Making a Lolita Prompt Challenge


Hands up if prompt challenges have been keeping you going this pandemic? They can be a great tool for getting out of a rut and stretching your creativity without meetups and events to do so. But some of them can end up a bit samey or just straight-up not working. As far as I know, there isn’t anything set up for November or December yet, so if you want to make one for you and your friends (and maybe others online too), here are some of my opinions on what makes a prompt challenge good.

Find a broad theme

Of course it is entirely possible to create a great prompt challenge that’s generic - but given that there are already several of those that keep circulating, you’d have to find a way to make yours stand out against them and offer something that they don’t. By which point you are already halfway to having a theme. Using one will make it easier for you to come up with some prompts, as well as encourage people into that particular theme to have a go. Whilst the generic ones are great all year round, capitalising on something unique to a given time (a holiday or a season) or a trend (resurgence of a style), or a specific pop-culture thing (fandom always sells) will entice people to join alongside you.

Whilst we shun JKR for being garbage, this challenge by @paigeloe and @bynnejean73 capitalised on a popular fandom to also raise awareness of and funds for trans rights organisations.

Seasonal or season-less?

Which leads to the second point: is your prompt challenge specific to a particular time or not? For example, a cottagecore-themed prompt challenge would be great regardless of the time of the year and might even be fun to repeat in every season to try something different each time. On the other hand, a Halloween or autumn-themed one would likely only last for the year that you’re doing it in. For those ones I recommend adapting your prompts to the calendar. This includes both things like having a prompt “On Wednesdays we wear pink” fall on an actual Wednesday, as well as accommodate for different lifestyles and seasons, e.g. by moving the more OTT prompts to weekends when more people will have the time to dress up. You can even use the calendar to find inspiration for your prompts by finding out about things like World’s X Day and including those (e.g. a rainbow prompt for a World’s Coming-Out Day).

@violetfaneshop and @pepfox started this as an art challenge back in March, but it could be done as lolita challenge if you're into thinking outside the box. And the prompts lend themselves well to any season.

Decide how many prompts

Very closely linked with the previous one. Whilst one month worth of prompts seems like the standard length, it doesn’t have to be that long. Shorter challenges can encourage more people to do them, as they will exert less energy and may be easier to adapt around one’s lifestyle. General rule of thumb is that as the creator of the challenge you should be able to keep up with it yourself, so do what you think is doable for you, whether that will be one prompt a day for a week or one every week for a month. People look to the originators of the challenges for inspiration, so it’s important that you commit to something reasonable for yourself. Though if you’re going by calendar or theming the challenge around a season or event, then that can help decide on the length (e.g. Twelve Days of Christmas).

One prompt per week in the lead up to an event is a great way to build anticipation, as done here by @bayareakei for their event, Gramarye.

Keep it generic

Everyone knows that prompt challenges aren’t mandatory and that prompts can be skipped if you really can’t do them. But you should still make these as accessible as possible. Holidays in particular can be tempting to include very specific things, which could limit the fun for certain people, the obvious example being exclusively sweet lolitas trying to do Halloween prompt challenges. But everything can be adapted to be more accessible, e.g. having a “Day at the funfair” prompt instead of “Carnival print” (unless your prompt challenge is specifically aimed at die hard Angelic Pretty fans, I guess). Moreover, having prompts that can be interpreted many different ways enables people to be as casual or as OTT as they see fit instead of feeling boxed in with elaborate and themed ideas only.

A big reason why people keep coming back to @thefabledfawn's #EGLWardrobeChallenge is because it's so easy for anyone to join in. No prompt is exclusive to anyone's style or wardrobe size, literally anyone can join thanks to the broad phrasing of these prompts.

Stretch and challenge

The whole point of a prompt challenge is to have fun by trying out new things and thinking outside the box. I cringe at myself at the number of times I’ve been saying “stretch and challenge” unironically recently, given that it’s a common phrase in education and education theories, but it is true that people grow and learn by trying out things that are achievable if they only stretch from where they’re at now. In other words, don’t make the prompts too difficult (which usually means making them too specific), but also don’t keep them too easy (else it’s not a challenge). By all means mix things up and vary them throughout, so that the more outside-the-box prompts are sandwiched by more straightforward ones, providing people with a breather. Ultimately what’s hard or easy depends on a person, but having some prompts that would require some lateral thinking amongst the more obvious ones will help in keeping the challenge more interesting.

Big part of what drew me to @likeateacup's #coordtober2020 is that on top of being made by a friend, some of these prompts are so creative and not straightforward that I did feel instantly challenged to try to match them.

After writing all this and looking back at the Twelve Days of Frillmas one that I did way back in 2018, I am now inspired to create something for December. Or November, since that’s usually such a dead time, but I’m not sure whether I’d be able to keep up with my own prompt challenge in November. Halloween is not really my thing, so whilst I’ve been doing the odd #Coordtober2020 prompt here or there, I’m much more excited for Christmas and would happily start planning something now. And what better time than now?


  1. These are all very good points! And now I'm inspired to partake in a Christmas challenge this year, if one pops up that is do-able for me ^__^

    1. I guess then that it's good that I have a draft of one... :P


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