Stuck at prom

Girl's search for scholarship money leads to duct tape attire

Girl's search for scholarship money leads to duct tape attire

June 23, 2005|by JANET HEIM


Duct tape has a multitude of uses. While it's generally reserved for home improvements, two local teenagers used it in April to make a fashion statement.

Kristina Powell, a 2005 graduate of Boonsboro High School, has never been one to shy away from the unconventional. She used duct tape as the fabric for her prom dress in her quest for scholarship money.

Tired of writing the essays that most scholarship applications required, Powell, who lives in Roxbury Hills north of Boonsboro, searched the Internet for scholarships that didn't require words.


When she stumbled upon the 5th Annual Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest, the inspiration for making duct tape promwear began.

The contest, sponsored by Duck brand duct tape, required that entrants must be couples, at least 14 years of age, and that their duct tape prom attire must be worn to a high school prom. Powell, 17, found a willing partner in Mason Kough, a junior at Boonsboro High who lives in Rohrersville, whom she describes as a "good friend."

An added bonus was that Mason's aunt, Martha Chapman of White Hall, Md., is an expert seamstress. She helped create the cotton bedsheet forms to which the duct tape was attached.

The couple fashioned their outfits - Kristina's long color-blocked dress with V-neck in both front and back and Mason's suit with topcoat with wired tails, 100 percent duct tape vest and matching pants - out of silver, black and specially ordered hot pink duct tape.

Accessories included duct tape necklace, earrings and purse for Kristina and top hat and cane for Mason. Mason's mother created a wrist corsage for Kristina out of duct tape as well.

One of the tips suggested on the Duck tape Web site for Stuck at Prom participants was to wear sensible shoes, because many duct tape wearers are afraid to sit down in their homemade attire. Footwear consisted of flip-flops for Kristina and sneakers for Mason, both enhanced with duct tape.

Kristina said her favorite memory of the duct tape promwear experience was when, while dining with Mason at the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, W.Va., the crotch of Mason's pants ripped. An emergency repair using the repair kit Kristina had in the car cost the couple valuable time and meant they missed the procession line at the beginning of the prom at the Elks Club in Hagerstown.

When the couple arrived at the dance, though, Kristina said everyone paused - even the band stopped playing - to watch their entrance.

"We were like showstoppers," she said.

"Everybody was expecting it, but nobody knew what to expect," said Mason, 17.

Kristina, who plans to attend Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, used a roll of each color of duct tape to make her dress, while Mason's suit took two rolls of silver and one roll of black and pink. The two outfits cost a total of about $75.

"I had no social life before prom. I was busy taping," Kristina said.

She said she spent a whole day on the fitting, then eight hours taping the dress.

"It was awesome and fun, but I'd never do it again," Mason said.

There are more than 250 couples entered in the contest, including five from Maryland. First-, second- and third-place winners will be chosen by a panel of judges.

Top prize will be a $5,000 scholarship for the couple. The second-place couple will receive a $1,000 scholarship; the third-place couple receives a $500 scholarship. The high schools hosting the winning promgoers also receives a monetary award.

Three winners also will be awarded in online voting, called Top of the Tape Award, which runs through June 26 at

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