Prom is canceled, so people are getting creative. This family made a festive prom for two.

And in Castle Rock, Colo., 30 miles from Denver, the parents of one crestfallen teen pulled off something none of them would have imagin...



And in Castle Rock, Colo., 30 miles from Denver, the parents of one crestfallen teen pulled off something none of them would have imagined a few months ago: an elegant prom for two in the dining room.

It was more than two months ago when Carlee Castillo and her mother picked out a cream-colored gown with gold and white sparkles in anticipation of Carlee’s attending her senior prom on April 17.

Like other high school seniors, Carlee, 17, was crushed when she learned last month that Douglas County High School’s spring prom was canceled. Even her graduation ceremony is on hold.

“I was so disappointed — I’d been planning my outfit and a fun night out with a group of my friends for a long time,” she said of her prom. “But now, we’d all be staying home alone.”

Then, last week, Carlee’s parents, Cris and Sheila Castillo, surprised her with something they’d quietly planned for weeks: Since Carlee couldn’t attend her senior prom, they decided to bring the dance to her.

“Your dad can be your prom date,” Sheila told her daughter the night before the big event. “And I’ll serve both of you dinner.”

Promptly at 7 last Friday night, Carlee descended the stairs in her prom dress and gold high-heeled sandals, and her father presented her with a daisy wrist corsage to match his boutonniere. He then accompanied her to their dining room, which had been decorated with balloons in purple and white (school colors), and Sheila served takeout from Carlee’s favorite Italian restaurant.

After enjoying Caprese salad, spaghetti and meatballs, bruschetta and chocolate cupcakes, Carlee and her dad then spent the night dancing to a playlist he’d put together, as Carlee’s 81-year-old grandmother, Ann Castillo, cheered them on.

Besides Carlee’s favorite Abba songs (“Gimme, Gimme, Gimme” and “Dancing Queen”), they danced to hits from Britney Spears, Lorde and Tame Impala, and a few hits from Cris Castillo’s high school days in the 1970s.

The night held a sweet sense of deja vu for Cris, 60, a corporate lawyer. In 1978, he wore a lime-green tuxedo to his own senior prom at Hillcrest High School in Midvale, Utah, and he later enjoyed daddy-daughter dances with Carlee when she was in the sixth grade.

“I had happy memories — even of the suit,” he said, “and I’d always wished that I’d had one more daddy-daughter dance with Carlee. Thanks to Sheila taking charge, we both were able to have that chance.”

Married for 20 years (it’s a second marriage for both), Sheila and Cris have three grown sons between them in addition to Carlee, who is their only daughter. Sheila has helped Carlee pick out most of her dresses for various occasions over the years.

Sheila said although there was no way she could replicate the school’s plan to have a Roaring 20s-themed dance at an antique car museum in nearby Denver, she decided to do what she could.

After consulting with Cris, she ordered cupcakes and balloons, scavenged for some fun props left over from her last family reunion and bought a fringed gold backdrop to serve as a prom-night photo booth.

“I thought, ‘We can make this special. Let’s do it right,’ ” said Sheila, 57, a stay-at-home mom who used to work as a teacher’s assistant for children with disabilities.

For Carlee, who enjoys ballet and playing the saxophone and piano, a night dancing with her dad turned out to be the best evening in quarantine yet.

When she goes away to college (she plans to major in journalism), she said, she’ll keep this memory close.

“It was a lot of fun, and they played all of my song requests,” she said.

Carlee said she’s grateful her parents went all-out for the evening, but admitted she’s also thankful for small mercies. Specifically, that her dad decided to go with classic black-and-white on home prom night and leave the lime-green tux behind.

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Newsrust: Prom is canceled, so people are getting creative. This family made a festive prom for two.
Prom is canceled, so people are getting creative. This family made a festive prom for two.
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