Typically, the eighth grade dance occurs at the end of the school year to commemorate graduation from middle school. Theses dances tend to be semi-formal so choose themes, decorations and refreshments accordingly, but remember that these are eighth graders. Keep the atmosphere fun and the music geared to their tastes within reason, as this is not a high school prom.
Decide if the school's final dance is going to be semi-formal and if it needs an additional theme. Some fun ideas include a Hollywood theme, which involves decorating the gym with red bulletin board paper as the red carpet and painting cardboard to replicate famous Hollywood buildings. Encourage teens to get their photos taken on the red carpet. Another option, a Hawaiian theme, allows the dance committee to decorate with leis, sand buckets, hula hoops, and even host some hula contests. Serve some fruit punch in a volcano-shaped punch bowl.
In order to get the young teens on the dance floor, hire a DJ to play the current music and keep the flow of activities moving. Play interactive songs, such as the Cupid Shuffle, the Hustle or the Cha Cha Slide, which will fill the dance floor. For those unsure of the moves, ask the DJ to demonstrate the steps and the students will copy them. Rent a video game booth or a photo booth, where those students not interested in dancing can challenge their friends to a game or take silly poses with their buddies to print out and remember the night.
Ask the DJ to create a playlist that includes some of the current hits and also features some songs about remembering the good times, hopes for the future and friendship. Some popular choices include Rascal Flatts' My Wish, Vitamin C's Graduation (Friends Forever) and Green Day's Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).
Determine a time to hold the dance, often on Saturday night before the year ends, in the early evening. Sell tickets for the event, stating the dress code for the event, if you want the students to wear formal dresses and suits. Depending on the formality of the dance, order the food for the dance, geared to a teenager's taste. If it's a dinner and dance, consider serving pasta, salad and garlic bread, as it's usually a favorite with most teenagers. Otherwise, provide punch in crystal punch bowls with a variety of desserts and appetizers.
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Laura Nowak is a freelance writer who combines her love of travel and research to write travel articles. She has been published in various print and online publications, including the "Western Herald," where she wrote arts and entertainment articles. Nowak earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in practical writing from Western Michigan University.