Prom season is lurching to an end, but the awkward stories are still pouring in. From celebrity dates to cardboard companions, from ill-fated prom-queen campaigns to inappropriate parents, here's a rundown of eight strange prom tales you might have missed:
1. The girl who took an NFL player
Eighteen-year-old Joyce Grendel's date backed out at the last-minute... and getting jilted turned out to be the Ohio high-schooler's lucky break. She didn't want to go stag, so, on a whim, she invited her favorite professional football player — Joe Haden of the Cleveland Browns — via Twitter. He said yes. Haden, whom Grendel had met through his fan club, picked her up, on time, in his white Lamborghini. "See?" says Jill Baughman at The Stir. "Sometimes being a devoted fan really can pay off!"
2. The girl who took a cardboard cutout of an NFL player
Rachel Bird didn't have a date to prom, and also fired off a tweet to her favorite NFL heartthrob — Tim Tebow — but things didn't turn out exactly as she had hoped. "Shockingly, she didn't hear back from Tebow or his people," says Rick Chandler at NBC Sports, "so she took matters into her own hands." Bird made a life-sized, cardboard cutout of the New York Jets quarterback, and took that to the prom. The stunt got her mocked on Saturday Night Live ... but a Tebow-endorsed energy drink company did send her an autographed jersey.
3. Jon Gosselin's second act as a prom DJ
"We don't want to say his career has gone to Pottsville," says Radar Online, but it seems apt: "Jon Gosselin was the DJ for a middle school prom in Pottsville, Pa." The former Jon & Kate Plus 8 star has a day job working construction, and, apparently, he spins records for teenagers by night. It was actually his new girlfriend, Liz Jannetta, who got the gig — she's a part-time DJ. But Jon helped out. "He played Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, and Rihanna and he took requests," one of the 100 partygoers told Radar. "He was nice and I had a good time."
4. A Texas mom's failed prom-queen PR campaign
Tammy Day of Killeen, Texas, treated her daughter Brandy's bid for prom queen as if it were a political campaign. She raised money from friends, family, and local businesses, and spent $1,000 on newspaper ads, flyers, and even a bright pink billboard, urging students to "vote Brandy Day" for prom queen. It didn't work. When the finalists were announced, her daughter wasn't among them. "They may consider it overboard, but I don't look at it like that," Day told ABC. "I look at it like it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make memories."
5. The pre-prom photo that went terribly wrong
A group of 18 Wisconsin high school students gathered for a group photo before their May 5 prom, but they picked the wrong spot. The teens posed on a dock on a lake in Oconomowoc, about 30 miles west of Milwaukee. After the pic was snapped, a section of the pier collapsed, dumping half the kids into waist-deep water. (See the photos above.) They rushed to one teen's nearby home, dried off with towels and hair dryers, and made it to the dance. "You know, we all realized right away," Josh Orne, 17, told The Associated Press, "this is going to be an unbelievable story to tell."
6. The soda-pop-tab prom dress
Colorado high school student Regan Kerr started collecting tabs from soda cans two years ago. As a joke (at first), she proposed turning the odd collection into something useful: A prom dress. So she started sewing together the tiny pieces of metal, one by one. Five months and 5,114 pop tabs later, she had her shiny but heavy gown. She assured admirers she wasn't a soda addict — she had help collecting the material. "I didn't drink 5,000 sodas," she tells WFMY News. And Kerr wasn't the only recycling enthusiast — Diane McNease of Michigan made her prom dress out of 18,000 Starburst candy wrappers.
7. The Confederate-like dress that didn't make it to prom
Texanna Edwards, a senior at Gibson County High School in Tennessee, showed up for the big dance wearing a red gown with two diagonal blue stripes filled with white stars, according to The Tennessean. The school colors are red, white, and blue, but school administrators told her she would have to go home and change if she wanted to attend the prom, because her gown looked too much like a Confederate battle flag. A teacher had warned Edwards that the dress she planned to wear was inappropriate, and the principal said that, due to past racial tensions at the school, he couldn't allow it.
8. The mom who tried to find her daughter a date on Craigslist
One Seattle mom decided to help her daughter and some friends find "hot" dates by doing a little cruising on Craigslist, Seattle TV station KCPZ reported. The woman, who posted under the name "Kathy," offered $350 for four "hot male teens" to spend seven hours with the girls for their prom. The job description also included getting fitted for a tux, riding to the event in a limo, dinner, parties, and the prom itself. "All the gals are very good looking, trim, friendly, and fun," the mom promised. "You will be required to interview." The ad was later removed.