Prom-goers stuck on duct tape

By Aleta Capelle

Twenty-five rolls of duct tape … $90

Two old suits … Free

Duct tape tuxedo and gown … Priceless


Kristen Pickett didn’t have to worry about some other girl showing up at the John Marshall High School prom last weekend wearing the same dress she was wearing. The dress Kristen wore, like the tuxedo worn by her date, Dean Frank, were true originals, made by the pair entirely out of duct tape.

"I started about a month ago," Kristen said. During the two weeks before prom, however, the work took on an intensity, with the pair working from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day. She said they might each have more than 100 hours into the project, not to mention numerous trips for more duct tape.

Kristen got the idea for the project when she was a sophomore and heard about a contest sponsored by Duck brand duct tape. Kristen and Dean decided this year — their senior year — that they should enter.

Two old suits were sacrificed to serve as

patterns for the tux jacket, vest and pants. The pair purchased rolls of gray duct tape to form one side of the "duct tape fabric" they created, using the more expensive, colored tape only on the parts that showed. In addition to the gown and tux, the pair also crafted Kristen’s handbag from the tape. Topping off the outfits were a bow tie for Dean and one for Kristen’s hair. Kristen’s brother came up with the idea of making Dean’s suit pinstripe.

"It was frustrating," Kristen said. "It would stick together, and then you’d have to ball it all up and start over. We said that if we’d started any sooner, we probably wouldn’t be dating anymore."

The dress and tux were somewhat sticky and uncomfortable, she said, but strapless prom gowns aren’t typically known for their comfort. Kristen came up with the design for her gown from ideas she saw in past contests.

"The gloves were hot, but they made the outfit," Kristen said, so she gave up comfort for style.


When the school administration first heard about their unusual clothes, they weren’t so sure they would be formal enough for the event, Kristen said. But when the couple showed them pictures, administrators were won over. In fact, one talked to the DJ during prom and arranged to have the couple brought up to the stage under the spotlights for all to see.

Kristen, the daughter of Kim and Al Pickett, and Dean, the son of Martha and Bob Frank, plan to attend the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire next year, majoring in education.

With any luck, the pictures of their prom attire will win them notice in the Duck Brand Duct Tape Scholarship Contest. Winning

couples can earn as much as $6,000 for having the best duct tape prom clothes.

Aleta Capelle of Spring Valley is a former Post-

Bulletin reporter and copy editor.

For more about Stuck at Prom, see

Stuck at Prom


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