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November 21, 2014

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High-schoolers up ante to score prom date with elaborate proposals

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Courtesy of Dylan Weasa

Foothill High School seniors Dylan Weasa and Heidi Koehler pose with his “promposal” and her response messages in this photo illustration.

Heidi Koehler was sitting in her English class last week when she heard her classmates start to giggle.

She looked up and saw her friend Dylan Weasa in front of the classroom. He was holding three large posters with a message written in part with candy bars.

“Heidi, I would be over ‘Mars’ and the ‘Milky Way’ if you would ‘Take 5’ to consider what a ‘Mr. Goodbar’ I am. We can dress like ‘100 Grand’ and have ‘Mounds’ of fun with our ‘Nerds’ and ‘Peeps.’ Will you have a night of ‘Starbursts’ and ‘(Hershey) Kisses’ with your ‘Big Hunk’?”

Forget the days of awkward phone, text and hallway conversations that begin with a “Hey, so I was thinking, do you wanna go to prom with me?”

These days, asking a date to prom has become an elaborate and splashy affair. Students — both male and female — are inviting each other to prom in increasingly creative ways.

These so-called “promposals” are happening in hallways, cafeterias and classrooms across the country. Invitations are written on posters and balloons plastered on cars and lockers. They’re being broadcast over school loudspeakers and posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

With teenagers spending an average of $978 on prom this year, some teens go to extraordinary measures to score a date to prom.

Students have enlisted the help of flash mobs, school choirs and professional mariachi bands to serenade their prospective prom date. Some have splurged on surprise beach trips, skywriting planes and billboard announcements. One California teenager even got “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston to help him pop the question.

For Weasa, the allure of the “promposal” was in being unique. The 18-year-old Foothill senior spent several hours driving around town with his mother to find all the candy bars for his prom proposal.

“Personally, I just like to be different,” Weasa said. “Break the mold. Do something that no one’s seen before.”

Weasa has a history of asking girls to school dances in creative ways.

During his sophomore year, Weasa asked a girl to homecoming by chalking his outline in front of her house and writing, “I’m dying to go to homecoming with you.” Last year, he asked Koehler to prom with a surprise scavenger hunt. It started at her home, meandered through a park and movie theater and ended at their high school football field where he stood with a sign: “Prom?”

“I really like (promposals) because everyone has different ideas,” Koehler, also a Foothill senior, said. “I think it’s cute and creative.”

Responses to “promposals” are becoming elaborate, too. Instead of replying immediately, Koehler took the weekend to craft her answer to Weasa’s “promposal.”

On Monday, Koehler, 18, popped into Weasa’s English class with her own sweet-covered message:

“To my ‘Big Hunk.’ Try not to ‘Snickers’ as you read this. My love for you is greater than the ‘Milky Way.’ ‘Look!’ Your ‘Sweet Tarts’ says Yes. You and I will be the ‘Hot Tamales’ everyone ‘Take 5’ to check us out. How about we seal the deal with a ‘(Hershey’s) Kiss’?”

For Koehler and Weasa, the “promposal” trend underscores the importance of prom to high school seniors. Foothill's prom is on Saturday.

“It’s my last high school dance, so it’s a little bittersweet,” Weasa said. “Like everything, you want to go out with a bang.”

“It’s a big deal,” Koehler said. “It’s your last year, so you want it to be special. After graduation, we’re not going to see everyone, but we’re going to remember prom.”

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