A+ Graduation Party Ideas

Looking for a top-notch shebang to send off your scholar to higher education? Say 'goodbye to grades' with these creative concepts!

After years of teachers and textbooks, it’s time for your child to reap the benefits from all that studying! Hosting a “goodbye to grades” celebration doesn’t require a lot of pomp and circumstance. Choose a theme for the party, such as “Forever Summer Vacation” with a luau theme, “Welcome to the Jungle” with a rainforest theme, “Smooth Sailing” with a nautical touch, or “Show Me the Money” with a financial angle.

Then follow these easy tips to make your child’s graduation celebration a “class” act – compliments of party planner Penny Warner.

Awesome invitations

  • Write the party details with a calligraphy pen on white parchment, then roll it up and tie with ribbons using school colors.
  • Make mortarboard (graduation cap) invitations from black cardstock tied with a tassel, and write details in silver ink.
  • Create a fake “Final Exam” for your invitation, and ask multiple choice questions, such as “At Rebecca’s Graduation Party, you want: (a) lots of food, (b) a DJ, (c) a toga party or (d) all of the above.”
  • Make personalized report cards with party details included – and give everyone straight A’s in “Partying 101.”
  • Include a kindergarten picture of the graduate, along with his or her senior picture, for a “Before and After” invitation.
  • Ask guests to come dressed as school stereotypes, such as a cheerleader, jock, nerd, skater, teacher or principal.
  • If it’s a surprise party, blow up pictures of the faculty, attach them to large craft sticks, then have the guests hold the masks over their faces when they yell “surprise” to the unsuspecting grad.

Intro to decorations

  • Tape up banners, garland and “Class of 2015” signs in school colors. Inflate balloons with helium; then tape a mortarboard to the top of bundles of helium balloons, and let them float from the ceiling as if they’re flying through the air.
  • Decorate the room with school mementoes, such as saved dance tickets, corsages, prom programs, textbooks, old reports, beat-up binders and pictures from the yearbook. Give the guests grad caps to wear and megaphones and clappers to use at the party.
  • Rent movies to play in the background, such as Napoleon Dynamite, National Lampoon’s Animal House or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
  • Cover the table with the newspaper want-ad section, and circle some of the “Help Wanted” ads. Collect job applications from fast food restaurants and gas stations and use them as placemats. Or blow up pictures of the faculty and use them as placemats. Have a replica of the school mascot serve as a centerpiece.

Grad games and activities

  • Write the names of teachers on sticky labels, place them on the back of guests as they arrive (be sure they can’t see what professor they’ve been given), and have players ask “yes/no” questions of the other guests, so they can find out which professor they are.
  • Write funny predictions about guests, such as “Matt Warner, captain of the football team, now has his own chain of drop-in brain surgery clinics.” Insert them in balloons and inflate the balloon. Write the names of the guests on the balloons; then have them pop the balloons to find out their funny futures.
  • Give the guests autograph bears, dogs, caps or books to sign and take home with them.
  • Set out scrapbooking materials and have the grads make their own memory books as a memento to last a lifetime.

This story was originally published in 2011 and has been updated.


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