had been kicked out of the restaurant so everyone was watching), he pitched a fit when I informed him I still wanted to go to the dance with my friends. Crying in front of everyone ensued.” - MissAimee
7 The loaner and the stoner
“As an awkward nerd type, I did not get asked to prom, but my mother refused to let me attend alone or with a group of friends. I really wanted to, so I bribed a guy in my class to take me in exchange for letting him copy my math homework for the rest of the year.
I had to pick him up and drive us to prom (suspended license) and en route, he smoked a joint, filling my mom's Ford Tempo with the scent of grass. We danced one dance, took an awkward photo together, and parted ways. He found a ride home, and I spent the wee hours of the morning soaking the interior of the Tempo in Febreze so that my bloodhound of a mother didn't find out.” - artless.dodger
6 Sibling rivalry
“I went to a senior prom when I was a junior with a guy I’d dated on and off throughout high school. Really nice guy (though a bit of a mama’s boy, so glad I didn’t stay with him). But it wasn’t really “special” since we’d broken up and were really more friends at that point.
Then, for my prom, I was determined to go. Mom made the dress. I ended up convincing a guy I’d grown up with in church (like a brother to me) to go with me. He was cute and all, but it was like taking my brother.
I remember nothing about the dance itself (why is that?!), but do remember going to a fast food place after (in our fancy clothes) and running into my older sister. I have two older sisters, who were the glamor girls in high school, so I never had a chance. So my date ended up flirting with my sister the rest of the night. Nice, huh?” - Judy
5 The killjoy prude with the waxed brows
“The day of, I had my hair done into an amazing, complicated updo. I went to get my nails done at the usual cheap place I always went to. One of the staff there (NOT my manicurist) talked me into getting my eyebrows waxed. I had never done that before. She let the wax get too hot and it burnt me badly.
Driving home, I was crying hysterically and jumped a curb. My tire went flat. These were the days before cell phones. So, I'm walking down the street, sobbing, in my fabulous updo and my upper eyelid swelling to four times its normal size. Who should happen to drive by? My boyfriend of six months and my prom date. He pulls over, tries to calm me the hell down, and drives me home so I can finish getting ready.
I slap a ton of concealer on top of my burn (doesn't help the swelling, of course) and actually go on to have a lot of fun at the dance.
Then, the after-party is in full swing, and all of the girls there except for me and my BFF decide to pose for topless pictures. The whole party troops down to the basement and the girls proceed to slide down the tops of their dresses. A couple of guys are snapping pics, and the rest of the guys (including my boyfriend) are basically ogling and whooping it up. I ask my boyfriend to please come back upstairs. He refuses, and also calls me a 'prude' and a 'killjoy' for refusing to show my breasts.” - DeliriumRose
4 Unfortunate parking
“We went to prom in a really nice hummer limo. At the end of the night, my boyfriend and I, along with one other girl, were the first to enter the limo. We were at the top of a hill and the transmission went. The limo started rolling down the hill and knocked down street signs and parking lot lights before slamming into a tree. If we didn't hit the tree, we would've gone into a lake. The limo was totaled. Instead of having a romantic sleepover with my boyfriend, I cried myself to sleep. Prom sucked.” - Arca9ine
3 Why did the bunny cross the road?
“The girl I had asked to prom was kind and very pretty, but I didn't know her all that well. She was a friend of a friend. The party after prom was at some uncle's lake house way out in the country. My date and I were getting on well when a rabbit ran out in the road. I have a firm belief that you shouldn't risk your life for a small animal, so I always make a conscious effort not to swerve dangerously, hoping the animal will get itself to safety. This one did not.
As we drove towards it, it just sat there looking at us. I'm not a fast driver, so it seemed the little creature sat in the road for an eternity before we were finally on it and it disappeared with an anticlimactic thump. My date was dismayed, and more than a little angry. She thought I ran it down on purpose, and it really looked like I had. It took a while, but I managed to persuade her it was an accident and I was just trying to be a safe driver. All was forgotten and we were chatting again.
It was then the second rabbit jumped out in the road. It went down like the last bowling pin. I swear I couldn't have avoided that one, or I would have. Anyway. After that, it was quiet in the car for a long time. Things really never recovered.” - JetRink
2 Spinning out of control
“I had made my dress for my senior prom and I was super stoked to wear it that night. We had a ferris wheel at the prom, and my date and I rode it, but when it was time to get off, my dress was somehow mangled in between the seat and the actual wheel! It took the ride operator fifteen minutes to get me loose. By the end of the night, the rumors were swirling, everything from my leg getting stuck on the ride, to almost falling off at the top… oh, high school!” - Donesia
1 Wild horses dragged us away
“I went to high school outside of Philadelphia and it was decided that we would have our prom across state lines at the Camden (NJ) aquarium. The aquarium is not in a good part of town, but it was my date's dream to arrive at her prom in a horse-drawn carriage.
Unable to deter her from the idea, I resolved to make the best of it. Two white kids from the suburbs riding in a horse-drawn carriage through the streets of Camden must have made quite a sight. As we approached the aquarium, a gun shot went off, very close by, and spooked the horse who took off at a gallop.
After a block, the driver managed to stop the horse, but not before my date, terrified at the gun shot and the runaway carriage, pissed herself. She then demanded that the carriage driver go around the block (out of view from where people could see us) and wait with us until we hailed a cab (before cell phone saturation) which took about another 45 minutes. She cried the entire time.” - SFDevil
*Stories have been edited for length and clarity