Young men in shades and tuxedos step out of stretch limousines. Groups of expensively clad girls with tans as fake as their false nails exchange greetings in the glare of flash bulbs. It could be Oscars night.
But this is suburban Middlesex, not Beverly Hills, and the party- goers are 16-year-old school-leavers eager to celebrate the end of their exams. The American-style prom has arrived, pushing aside the old-fashioned disco at schools all over the country.
Where once they invested in new jeans and hair-gel, students and their families will fork out hundreds of pounds on evening wear, make- up and matching accessories in the coming weeks.
The Government has encouraged the US approach to end-of-school parties, believing that formal ceremonies will help to motivate students across the ability range. Many schools now copy their American counterparts with year books and "graduation" photographs. But the cost of taking part is now so steep that some parents are calling for a halt to the expense. Margaret Morrissey, from the National Confederation of Parent-Teacher Associations said: "It's something that's coming as a shock to parents.
"It's becoming a bigger and bigger issue. Almost overnight the scale and the expense have shot up. There needs to be a cap on it. We don't want to see the time come when there's a big divide between the `haves' and the `have-nots'."
The glitzy approach is good business for hairdressers, florists, suit- hire shops and, in particular, for the owners of limousines who say they are unable to cope with the level of demand from teenagers.